If you are nearing the end of your pregnancy and are planning a hospital birth, it is time to begin packing your birth bag. After all, you never know when labor may ensue, and it is always comforting to know you’re prepared.
That said, many new mamas are at a loss when it comes to putting together a hospital bag. Deciding what to pack and what to leave home can be a stressful task that many women prefer to avoid entirely.
If you are currently going through the process of deciding what to put in your bag, you may find the list below helpful. It includes the most commonly used items in hospital delivery rooms across the country.
Photo ID, Insurance Information and Hospital Forms — These items are all highly important, but also pretty obvious things to bring along. Still, in the stress of the moment you could easily forget to grab them, so putting them in or near your bag is probably a good idea.
Birth Plan — Building a customized birth plan takes a lot of effort. Therefore, it would be a shame to show up to your birth without it. Make multiple copies of your plan and keep them in your hospital bag to share with everyone.
Camera — While you may not feel very photogenic during labor, you will want some pictures to look back on. Be sure to pack a camera to capture those precious moments.
Comfortable Clothes — Both you and your partner will want to be comfortable while spending such a long time in the hospital. Be sure to pack plenty of comfortable clothes for the two of you to wear during labor and after baby is born. A loose gown is best for labor, and shorts or sweats with a comfy shirt work well for after the delivery.
Slippers or Flip-Flops — Nobody wants to walk around barefoot in a hospital. Still, putting on sneakers or boots every time you get up is a pain and not exactly comfortable. Flip-flops or slippers can help solve this problem.
Socks — Some people prefer to skip the shoes altogether and wear comfortable socks instead. Pack a few pairs in case you discover this is your preference.
Hair Tie or Clip — There is nothing more distracting or annoying than hair in your face. A hair tie or hair clip can help tame unruly hair and keep it out of your eyes while you focus on bringing baby into the world.
Glasses and Contacts — Whether you typically wear glasses or contacts, you will want to pack both options if they are available to you. Many women find that glasses are more comfortable to wear during labor. Still, others report that glasses tend to fog up and choose to wear contacts instead.
Snacks — Snacks are not always readily available in a hospital environment. Therefore, it is good to have some healthy options on hand. These are good for your partner to munch on during your labor, and for those delivering in hospitals that allow it, they can also be good for you to keep your blood sugar well-balanced. Snacks are also helpful after delivery, especially if you deliver in the middle of the night when the hospital kitchen is closed.
Lip Balm — Dry lips are very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, they are a common occurrence during labor. Some quality lip balm can help fix this problem.
Music — Many women find a “labor playlist” is the perfect way to help themselves relax. Put together a list on your phone and bring a speaker to play your tunes while you labor.
Essential Oils — Good smells are also a great way to find a happy place and relax. Essential oils can provide those smells, and some even have naturally relaxing effects. Just be sure the oils you choose are safe to use around baby.
Massage Oil or Lotion — Another great way to get those relaxing smells into the air is to use a scented massage oil or lotion. Use these to rub down sore spots for an extra nice effect.
Heating Pad or Rice Sock — Heat can help relax tense muscles and relieve sore spots. A heating pad or rice sock can provide just the right amount of heat to help you find relief.
After the Birth
Baby Book — Writing down stories of those first few days of baby's life in the moment is a wonderful way to ensure they are recorded accurately. Additionally, having the baby book nearby to get handprints and footprints to keep when the hospital staff is getting a footprint of their own is very helpful.
Supportive Nursing Bra or Cami — Depending on how long you are in the hospital, there is a chance your milk could come in while there. Having some support can help make you more comfortable during this process. Additionally, a nursing bra will make feeding your little one much easier in those first few days.
Nipple Cream — While you and your little one are still getting the hang of nursing, you might find that your nipples become very sore and cracked. Nipple cream can work wonders for new mamas during this time.
Breast Pads — If your milk does come in during your hospital stay, you are definitely going to want to have some breast pads on hand to catch any leaks.
Pads — While all hospitals provide sanitary pads, there is a chance you will find them uncomfortable. Therefore, if you are picky about your sanitary products or if you prefer cloth pads, be sure to pack some of your own.
Extra Underwear — After hospital births, disposable mesh underwear are usually given to new mothers. Many women love these; however, not everyone does. Pack some extra underwear just in case you don’t care for them.
Toiletries — The first shower after delivery is heavenly. Make it amazing by bringing your own toiletries.
Phone and Charger — After your baby arrives, you are going to want to spread the news. Be sure to bring your cellphone and a charger so you can do this as soon as possible.
“Coming Home” Outfit — The day baby comes home is a special one. Be sure to bring a special outfit for the occasion. Make sure to bring a couple of sizes in case baby is bigger or smaller than anticipated!
Car Seat — Without a properly fitting and properly installed car seat, you will not be allowed to take your little one home. Therefore, you will want to check “purchasing a seat” off your to-do list before labor begins.
Take this list and add or remove items to make it your own. I hope it helps you prepare for the arrival of your little guy or girl!