It’s Go Time, Momma! Your baby’s arrival is imminent!
If you haven’t yet already, it’s time to pack that infamous Hospital Bag.
Ready, Set….wait a minute, what exactly are you supposed to pack?
Do you really need all of those items listed on that form from your doctor? Come to think of it, where is that form from your doctor? There’s been so much information and paperwork thrown at you over the past nine months, it’s hard to recall exactly where you placed it. Maybe it’s sandwiched between that breastfeeding pamphlet and your hospital registration forms?
Speaking of a sandwich, you’re hungry again aren’t you?
Grab a snack, fill up your water bottle, take a potty break (again!) and come back to join me in reading my Ultimate Hospital-Bag Packing Guide! After having three babies in five years, here are the top ten essentials I’ve learned to put into my Bag:
- Drivers License and Insurance Card
If you’ve preregistered at the hospital – a definite must so you can just do a quick check-in while in labor – this info should already be on file. Nonetheless, bring it with you. With all of the changes going on with insurance these days, personal identification and insurance cards seem to be requested at each and every doctor or medical facility visit. It’s best to be prepared!
2. Cell Phone Charger
It’s likely that you’ll have your phone on hand, but don’t forget your charger. Between texting and calling family and friends, potentially using an app to time your contractions, and ultimately taking a bazillion pictures of your precious, new arrival, your phone is going to get tired! Packing your charger is a must.
3. Comfy Pajamas and Soft, Warm Socks/Slippers
Treat yourself to a new pair of soft pajamas or comfy lounging clothes a few weeks before your baby is due, specifically for wear during your hospital stay. This is just a little something for you! You’ll be a whole new level of tired after giving birth. Putting on a new, cozy outfit will simply make you feel good, aiding in your overall well-being and recovery. As a bonus, you’ll look somewhat stylish and put-together for any visitors. Throw in a pair of slippers or slipper socks too, preferably something with traction on the bottom. Your tired and likely swollen feet will need some love; the traction element is to protect you and baby – you’ll be a little unsteady on your feet, plus you’ll be holding your new, little bundle of joy.
4. Nursing Bra and Nursing Pillow
If you’re planning on nursing that sweet baby, these items are key! The bra should be uber comfortable, definitely nothing with an under-wire (if needed, save the under-wire bras for after your milk supply has been established). The nursing pillow will make it so much easier for you to position baby for feedings, particularly if you’re a first time momma learning the ropes of breastfeeding; it definitely takes some practice!
Snacks! Oh my goodness, pack them. Labor can be long. There might be a lot of sitting around and waiting. With everything going on, your hubby or partner is going to get hungry, which will surely lead to tiredness and crankiness: not good. You want an energized and cheery partner to help support you through your labor. Hospital food is likely available, but vending machines might be the only option if baby’s arrival is in the middle of the night. Either choice will take your hubby or partner away from the delivery room. So throw some munchies into your bag: apples, trail mix, granola bars, anything non-perishable (and non-offensive to your super sense of smell!) that will sustain your partner’s energy. Don’t forget a couple bottles of water, too. After giving birth, you’ll be happy to have these snacks on hand as well!
6. Maternity Underwear & Maternity Clothes….Sorry!
I’m sure you’d like nothing more than to ditch that maternity wear. Unfortunately, it’s probably sticking around for just a little while longer. Unless you want to wear the hospital grade mesh undies – in my book a definite don’t! – pack your own for post-delivery wear. You’ll need an outfit to wear home as well. Yoga pants are always a stellar option: comfort is key! A shirt that fit around the 6-8 month mark of your pregnancy is a good bet, too. Your amazing body has accomplished so much during labor and delivery. As a result, it will be tired, swollen and retaining water. The puffiness and swelling will subside, I promise! However, until your normal shape reappears, you’ll likely need a little more extra room than your pre-pregnancy wardrobe will comfortably allow.
7. Your Own Pillow
The comfort of a hospital bed leaves a little bit to be desired. The standard issue pillows are usually flat and rubbery. Do yourself a favor and bring your own, well-loved pillow with you from home. It can serve as back support during labor, and as a nice, soft place to rest your head during recovery.
8. Clothes for Baby
The hospital will provide a hat, shirt and swaddling blankets, but it’s nice to bring baby his or her own clothes: think soft, footed pajamas. Most hospitals offer professional pictures to document the occasion of your baby’s birth. If you’re feeling ambitious and think that you might purchase a portrait package, pack an outfit for baby to wear for his or her first photo shoot.
Skip the make-up and hairdryer, but make sure to include your other, everyday essentials. A hair tie and lip balm are good additions if not already in your beauty repertoire. Packing a soft washcloth and towel from home aren’t a bad idea either, especially if your skin is sensitive, although hospital linens will be provided. Ensure that your hubby or partner has these items, too!
If music will help relax you during labor, bring your iPod or music playlist on your phone. Magazines were suggested to me as an essential item to pack, but I never once spared them a glance with the birth of my first two children. I was induced with my third child, and it took the bulk of the day. I remember thinking that I should have packed a magazine or some other form of light reading material to pass the time, and to distract me from obsessively staring at the contraction monitor!
I loved my stay in the hospital after having my children. It was such a magical time spent bonding with my new, little ones and welcoming them into the world. Packing the right combination of essentials into my Hospital Bag made the time spent away from home much more comfortable and enjoyable. I wish the same special experience for you – whether you’ve already been through a hospital birth, or are planning to give birth to your first child – and sincerely hope that the above list will aid in your overall comfort and well-being during your hospital stay!
Are you packing your Hospital Bag for the first time, or are you a seasoned, Hospital-Bag packer?
What essential items would you add?