It’s a question that will continue to be asked as long as women are giving birth outside of their homes. “What should I pack in my hospital bag?”
So we decided to put together a list of things and why you might want to bring them. The hospitals usually provide a lot of things, like pads/mesh panties, diapers, wipes and more. So will focus on things that are beneficial and maybe something you haven’t thought about packing in your bag.
- An extra pillow (or two!) – There’s nothing wrong with the pillows provided at the hospitals or birth centers, except that they are limited. So you may not be able to get an extra one if you need it. Best to bring one or two from home. These are also a good idea if you have a cesarean, something to hold against you as you get up and down after surgery.
- Your favorite blanket/robe – Having something familiar and comfortable to make your room feel more homey. Anything that helps you relax and feel more comfortable in the hospital environment is helpful for not only labor, but for your morale.
- Copies of your birth plan – 2-3 copies is ideal. Your nurse will need one, the baby nurse will need one, and an extra for whoever may need it.
- Extra towel or two. – The hospitals usually have plenty of towels, but they aren’t very big, kind of like a glorified hand towel and if you plan to use the tub/shower during (and after) labor then you can expect to need about 3 or 4 of those just to dry off. Bringing one or two large towels from home will save you some time & energy.
- Snacks – often you are told that you cannot eat during labor, but new recommendations from anesthesiologists say that a light meal or snacking during labor is beneficial. Keeps your energy up so you can stay strong while you labor.
- Electronics & chargers – this one is a no brainer, but if you bring a phone/tablet/laptop always make sure to grab that charger! Make sure to have some of your favorite calming music saved on there somewhere too!
- Toiletries – obviously they have some of this at the hospital, but most women prefer to use their own shampoo/conditions and body wash. Travel size bottles of your favorites are perfect for the hospital bag. Don’t forget the lip balm, hair ties and toothpaste.
- Depends – you may thing why depends!? They are PERFECT for postpartum bleeding. If you had a catheter placed, you could have trouble urinating after it’s removal too. These are a bit easier than the mesh panties and pads, provide more coverage and great at not leaking.
- Anything that gives you comfort – this could be a picture, a special scarf, lotion or essential oils, slippers to walk around in. If you think it might help keep you relaxed and comfortable during labor, bring it!
- Nursing pads – you may or may not start leaking right away while at the hospital, but it’s best to bring a few pairs of disposable or washable pads if you plan to wear a bra or shirt while at the hospital. (Personally, so much skin to skin time and nursing happens that you may not wear a bra while there)
- Nipple butter – most hospitals have samples of lanolin for moms, but you need to make sure to wipe it off before each feeding; which can get tiresome. A good all-natural nipple butter can make life a little easier since it doesn’t need to be washed off before nursing baby.
- One dollar bills and change – you might find yourself needing cheetos from the vending machine at 2 a.m.
- Birth Props – if you have a specific tool you plan to use during labor, don’t just assume the hospital will have it available (or they have it but it’s in use by another mom), so bring your own birth ball/peanut ball/birth pool. If you think your birth place has these available just leave it in the car and if you need it, send someone out for it.
- Cloth diapers – if you don’t plan to use disposables then make sure to bring about 4-5 cloth diapers in baby’s bag. Hospitals provide wipes as well, unless you have a preferred brand you want to use.
- 3 sizes of clothes – Preferably just one going home outfit in each size : Preemie, newborn and 0-3 months. While you’re in the hospital baby will likely be wrapped up or skin to skin with mom, so a going home outfit is sufficient. Because ultrasounds can be way off on the guess weight of babies, we suggest bringing the multiple sizes so no one has to run out from the hospital for something to put on baby.
- Pacifier – if you plan to use one, you might consider bringing your own paci (or two). Babies often need to try a few different pacifiers to find the one they prefer. (Ask us about getting a free Dr. Brown’s pacifier)
- Favorite swaddling blanket – pretty self explanatory, but we suggest bringing a back up as well in case of a poo-splosion.
And of course don’t forget your doula! We not only do birth support but over night postpartum support in the hospital is available as well. Check out our service list for details.