When I was pregnant, I was getting ready to pack my hospital bag and looking at all the crazy lists they had online, listening to all the advice from people (who didn’t have kids), and watching all the looks my husband was giving me (are you bringing that???). I’ve now compiled a REAL list of things you will ACTUALLY use. Let us all know what you packed that you loved or hated for your labour experience.
For the baby
- 2 outfits. (one for a girl and one for a boy, or if you know, 2 so that you can pick) I recommend a sleeper. If you are having a c-section, you may want to pack 3 or 4 sleepers depending on how many days you will be in the hospital with the baby.
- Car seat (base already installed into the car and checked by a certified car seat installation specialist. You can have this done weeks before at a fire station or a hospital. Ask your hospital where you can have this checked. This is very important to do to keep your child safe)
- A stuffed animal or blanket you got especially for this moment. You want to be the first one to give your child a present? Bring it with you!
Wow, what a short list for a baby. really? that’s it? Yes. That is it. The hospital will have everything else you need. Diapers, wash cloths, even a little hat for them to wear outside. They have babies everyday in the hospital, they are prepared. I took a few diapers into my take home bag to make sure, and I even took the pads for the heavy bleeding. (I do recommend an extra blanket if you are having a winter baby)
Make sure you bring your birth plan if you have one or make decisions about what you want during the birth of your child. It won’t happen as you imagined it, but if you set out some guidelines they will help you balance the labour process and avoid any confrontation with doctors. Try to talk to your birthing coach, doula, or prenatal instructor, about this.
- If you are being induced or having a c-section and will have to wait around:
- cards, or something else to pass the time. this sounds dumb, but we actually used ours for 5 hours while the Oxytocin was working through my veins
- Snacks for hubby or birthing partner – they get hungry, you are not allowed to eat
- Comfortable PJ’s for after the baby is born. Many many lists say a night gown with buttons, but I found those super ugly and expensive, seriously I’m not going to wear it again! I opted for comfy pants and I wore the hospital gown backwards (opening side to the front instead of to the back) so that I could breast feed.
- Something to drink. You can’t eat, but they let me drink. I had Emergen-C with me in the hospital which we just mixed with water. It has tons of vitamins and is super good for you, so if you’ve been in labour for a while this is a great pick me up. As long as the hospital lets you drink, this is your friend. Much less sugar than Gatorade and they are like $0.99 per package. However, I can never drink them again because they remind me of labour, but it worked at the time.
- Note book/Notepad and Pen to record baby’s time, weight, height, etc. I recommend this. You will remember it forever, but if you are hopped up on Fentanol or an Epidural, you may not remember in the moment. This is also a good place to put a list of people to call with phone numbers.
- Camera with fresh battery and an empty memory card. Nuff said.
- Music. Find out if your hospital will have a CD player or Ipod player for you to use. We played classical music during the labour (you couldn’t hear it through my screaming), and at 6 months, it was the only music our baby would fall asleep to. Amazing, strange, and awesome all at the same time! Pick something you like, you may have to listen to it a lot.
- Your own Pillows in your own pillow cases. The hospital will have some sort of shortage on pillows. I guarantee it.
- Lip Balm, a hair tie, toothbrush, brush, any other toiletry you think you’ll need. It can make you feel like a real person again after going through labour.
- An extra pair of socks or two. This is my NUMBER ONE tip for mothers to be. Many say that they didn’t think of socks. I birthed in socks, they got dirty, I wanted more socks. Your feet will probably get cold, and the blankets they give you at the hospital leave much to be desired. You cannot wear slippers to bed, so bring socks. 2-4 pairs of socks. they don’t take up much room.
- Full-Butt underwear. No tampons after labour! Big, Giant, Monster sized pads is what you get to look forward to for 5-14 days after. Fun! They will give you some pretty sexy
meshunderwear to wear after labour. That’s right ladies, I said MESH. They recently changed the post birth underwear to thin cotton. If your nurse will give you an extra pair or two to take home, do!
- Clothes to go home in. Think Yoga/sweat pants and a loose fitting top. Of course if you are one of those women who lose all of your baby weight as soon as the baby comes out, you may want to bring your old Jeans, they might fit.
Things you DO NOT need to bring with you
- 5 different nursing bras. Bring ONE. Do not buy many nursing bras. Day 3 after labour, your boobs will magically grow another 2 sizes or so. You will not know what size you need. WAIT until you need them!
- 3 suitcases full of stuff. You will most likely be fine with one small suitcase or duffel bag.
- A million snacks. YOU cannot eat anyways once labour starts. You can eat afterwards, but then you can get the good stuff from anywhere!
Dads should pack a change of clothes and swim shorts if they want to get into the tub or shower with mom. They should also have some cash for anything they want to buy at the hospital (Starbucks, Tim Hortons, etc).
If you do not have a doula, things like a tennis ball for massage or massage oils might be handy as well. If you do have a doula, ask if they will be bringing these things with them.
Good luck out there all you moms and moms to be! I wish you a relatively pain free labour!!