The most important trip you are going to take your whole pregnancy is to the hospital to have your little bundle of joy! Having been through three different births in two different countries, I can remember the things I’ve used in my bags, and the things I didn’t. What you pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery also depends a lot on the hospital you will be having your baby at. If your hospital allows you to bring a bag into the delivery room, then you can pack things that will help you be more comfortable during labor. If they do not allow you to bring anything into the delivery room (like the hospital I delivered at last week) then you really only need to focus on the things you will use in recovery. So here we go… let’s figure out what you need in your hospital bag.
Step 1: Figure out what you are allowed to bring to the hospital, and what they already provide.
You need to find out if they allow you to bring things into delivery. If they do, here are some things you should think about bringing to help you during labor:
-Hard Candies. These provide sugar which equals energy, and sucking on something can also ward off nausea… especially peppermint or spearmint candies.
-Music. If you can bring an iPod or a CD (some hospitals have CD players in their delivery rooms), music is something that can serve as a focal point when you are trying to focus on something other than the pain from your contractions. This is a great way to deal with pain… find songs that have inspirational lyrics and focus on the words of the song during each contraction.
-A Rice Buddy. (A rice buddy is a fabric square filled with rice that you can either freeze or heat) Heat is a wonderful feeling during back contractions (also known as back labor) and a rice buddy can be easily warmed in any microwave the hospital has available. Just be careful it isn’t too hot because when you are in labor your other senses may work more or less… meaning you might not know your rice buddy is burning your skin. Have someone else test it out for you.
-A Tennis Ball. This is great for your support person to use for back pressure… they can simply press the ball into your lower back.
-Straws! It is much easier to drink out of a straw than it is out of a cup, and when you are in labor you need to stay hydrated.
Ok so now that we got through the things you should bring into the delivery room (if you can), let’s talk about things the hospital might provide.
You should always ask at the hospital what things they will have for you when you are recovering. This list usually includes diapers for your baby while you are there, feminine pads (the giant monster ones), mesh panties, and if you are lucky a squirt bottle. I am going to include these things in the list of things you need for recovery while in the hospital, but if your hospital already covers them for you, feel free to leave them off of your list. I always bring extra of these things anyways, just in case.
Things you need to bring to the hospital for your recovery from labor:
-Comfy Pajamas (with buttons on the front top for breastfeeding friendliness). Make sure that you have two or three pairs because one of them is likely to get dirty. I recommend a top and loose fitting shorts because they give you more privacy, and you won’t have to constantly have your sheet on when you have visitors.
-Slippers. Not all hospitals provide those slipper socks, and it’s better to have slippers with hard bottoms on them anyway, so if you step in some mystery liquid, it doesn’t get all over your foot… gross.
-Toiletries. A lot of hospitals provide toothpaste and things like that, but I always bring my own travel bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, body soap, and face wash.
-Hair brush and ties. I usually bring a few pony tails bands and a headband to keep my hair off of my face.
-Squirt Bottle or Wet Wipes. A bottle with a squirt top is great for cleaning “down there” after you have a baby… even if you end up with a cesarean you will be sore and tender so you don’t want to use toilet paper. If you don’t want to use a squirt bottle, I would go with wet wipes that have chamomile or witch hazel in them for added soothing qualities.
-A Good Nursing Bra or Nursing Tank Top. This makes breastfeeding so much easier, and will be nice when your boobs start leaking… which leads me to…
-Breast Pads. My favorite disposable brand is Medela. You can also sew your own reusable ones out of cotton as well.
-A Small Towel or Burp Cloth. For baby spit ups or anything like that.
-Normal Sized Pads for wearing home.
-A fun book or magazine for down time when your baby is sleeping… newborns do a lot of that.
-Clothes for your baby to go home in, and a blanket for going home to keep your new squishy bundle warm.
-Clothes and Shoes to wear home. I chose a breastfeeding dress and flip flops.
-A Plastic Bag to store dirty clothes in. That way your dirty clothes don’t get your clean clothes all yucky when they are all together in your bag.
So there you go… that is the short list. It may seem like a lot, but I fit a lot of the toiletry and hair stuff in my bathroom bag.
Step 2: Pack your bag. Sorry I can’t really do that for you, lol, but I will recommend that you use something that is light and easy to carry and store instead of a rolling suitcase or something bulky and heavy like that. I took a sports bag that I was able to shove under my bed so I could access it easily.
May your pregnancy end in a happy and complication free hospital visit and labor.