Pregnant? What To Pack for the Hospital – and What To Leave at Home
You’re having a baby! It’s an exciting time with a ton of details you need to think about – including what to pack for the hospital. Before the big day, give yourself time to envision what’s going to make you most comfortable.
Here’s what to consider including:
Two Separate Bags
First, divide what you will bring into two separate bags: one bag for labor, and one for after the baby is born. Most hospital rooms don’t provide much space, and you don’t want your partner and hospital staff tripping over extra bags. Start by leaving the post-partum bag in the car when you head into the hospital. After the baby is born, have your partner swap the bags.
This is the No. 1 item moms-to-be forget to bring to the hospital, which makes it the biggest stressor. Your family is going to want updates on the labor process, and the phone battery dies much faster than you may realize.
Your mood and energy needs will shift while you’re in labor. Having the right music helps. The three types of music you might want are:
- Nature sounds
- Relaxation music
- Hype music
Make your hospital room cozier and more soothing with an aromatherapy diffuser. Pack a variety of essential oils. Your favorite smell might be lavender, but you may not like that smell when in labor. Other options might include eucalyptus or peppermint.
Pillows and Blankets
You may want your own pillows and blankets to help you get comfortable and sleep more easily after labor. You don’t have to worry about these getting messy; your hospital team will tuck them away for safekeeping once actual labor starts. Right after your baby is born, skin-to-skin contact is important, so you may want to place baby against your chest, and wrap both of you up in a blanket.
Familiar and cozy clothing is a good way to bring in comfort at a time of discomfort. The hospital will provide mesh underwear, so you don’t need to necessarily pack those. You may, however, want:
- A favorite nightgown or pajamas
- Shorts and T-shirt
- Sweatshirt or sweater
- Comfy socks
- House slippers
Pack your partner’s favorite snacks. Labor can be a long process, and it’s helpful if your partner doesn’t have to dash off to the cafe every time they want a snack.
These can provide relief from the physical pressure of labor. Position one under your hip to relieve discomfort. Your birth partner can massage around the base of your hips, but their hands will get tired. This repetitive movement can tax the wrists, which is why tennis balls are such a lifesaver.
You will want your toiletries. Do not forget your toothbrush, as hospital toothbrushes are notorious for being too firm. Hair ties are something many women forget, so bring extra.
Don’t forget ID cards. As part of hospital visitor guidelines, everyone needs to show ID. This rule applies to everyone, including visitors who will be coming to the hospital to visit post-birth.
List of Phone Contacts
Write down the phone numbers of important contacts, whether that’s the dog-sitter or whoever is watching the kids. If plans change and you have to stay at the hospital longer, it’s handy to have those numbers available. Even better, you can task someone else to text any changes to the people on your list.
You’ll need the car seat set up in the car when it’s time to leave the hospital.
This is one of the things many new moms are most excited to pack—the first outfit their new child ever wears.
What You Can Leave at Home
It might seem like the list of what to pack is long. It is. Luckily, there’s a lot you can leave at home, too.
- Peanut balls and other labor tools
- Breast pump. The hospital provides breast pumps, so there’s no need to bring yours, assuming you know how to use it. One reason to bring it, however, would be if you’d like a lesson in using it.
- Stopwatch to time contractions. Hospital monitors have this covered.
- Breast pads and nursing bras. Milk doesn't come in that quickly, so most likely, you won’t need to worry about those items. And there will be plenty of time to learn more and get comfortable breastfeeding.
- Blankets are all provided by the hospital, but if you have a favorite, you can bring it.
- Nipples creams aren’t needed this early.
Another important tip: Drive carefully to the hospital. It’s common in the excitement to speed. Try to slow down and drive normally.
That’s it! Most of all, try to remember to stay in the moment while you’re in labor. Take a second and remember to breathe once it all starts.
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