You probably already know you need to have a bag packed before you have your baby, but you may be at a loss as to what it should contain. First time moms sometimes pack too many things, while moms that have had more than one child may underpack, since they know that the hospital provides many things to you when you deliver a baby. The truth is that you need to think about the items that will make you the most comfortable during and after delivery, especially if you end up staying in the hospital for a few days following the birth of your child. You should also note what you will need to use or wear for the ride home from the hospital, since your body is starting to heal at that time, and may be a bit different than you’re used to. Here are some of the top items that you should pack, especially if you think you might use them.
- All your appropriate documents. You’ll need to have all your documents in the same place, so when you arrive at the hospital, everyone will be on the same page. This includes your insurance card, birth plans, and whatever else you may need everyone to know. It will let the nurses and hospital staff be aware of how you plan to have the baby and should include your doctor’s contact information, in case he needs to be there for you.
- A comfy pillow. Many women are in labor for quite a long time, so they may be lying in bed for a while, waiting for their baby to be delivered. This is the reason why bringing your own pillow or purchasing one just for this occasion is a good idea. The ones that are found in hospitals are really flimsy and may not give you the support that you need or are used to.
- A special nightgown or robe. Hospitals are also known to be cold and could make you feel a little nervous or stressed out. To help counteract some of that, you can bring your favorite nightgown or robe, so you’ll feel more at home. It is important to note that these items may become damaged or ruined by the birth process, so don’t bring something that you aren’t prepared to throw away after you have your baby, just in case.
- Your own pads or underwear. Again, after you have your baby, the body has to take some time to get back to normal. If you have had a c-section, you’ll have to worry about your incision staying healthy and clean, and even if you delivered naturally, there are things that may not work exactly right following a birth. You have to be prepared with some of your maternity underwear and strong pads, so you won’t have to worry about leaks or accidents. The hospital will supply these to you after you deliver, but some women do not like the ones that they provide. You can do a bit of research online to see what many women like to wear post partum, as there are lots of different brands and styles that do a great job.
- Lip balm. Be sure to bring your favorite lip balm, to keep your lips from getting too dried out. This can be a problem, especially if you’re in labor for a long amount of time, since you may be unable to drink anything during that time as well. This will ensure that you are a little bit comfortable, at a particularly trying time.
- A comfortable bra. Many women opt to bring a special nursing bra or tank top when they go to the hospital, since they will likely have to breast feed their child before they leave the hospital. It will also allow you to be more comfortable, since these items are designed to protect you from spills or leaks, and can keep you from having to wear very restricting garments when you are trying to recuperate.
- Your favorite toiletries. The hospital will also provide you with a variety of toiletries to make your life easier, but if you want to bring your favorites, there is no harm in that. They will allow you to feel more comfortable and more at home than using the generic hospital items, especially if you have a special soap or toothpaste that you really like. You can always take the items that the hospital has offered for later use.
- Candy or snacks. This is a must, especially for after you have your baby. Additionally, many mothers swear by sugar free candy or lozenges, to keep their mouths from drying out while they are going through the delivery process. Other snacks that are useful are popsicles, crackers, and other things like that. You may end up being hungry after you give birth, and the cafeteria may be closed, so it helps to be prepared.
- Reading material. If you like magazines or crossword puzzles, you can pack them in your bag. You may also opt for short books or even include your e-reader. Chances are you won’t have a lot of time to read anything, and you may not be able to focus, so bring something lighthearted that will also entertain you during the quite moments.
- Your camera. If you want to capture baby’s first moment or need to take pictures for all the family members that can’t be there, you will need your camera. Make sure that it is fully charged or has fresh batteries and a large SD card, so you can take as many pictures as you want.
- Your phone or music player. If you usually take pictures on your phone, this is also acceptable, especially since you’ll need your phone to make phone calls to people, or for posting updates on your social media sites to let everyone know what is going on. Moreover, if you want to use it to play music, you will need your phone or music player, which will be able to help you relax or calm down. Just remember to bring the phone charger too, so you won’t be without a way to let everyone know how you and your baby are doing.
- Stuff for little one. You should also keep in mind that you aren’t just packing for you. Your baby has to go home with you. This is why you must get together all the things they may need as well. You can put them in your bag or pack them in a separate bag, depending on how many items you need. Some of the items that you must take are an outfit, a blanket, and any other thing they may need to wear in order to stay warm, depending on what type of weather is outside. Furthermore, you have to be sure that the car seat you’ll be bringing them home in is in your car, since this is the safest way for them to travel.
A Few Tips
While the items listed above are the most important items that you should include in your hospital bag, there are a couple of honorable mentions as well. One of the most obvious one is your partner’s things. If they plan on being with you during the whole process, they will need some items too. Make sure they have a bag stashed away as well, so they can sit with you at the hospital and have everything they need. Some items that may be helpful are change or extra money for the vending machines or payphones, comfortable clothes, extra blankets, and even phones or tablets, so they can stay entertained or get some work done during the downtime. You may also want to put them in charge of taking pictures or making phone calls after the baby comes.
Another important thing to bring is something comfortable to wear for the ride home. Some opt for wearing what they arrived at the hospital in, but others choose to bring another outfit that is clean and comfortable. Your body will still be changing, so don’t bring something that is too constricting. Think stretchy pants and long cotton shirts or a loose dress.
Finally, you should make sure that you have all of these things packed before your child is due. This way, when the time comes, you won’t have to be shoving things in bags or panicking because you can’t find what you need. You can set these bags by the door or even have them waiting in your car, so you will always know where everything is. You can pack as little or as much as you need, just remember to keep it simple. If you are pretty sure that you won’t be using something don’t include it. On the other hand, if you don’t feel like you can live without your favorite socks, slippers, or something like that, go ahead and pack them. It’s always better to be well covered instead of not having enough of the items you want.