What To Pack In Your Hospital Birth Bag!
This is a question we get asked ALL the time: “What should we pack in our go bag?” My answer is usually along the lines of “not as much as you think.” Your body is going to birth your baby whether you remembered lip balm or not. BUT, I am all on board for a good list, so here are some items that might make your stay at the hospital, during and after birth, a little more comfortable:
- Your birth preferences: that handy dandy sheet of paper outlines the choices you’ve made for your labor, birth and afterwards. You’ve carefully researched your options, considered what will work best for your family, put it down on paper – so you want to make sure you bring it and make sure your support team is on the same page!
- Comfortable clothes to labor in: Unless you plan on going a la nude. Which is perfectly acceptable too. Whatever makes you most comfortable. If you do plan on being some level of clothed, my fav tip is getting a sports bra that zips in the front for quick skin to skin with babe after birth.
- Hair ties, lip balm and other personal care items: They’re little so if you don’t use them, at least they didn’t take a tonne of space.
- Parking change: Such mundane things as paying for parking, sadly still need to be considered, even when you’re giving birth to the next generation. Sheesh. Bring change or bookmark on your phone how to pay online.
- Electrolyte packed drinks and a water bottle: Your body will be working hard. You’ll want to fuel it. Many laboring women don’t feel the desire to eat throughout labor, so sipping on an electrolyte packed drink, is the next best way to fuel your body. Check out this recipe for Labor Aid!
- Favorite foods for mom and helpers: In case you do have the ability to eat – pack some snacks you really like. I highly recommend foods that bring you joy, like chocolate or that deli meat sandwich you’ve been craving for 9 months! Oh, you don’t get emotional comfort from food like I do? Nevermind…
- Massage oil: For all those massages your partner will be giving you! Foot massages, hand massages, back massages, oh my!
- Essential oils and cotton pads: Most hospitals don’t love you freely misting essential oils all over the place. So, if scents are your thing, make sure you bring cotton pads in a plastic bag. Drop the oils in the bag and zip up. You can unzip and sniff at will! Consider scents that bring relaxation and comfort for laboring and scents that energize for pushing.
- Items that bring you comfort or joy: Because why wouldn’t you want more comfort and joy will you labor? Think: your favorite pillow, your favorite blanket, a picture of you and your partner making gooey eyes at each other.
- An item of baby’s to focus on: Bringing baby’s first outfit, hat or stuffy may give you motivation, strength and a reminder of what you’re working for in the more challenging moments of labor.
- Bluetooth speaker and/or headphones: Light music can help set the tone in your room – or maybe you want to listen to a HypnoBirthing recording or affirmations?
- Swim trunks for partner: For the built in hot tub on the on the 1st floor of the hospital. Ha! We wish! Swim trunks so your partner can get in the shower with you.
- Electric heating pad: Heat therapy is a great option for any tense muscles or areas of discomfort.
- LED candles: In case you haven’t heard this one before, the saying goes “what got the baby in there, will get the baby out.” Think: dim lights, candles, light music, soft touches, etc…
- TENS machine: If you, your care provider or your Doula don’t have one, you can look into places that rent them out. Learn more about TENS machines HERE
- A Doula: If you’ve hired a Doula, when you’re ready to head to the hospital is likely when you’d like to contact them.
- Anything you’d like for entertainment: Disclaimer: I don’t find people need much entertainment in labor – as they’re usually busy, well, laboring. However, if you have to be at the hospital prior to active labor or you chose an epidural, you might find you’re more present and you might need a way to pass some time. I highly recommend sleeping but books, magazines and IPads are options too.
For your stay after birth:
*You may want to consider leaving some of these items (especially bigger ones) in your parked car until after baby’s arrival or until you need them!*
Your hospital may have some of these items such as diapers and wipes, but having your own items can make your room and stay more comfortable and homey.
- Electronics: phone charger, camera, etc…
- Toiletries and a towel: tooth brush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, lip balm, hair ties, and anything else you use on a daily basis.
- Clothing: Pack enough clothing for 2-3 days, still maternity size as it’s unlikely you’ll leave the hospital your pre-pregnancy shape (which is TOTALLY NORMAL)! You may also want to invest in a comfortable nursing bra and bring it.
- Things for Baby: Diapers and wipes, car seat (installed), a few sleepers, a hat and a baby blanket.
- Breastfeeding comfort items: a breastfeeding pillow, breast pads and nipple cream are all good items to have on hand.
Now here’s where I’ll step up on my soap box again to say – if you don’t have all these items prepared for when birth day rolls around – don’t stress! These are extra comfort items – not necessities. Sure, being prepared for labor feels nice but you don’t need a tonne of stuff. That statement doubly applies to newborns. All they really need is a boob, a blanket, oh and you, of course! Off soapbox now.
Not birthing at the hospital or a birth centre? Stay tuned for our upcoming blog about preparing for a home birth!
Happy birthing everyone!