Preparing a Hospital Bag for Labor
I have finally reached that milestone that every expectant mother longs for—37 weeks! The official “if you go we won’t try and stop you” marker. This is also where I start getting desperate and miserable – but ever vigilant and anxious. Usually I am much more on the ball in my preparations but this kid has, amazingly, come rather quickly. Maybe its because its baby #5 (yes, we’re crazy!), maybe its because I’ve been distracted with 4 kids and the craziness of Christmas and school, maybe its just that I know my body well enough to finally give up hope of ever going into labor early. But whatever the reason, I am not prepared this time. So I’m sharing my preparations with you, so that you can be ready too (hopefully sooner than I am).
I usually start with creating the hospital bag for when I’m in labor. I think of it a 72 hour kit for the hospital. I have delivered at three different hospitals, soon to be four, each with their own regulations and recommendations. I have developed my own checklist of what you really need to put in a hospital bag for labor. Things for you, your baby, and your spouse, because, he has to be there but doesn’t get the special treatment like we do.
What to pack in your Hospital Bag:
- For You—maternity clothes (sorry your body doesn’t just “come back”), PJ’s focus on big, baggy and comfortable, this isn’t a beauty contest – you just had a baby. A bath robe and comfy shoes and socks is a good idea too. I always get a new fun pair of socks for each baby.
- For Spouse—they always get left out. Get him a change of clothes, PJ’s and underwear too. If you plan on showering or being in a bath, you may want to pack him a swimsuit. He still has a choice about keeping things private.
- For Baby—a few onsies and nighties (blow outs start early), they will get one cute shirt from the hospital but it probably will get soiled before he comes home. If its winter/cold be sure to pack a coat or jumper for when its time to go home.
- Underwear—(for you) they do have these great (sarcasm) fishnet panties but you may still prefer the comfort of feeling like there’s more there, so bring some larger underwear for comfort.
- Nursing bras—yes you will want more than one, just in case your milk comes in with a vengeance. Get one your current size and one a cup size larger, just in case. Leave the tags on until you know which works best.
- Nursing Pads—1 box of overnight pads. If you plan on the reusable cloth ones, great, but trust me when I say you’ll want something a little more heavy duty for the first couple weeks.
- Blankets—1-2 receiving blankets for swaddling and one heavy blanket for when you head home
- Camera (photo and video) and extra memory cards.
- Chargers for all electronics—phones, laptops, camera, etc.
- Entertainment—you never know how long you’ll be there and having a baby doesn’t mean it has to be all business. I always pack a card game, cross stitching, and a movie or two.
- Cash for vending machines or cafeteria
- Birth plan—It’s recommend to have a couple copies so that everyone is on the same page
- Comfort Items—what do you plan on using to increase comfort and help with pain relief during labor? There are tons of options, check with your hospital about what they allow and what they already have. For instance, Some hospitals have birthing balls that you can use. If you plan on using birth affirmations or music be sure they have the equipment to play them or bring your own (same with the movie for entertainment). check out some more ideas here
- Hygiene—Yes they do provide shampoo and soap, but its not even hotel grade stuff. I always prefer to use my own, better quality, hygiene products. Especially after 24 hours of labor and all that it entails. Don’t forget your spouse’s needs too. Be sure to bring toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, and what ever else you feel is necessary. Oh, don’t forget a hairbrush and ponytails.
- Phone numbers (even if they’re in your phone)
- A bag for all the extras you’ll get to bring home (Trust me you’ll want to bring that stuff home, and whatever you don’t take they have to toss anyway)
- Food—this is where hospitals and doctors differ the most. They don’t like you eating while in labor! I understand the hazards – I really do, but you have to admit that’s like asking someone to run a marathon on an empty stomach! Having more than a cup of juice will make a world of difference in how you feel and progress through labor. I recommend packing suckers at the very least. They have a little sugar to give you energy, but not the substance for a good vomiting. I usually bring snack foods as well. The food isn’t just for me though. You’re spouse needs to eat too, and probably feels bad eating a meal in front of you. Some hospitals won’t bring food for dad to the room and he would have to leave to eat. This way he can stay with you where he wants to be, and you both get nourishment.
- Optional but nice: Car seat cover or nursing cover (hooter hider). A regular blanket will cover a car seat perfectly because chances are – the nursing cover will seem pathetic after having exposed yourself to most of the staff over the course of your stay!
- Be sure to grab your purse with your wallet as well. You will need to have your ID and insurance cards, or give them to your spouse.
- Some lists recommend pictures of your kids from home, or gifts for your older kids for when they come to visit, but I’ve never felt the need to do this, and they’ve all adjusted really well to the new baby. Just remind them the baby is the gift!
- Bring some paper so you can record some of your thoughts down while they’re fresh in your mind or if you get a spare moment when you don’t feel like sleeping.
You are now all set to go. Just make sure that the car seat is ready with your bag (or already installed in the car) and continue the long slow crawl to D-day.
Hang in there – it’ll be here before you know it.
This post has been shared on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways