When you’re preparing for your baby’s arrival, one of the things on your immediate “to do” list is to pack a bag for your hospital stay. Having the things you want and need close by will provide comfort, help you feel prepared, and alleviate the need for your spouse, friends, or family to be out and about trying to find what you need at the last minute. Courtesy of The Everywomen, here’s some helpful guidance:
Necessities for You
When you’re in labor, there are certain things that can help you feel more comfortable, in control, and relaxed. Personal bedding items, like pillows, can make your surroundings feel more home-like — although keep in mind, they may need a good laundering after you return home. If you have music that’s personally inspiring, have the playlist on your phone, and make sure you have earbuds and a wireless charger. Having a fully charged phone can also help you distract yourself during labor by allowing you to visit favorite websites or watch videos. Personal care items can also make you feel like yourself — a toothbrush, toiletries, and a comfy change of clothes are all go-bag-worthy essentials.
Necessities for Your Spouse
If your spouse or birthing coach/partner will be with you in delivery, their needs should be considered, as well. This person should pack a list that includes directions to the birthing center or hospital and the names and contact info for your primary OB/GYN and pediatrician, as well as your pastor or clergy member. Your partner may want a list of people to call or text when the baby arrives, and packing personal bedding for them will make a quick nap more comfortable.
If you have a birth plan, your partner should have a copy to share with your medical care providers. Although ideally a labor partner will be focused on you, they may opt for some snacks, reading material, or personal devices to occupy themselves when you’re resting. A fresh change of clothes is also advisable as babies can be a bit messy right from the start! Personal toiletries are also recommended.
Necessities for Baby
Baby’s first “going home” outfit is always top-of-mind when packing a hospital bag. Add to that several soft changes of clothes in slightly different sizes to ensure you have a good fit. Receiving blankets, burping cloths, and weather-appropriate necessities are also important.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, you absolutely must have an approved car seat properly installed before leaving the hospital, so if that wasn’t taken care of prior to your baby’s arrival, it should, at minimum, be in the car when you head to the hospital. The hospital will provide the necessities you and your baby need in terms of nourishment and sanitary supplies. However, there are things you’ll want to stock up on for home, if not for your hospital go-bag.
What Does the Hospital Provide?
According to Baby Center, if you have a caesarian section, your hospital stay will be a bit longer than a regular delivery, so keep that in mind as you’re packing. For example, you may want some “regular” comfy lounging clothes, make-up, and even your favorite snacks once you’re approved for a varied diet. A hospital or birthing center will provide diapers and blankets, but you may prefer your own. A medical facility will also provide personal care items for both you and the baby, like samples of formula (if you’re using it), guides and products related to nursing, and personal hygiene items. You’ll want to ensure you’re fully stocked with similar items when you arrive home.
Getting ready for your baby’s birth can feel a bit overwhelming, but having familiar comfort items with you at the hospital can make the experience feel less stressful.