Checklists for a Mom-to-Be's Hospital or Birthing Center Bag
Almost ready to pop? If you're in your third trimester of pregnancy, it's about time you start planning for the hospital. It's inevitable that you'll be staying in the hospital overnight, even if you're lucky enough to have a quick labor. You're going to need a hospital bag. But you're not the only one you need to think about packing for. Remember you'll be bringing another little person home with you. That's right you'll need to pack for the new baby too. Below you'll find checklists with all you need for nice, easy hospital stay. Included is even a checklist for your coach or husband. Whoever you choose to be in the room with you when you start pushing, the third checklist will help them pack as well.
What Will Mommy Need?
Mom's going to have the most to pack, so the first checklist you'll see is the list of what mom needs for the hospital. From essentials to entertainment, here's a complete list of the things you need and may want to consider packing in your hospital bag.
- Do not forget to pack your insurance card and ID
- You'll want to pack a change of clothes for your return home.
- You'll might want to bring a pair of pajamas or a Pretty Pushers Gown (to the right is an example). You can change into your pajamas after delivery or you can wear your pretty pushers gown during and after labor & delivery.
- You'll definitely want some extra underwear and nursing bras in your bag. But don't bring the nice underwear, you don't want to ruin them.
- Socks and/or slippers will keep your feet warm and clean. I'd suggest having a pair or two.
- Nursing pads and sanitary pads (or reusable nursing pads and mama cloth) are a must. Your going to be leaking milk, now that you've given birth, if you haven't already started. You'll also be bleeding for about four to six weeks after birth usually, so pads are a definite.
- Hair clips would be good for while you're in labor. Just a little something to hold your hair back.
- Lip balm is helpful too. You'll be a bit dehydrated after and probably during the birthing process. I prefer Burt's Beeswax or any other organic lip balm. I also make my own if I have time.
- You're going to want toiletries while you're staying overnight. Shampoo, toothpaste and all that good stuff will help you feel and smell nice and fresh after labor.
- Make sure you have some entertainment. For one thing if you're in labor for a while you might want to keep your mind occupied. And for another, there's never anything on TV. Consider bringing an Ipod or some books, perhaps a journal or some writing tools. Some moms like to use HypnoBaby to keep their minds occupied. I have not personally tried this but I hope to try it with my next child, as I have heard such good things about it.
If you're a natural mama, you may want to consider some of these:
- Back Massager or Rice Socks for pain relief. Rice socks are easy to make, just pour rice into a tube sock and tie at the top. If you have a Doula, she may already have something along these lines. Communicate with her to see if you need to bring this.
- Magnesium oil to relax mommy's muscles. You can get this in a spray or just straight up oil.
- Essential oils such as lavender, yleng yleng, frankincense, clary sage and rosewood work great for relaxation, muscle relief and tension relief.
- Homeopathic remedies like Caullophyllum 200C for dilating the cervix. Gelsemium 30C helps progress labor and can even induce labor. Arnica 200C helps with pain and fatigue. Arnica 30C can help with soreness after labor. Ask your midwife about these and additional remedies before packing them.
- Sitz bath and/or After ease (an herbal tonic) can both help with pain and soreness after birth.
Your husband and/or loved one will pack any other essentials you may need, as you'll see below. Also, if you hire a Doula, she will have her own bag of tricks for assisting you with labor and delivery.
What Will the Baby Need?
Don't forget you're going to have to bring some essentials for the baby. They're not born clothed after all. You won't need much, but here's a list of what you will need for your precious bundle of joy.
- Bring some newborn diapers, especially if you're cloth diapering as most hospitals only provide disposables for the duration of your stay. Don't forget your changing supplies, especially if you're a natural mama because the hospital will provide only the conventional stuff.
- You'll need to bring an outfit to take your little boy or little girl home in. It doesn't have to be fancy. Comfort is key. You can bring more than one, if you prefer your child not be in hospital clothes for the duration of your stay.
- Mittens are a must. Not only will they keep the baby's little hands warm, but they'll keep him or her from scratching their delicate skin.
- Booties will keep the little baby's feet warm and cozy, I'd recommend packing a pair, though I can't guarantee your baby will wear them. Mine didn't, even as a newborn. That's where swaddling can be a blessing.
- You might consider bringing a small stuffed animal so your baby has entertainment too. Consider it a welcome to the world gift.
- Bring some receiving blankets to bundle your precious little one in.
- Make sure you take the weather into consideration. If you have a winter baby like I did, bring a snow or pram suit. Consider a rain cover as well for your carriage or carrier. We had to drape a thick blanket over our carriage because we didn't have a rain cover and no one told us it was raining when we left the hospital. Luckily we lived a short distance away and took a cab.
- You must bring a car seat or carriage as it is a requirement of most hospitals. They may not release you or your baby until one or the other is presented. Think of it as assurance of your parenting skills, not that I whole heartedly agree with denying a person their child if they bring something other than a carriage or a car seat. Some hospitals now accept baby carriers/slings for release, but I've yet to find one in my area. Birthing Centers may have different policies so make sure to ask your center.
Since i Don't Have A Video On What's In My Hospital Bag, Here's One By My Favorite Natural Mom Blogger: Mama Natural
More Hubs on Pregnancy & Parenting
What Will Dad/Loved One Need?
Your husband/partner or other loved ones will need to bring some essentials too in his or her own hospital/birthing center bag. Please keep in mind that not all hospitals allow the husband to stay overnight, so if you're planning a hospital birth and your hospital doesn't allow this, consider packing some of these items in your own bag. My hospital didn't allow this but they made an exception for me as I am disabled, they were able to reserve a single room for me, which ordinarily costs a lot of money. So if your hospital doesn't allow your partner to stay, check with them and find out if there are exceptions to the rule.
Now for the checklist...
- Partner/Dad's going to need a change of clothes too!
- You may consider bringing some snacks or drinks. However many hospitals have vending machines or a cafeteria. Most hospitals don't usually allow mama to have snacks or drinks during labor, but birthing centers often do and of course home birth allows mama to choose.
- If allowed, you might like to bring a camera. This is a precious time and you may want pictures or videos of the beautiful memories of this day. From what I have seen most birthing centers all cameras.
- You should bring your cell phones and chargers. After the baby is born you're going to want to inform everyone of the details!
- Partner/Dad is going to want to bring some entertainment too. Although the company of mom may be enough for them, as it was for my hubby for the most part.
- You may consider bringing some toiletries. Mom's going to need them more than you but, if you want then there's nothing wrong with a nice shower.
- Money is a must. But I don't mean large quantities. Just enough for snacks or food. Possibly for cab fare if you don't drive. Mom's going to be weak and tired after birth. Make sure she takes it easy.
What item is a must have for you in your hospital/birthing center bag?
© 2011 Skylar Spring