One of the most asked questions we get in our prenatal meetings with moms is "What should I pack for the hospital (or birthing center)?" Our clients like to make sure they’ve packed everything they could possibly need for the hospital or birthing center so that their partner doesn’t have to drive back home to get something. We’ve decided to compile a list of items that we highly recommend packing!
Essentials (and a few non-essentials) for Mom:
+ Health insurance card and ID, copies of birth plan, copy of pre-registration papers
+ Nursing bra(s) / Nursing Tank(s) - These support swollen, tender breasts, and help keep breast pads in place (however, we recommend not buying many until your milk has fully come in, because breasts can change sizes).
+ Sports bra, camisole, or bathing suit (for water birth) - in case you want sweet pictures!
+ Breast pads (we recommend washable Bamboobies!) and other nursing support items like nipple cream
+ Nursing pillow
+ Nightgown and/or comfy robe
+ Slippers or socks - many women complain of their feet being cold during the birth and right after, so have a couple of pairs in case one pair becomes soiled. Plus, the hospital socks aren’t very comfy, and you really don’t want to walk on the hospital floor barefoot.
+ Going-home outfit - choose one that fit when pregnant (remember, your belly won’t be flat after birth, so choose something that you would’ve felt comfy in around 6 months pregnant).
+ Toiletries - to be more comfortable, take a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick, makeup, hairbrush, shampoo, soap, lotion, contacts/glasses, etc.
+ Hair clip or hair band if you have long hair - women with long hair like to have it pulled out of their faces during labor and delivery.
+ Pillow (and blanket, if preferred) from home - this makes you more comfortable; just make sure you have a different colored pillow case on it to distinguish it from hospital pillows.
+ Breastfeeding book - take along any reference books that would be helpful.
+ Comfort/Relaxation tools - music, massage tools, essential oils diffuser, massage oils/lotions, etc. We have another blog post coming soon about how to set up your birthing room/space for ultimate comfort!
+ Snacks - make sure they are easy to eat, have some that are high in protein and/or energy. Some recommendations are peanut butter and crackers, fresh fruit (already sliced and ready to eat), applesauce, yogurt, date balls, etc. Remember that in very active labor, you’re probably not going to feel like chewing. So while granola bars and crunchy things like that will be nice during early labor, you need quick/easy things to eat during active labor. Honey sticks are a great option for a fast, healthy sugar boost!
+ Fluids - water and coconut water are good - and having a water bottle with a straw is very helpful!
Essentials For Baby:
+ Infant car seat - installed and practiced ahead of time. Some local fire departments offer to help you install car seats (call ahead to make sure yours does).
+ Going home outfit (make sure it’s appropriate for the weather season).
+ Receiving blankets - the hospital provides these, but yours might be softer!
+ Newborn diapers and wipes - the hospital provides these, but you might want to bring your own (especially if you’re planning to cloth diaper, or want to use a different brand than what the hospital provides).
+ Wipes or cloths for cleaning - the hospital provides these, but yours might be softer!
Essentials for Partner:
+ Change of clothes
+ Bathing suit - this is important if you and your partner are planning on a water birth or using the birthing pool or shower during labor.
+Cooler filled with drinks and snacks - this keeps the partner close by and can help avoid multiple trips to the hospital cafeteria.
+ Quarters/cash for the vending machine
+ Video/still camera, cell phone charger
For Birth Center Clients to have on hand (at home):
+ Puddle pads/chux pads for car ride home and bed at home
+ Pads for mom (or something like Depends) - heavy flow type at first
+ Some type of squirt bottle or sitz bath for postpartum healing (or ask if they give this to you)
+ Pads for mom that have been frozen with some water or add essential oils for more healing
+ Lactation support on hand and someone to get lactation items if you need them (pump, nipple ointment, etc.).
+ Suction for baby
+ Set up a “station” for mom. If you had birthed in the hospital, you would be in a room resting in the same spot (the bed) for two days. Try to do the same at home. Stay within a few feet of the bed for two days at a minimum. Everyone else can come to you (bring you food, water, etc).
As always, feel free to reach out to us if you have specific questions on certain brands of items or if you feel like you need certain items your specific situation.