Having a baby is an exciting journey in a woman’s life. It however requires a lot of preparations which include birth classes, newborn and child care seminars, yoga exercises, shopping for the baby’s clothes and needs, and sprucing up the whole house including the nursery.
One preparation though that should not be skipped at all is packing up for childbirth. And so most first time moms would ask, “What to bring to the hospital when having a baby?”
To avoid over packing or bringing what will not be used, here is a streamlined list of hospital bag must-haves:
- Underwear.Yes the hospital will provide mesh underpants and disposable ones but if you are the type who will not be comfortable with that then bring your own low-rise cotton or granny panties. These are the types of underwear that are comfortable, easy to wash or can even be tossed considering that they are the cheapest type, and more importantly very comfortable to use even of you suddenly had to undergo emergency caesarean section birth.
- Toiletries. Bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioners, lotions, and other daily toiletry must haves. Best to have it on one small pouch so it will be easy to spot even by your partner when you need to use it.
- Sanitary napkins. The hospital may supply these, but if you have a preferred brand you would rather use then by all means bring a couple of packs for your stay.
- Makeup kit. Even if you are not the type of person who loves wearing makeup, bringing a daily grooming kit may help you feel better. Bring your makeup must haves like foundation, concealer, face powder, blush-on, eyebrow pencil, lip balm, lipstick or lip gloss with you plus a face mirror may help you gain more confidence in the face of bloating and discomfort brought about by the delivery. But if you do not have qualms of going bare faced in the first couple of photos and videos with your newborn or when receiving visitors, then a hairbrush, a pack of breath mints, lip balm and everyday body mists will suffice.
- Flip flops — you will have to walk around your room and in the bathroom so it is better to bring some rubber fit flops for your feet’s comfort and your protection.
- Mobile phones and chargers. This is self-explanatory — you need these to get in touch with family and friends and tell them about the good news.
- Camera, extra memory cards, tablets and corresponding cables and chargers. Bring anything that you will need to document the birth of your child.
- Snacks. You may want to bring some snacks for you and your partner so that you will have something to munch on during your stay. If your doctor says okay with labor snacks then go for it and bring some.
- Water bottles.
Bring one for you and your partner so that you do not have to purchase expensive mineral water bottles in the hospital vending machine. This is also very helpful during the first days of breastfeeding.
- Comfortable clothes. Bring your favorite PJs or nursing sun dress if you are the type who will not be comfortable donning the hospital gown the rest pf your stay. You may also want to bring your own blanket and pillows so you can feel at home while in the hospital.
- Labor needs like music players, books, kindle etc — whatever stuff that will help you pass up time, and feel motivated while waiting for childbirth should be packed with you.
- Going home outfit for you and the baby. Bring something that you would be comfortable to wear on your way home.
- Cash and credit cards. These are for the expenses you may incur during your childbirth. Bring some coins and change too if in case you would need to buy something from the vending machine.
- Pertinent documents. Identification cards, insurance documents, personal documents that may be needed during the delivery. Bring as well your pregnancy medical records such as laboratory results, ultra sound scan results, and the like. These should all be enclosed in one envelope so that you could easily locate once it is needed. You may also want to bring a pen with you.
- Your partner’s stuff. If he will be staying with you in the hospital the whole time then he should bring change of clothes, snacks, his personal items and toiletries, plus some magazines, books, or anything that will help him pass up time while waiting for you.
- The baby’s hospital bag. There’s a separate baby hospital bag that you should be bringing with you in the hospital. It usually contains swaddles, going home outfit, newborn clothes, burp cloths, mittens, socks and hats. Find out with your practitioner what other baby stuff you may have to bring for your baby, especially when she is roomed in.
- The baby’s car seat. Make sure that the infant car seat is already set, and installed in the car that you will be using when you go home from the hospital. Federal rules require that all children be strapped in car seats while travelling inside vehicles.
These things should be packed and prepared in a suitcase and placed in an easily accessible part of your home. Dedicate time and start packing your hospital bag once you reach your seventh month of pregnancy because childbirth can happen anytime from the moment. You do not want to be caught flat footed just in case you will experience pre-term labor and have to be rushed to the hospital. Another advantage of packing early is that your partner will not have to go home each time you realize that he has to get something that you forgot to pack.
Once you are done packing, let your partner or a family member know where you placed your hospital bag so they can grab it in case of emergency.