Article by Josh Moore
There are endless tasks to take care of in the months and weeks leading up to having your baby, and one that should be prioritized is packing your hospital bag. While there are some essentials to remember, it’s also important to know what you don’t need. Use this guide to help you pack your hospital bag and be ready for your big day. If you need extra guidance, birth and postpartum doula Liz Foster can help.
What you should bring
When it’s time to jump in the car and race off to the hospital, you’ll be far too distracted to carefully pack a bag. This is where preparation comes in: it’s a great idea to pack a bag at least two weeks before your due date so you can be ready when the time comes.
While each mother-to-be will have her own personal requirements, there are some big items that you can’t leave at home. One major must-have is a car seat: you’ll need a safe way to transport your new baby back home, and the hospital likely won’t even let you leave if you don’t have one ready to go.
A change of clothes is vital for your big day. Along with packing an outfit for the ride back home, you’ll also want comfortable clothes to wear in the hospital. Many moms opt for a special labor gown, which is a great alternative to the scratchy and unflattering gowns that hospitals typically have on hand for birthing moms. When you’re picking one out, try to find one that’s as comfortable as your favorite tee and that’s functional enough to be worn during labor.
It’s also a great idea to bring a nice top to wear in photos with the baby. It’s normal to feel pretty worn out after labor, so a flattering shirt will make you feel beautiful in photos. You can get a great top even if you’re on a budget — check online for an Old Navy promo code to get discounts when you buy.
Other important items to bring include any medications and special toiletries such as contact lens solution. Bring documents like your insurance policy information and driver’s license and a pen for ease in filling out forms. You’ll need a cell phone and charger to stay in touch with friends and family.
If you’re working with a doula, first check with her to determine what items you can leave out of your bag. For example, many doulas will bring comfort items such as massage oil, tea lights, and a portable speaker to make the birthing process more soothing. You may even want a book or magazine if you’re being induced as there may be some downtime.
What NOT to bring
Along with knowing what essentials to bring with you to the hospital, there are a few items that aren’t worth taking along. For example, the hospital will provide many items that are essential such as diapers. If you’re unsure, check with your hospital to learn what items they plan to provide for you and your new baby.
It’s not usually necessary to bring baby clothes to the hospital — they’ll likely send you home with a onesie. However, if your baby comes in the winter, you might want to pack extra blankets to keep them warm for the drive home.
Another item you might consider leaving at home is snacks. Many birthing mamas aren’t in the mood for snacks during labor. However, a couple of granola bars won’t take up too much space and could help your partner make it through the labor if you don’t have the stomach for it.
Packing for the hospital will likely make the birth feel far more real and imminent. While you may feel inclined to overpack, try not to load too many items into your hospital bag. A simple labor gown and comfortable clothes, plus a cell phone, charger, important documents, and ID cards will be sufficient. Just don’t forget the car seat.
Do you need some guidance as you prepare for the birth of your baby? Contact Liz Foster today to learn about her birth and postpartum doula services.