Packing A Hospital Bag
You are ready to give birth, but have you packed all the things you will need? In this article, you will find out what to take along with you to the hospital to help make both labor and delivery go smoothly!
Are you all ready for the big day you have been waiting for? Your baby might come earlier than you expect, so it will be best to arrange and pack a hospital bag when you become eight months pregnant – just in case. Have your hospital bag set by the time you are about thirty-six weeks pregnant, since you could give birth at any point in time when you are in your eighth month. Keep your baby hospital bag in the car or exit of your home.
Hospitals have different policies on what pregnant women are allowed to bring when having a baby. You may want to pack a few items from your home, such as your home pillows, to make the place feel more like home. However, bare in mind that hospitals can have very little space. You can pack two bags if you wish to: one for labor and the few hours after your baby is born, and the other in case you will be staying for a while.
If you will be driving to the hospital, you can leave the second bag pack in your vehicle. If you have a successful delivery, you may leave the hospital that very day and won’t need the second bag. The checklist below will help you know what to pack to a hospital when expecting a new baby.
1. A Nightgown and A Robe
Yes, the hospital will definitely provide you with many gowns during labor and after delivery (postpartum), but you might feel a lot more comfortable putting on your own T-shirt or nightgown. Pack a few; just don’t go with your favorites or new ones as they might get stained with blood or other effluvia. Go with short sleeves gowns as they make it easier for you to get hooked up to an IV or for your blood pressure to be checked. If you plan on nursing your baby, then pack a top or nightgown that lifts up easily (or opens in front) to make breastfeeding easy. Do not forget to add a robe to your hospital bag — you will stroll the hallways after you have given birth. You can also bring some pairs of warm socks just in case your feet get cold.
Since you wouldn’t want your partner or loved ones to depend on the vending machine for snacks, packing different snacks makes a lot of sense. Some snacks you can pack for your partner or loved ones are granola bars, trail mix and other healthy snacks. This is also considering the fact that you might ask for an energy boost during your mid-labor – you will surely need to feed during postnatal. Some labor-friendly snacks to pack are crackers, a sports drink with electrolytes, sugarless lollipops or candies.
You may think that adding toiletries to your hospital bag when expecting a newborn isn’t a great idea, but it definitely is. Some important toiletries you will need are toothbrush, mouthwash, toothpaste, deodorant, moisturizer, hair clips or ties, lip balm, your own shampoo, soap, lotion, etc.
4. Charger and Cell Phone
Your friends and family will be waiting anxiously with baited breath to hear the news of your birth, so try to find out if your hospital permits the use of cell phones (and do not forget to pack a phone charger, since it is difficult to tell how long you will be in labor). Maybe you do not have an interest in using the internet during delivery or after? You can bring your tablet along with you or use your cellphone to send a mass email to all your loved ones.
While you are most likely not to forget those first few seconds of your newborn’s life (even if you would not want to remember those last few hours of labor), you will want to capture all of them for your family and friends to see. So alongside your cell phone and charger, you should also consider packing a real camcorder or camera if you can find one. Those priceless first shots will also allow you to look back and be amazed at the miraculous delivery procedures you went through for your little baby— and the amount of joy it gave you. Check your camera batteries and make sure they are fully charged before packing them into your hospital bag. Also put extra charges or batteries just in case you run low on battery.
6. Hospital Paperwork, Insurance Card, and ID.
Pack copies of all your medical records as this will enable your doctor to study your medical history easily. Hospitals will need your identification card, any insurance document or medical card up front, so ensure that you have copies of all the above mentioned documents at hand.
7. Birth Plan (if any).
You might have talked about your birth plans with your hospital, but make sure you have few copies printed and ready for your doctor and medical team as it will serve as a guide in case questions are asked. If you do not have a birth plan yet, it isn’t too late. Visit your hospital to make a birth plan with your medical team.
8. Flip-flops and Slippers.
You will want slippers and flip-flops that are easy to slip in and out of and comfortable to wear as you go around a hospital ward. Always remember to pack some slippers and flip-flops when expecting a new baby.
9. Massage oil or Body lotion
Some soon-to-be moms find being massaged during labor to be relaxing. If this is you, add some oils or lotions to your hospital bag.
10. Comfortable pillows.
Your hospital will definitely provide you with good pillows, but they might not be your favorite kind of pillows. If you have a pillow at home that you love so much and feel you need during labor and delivery, then you can pack it along as well.
11. Relaxing entertainment.
Pack some entertaining things that will help you pass out time like a magazine, book, a music player, or a tablet with series or movies downloaded on it.
12. Earplugs and Eye Mask
To help you rest better in a bright and busy maternity ward, a set of earplugs and an eye mask could be what you need in the few hours after delivery, or for your needed rest after going through labor.
Hospitals have their different policies and they may differ on how newborn babies are to be dressed. So before packing bodysuits for your newborn, consult your doctor in advance and ask if you can pack bodysuits. Bare in mind that when it comes to bodysuits, it will be best to pick those that are fastened at the front.
Newborns usually get cold easily so ensure that you pack some booties and socks just in case the hospital does not provide you with any. Even when applying skin-to-skin contact, you can dress your newborn in socks and a hat.
The hospital will definitely provide you with blankets, but having a blanket of your own will make you more confident. Packing a blanket will come in handy during skin-to-skin contact. Also, it can be used in keeping your baby warm and comfortable while taking a ride back home.
16. Going-home outfit
Considering the weather conditions: a hat, bodysuit, and booties will do a good job during the summer months, but if it is winter, pack a snowsuit and a jacket or mittens.
17. Car seat
This obviously is not for a hospital bag, but the appropriate car seat should get installed in your vehicle when packing your baby’s bag so it is ready when leaving the hospital with your newborn.
CONCLUSION / FINAL WORDS
It is never too early to put together all the things you will need during labor and delivery, and even after you have given birth. Even if you are not planning to deliver your baby in a birth center or hospital, always remember to bag what you think you might need.
If you are expecting a baby, then it probably means that you have been counting down the months and have made plans for labor and delivery, but have you packed a hospital bag? If you are waiting until you are in labor to start packing a hospital bag, don’t. Even if you think you have packed up all you will need for your delivery, you will always forget that one thing you really wanted to take with you to the hospital.
As a matter of fact, you will be doing yourself a huge favor by packing a hospital bag few months before you are due (just in case your baby comes early). However, always remember to have a light bag.