Hospital and birthing center births are obviously different from a home birth, but these items are great to have on deck wherever you plan (or don’t plan, in some cases) to have your little one. Most baby experts agree you should pack a “go bag” well in advance of your due date, so take your time and don’t feel the urge to pack absolutely everything you think you might need. Try to stick to one bag for you and your support person, and keep only the essentials in mind! Here’s what to pack for your birth.
Sure, hospitals have their own gowns, but why not bring a cute one from home? I ordered one online for my baby’s birth and washed it beforehand, and I felt much cozier while sitting in a hospital bed for two days. You can easily find affordable ones online in a variety of pretty colors and patterns, which are so much more exciting than whatever your hospital or birthing center may offer.
Breastfeeding moms all know the first couple of weeks are an adjustment, to say the least. Lanolin cream (which is safe for both babies and moms) is an absolute must for sore, chapped, cracked, and otherwise sensitive nipples adjusting to the needs of breastfeeding. Don’t think, just get it! You’ll be glad you did.
This goes without saying, but you’ll probably need a shower after giving birth (and it’ll be the best shower you’ve ever taken, trust me). Pick up a cute toiletry bag and fill it with all the essentials: shampoo, conditioner, a loofah or washcloth, skincare essentials, body wash, and anything else you might need to help you feel human again after giving birth. No one expects you to have a full glam face of makeup hours after your baby comes out (unless you’re into that), but as the saying goes, cleanliness is next to godliness.
Lanolin cream is an absolute must for sore, chapped, cracked, and sensitive nipples.
Hydration is key during our day-to-day life, so imagine how important it has to be during labor and delivery! Fill it up again as soon as it’s empty, or make your husband fill it up, and drink away.
A comfort item from home – your favorite sweater, blanket, or another sentimental item – can ground you and make you feel at home during what can feel like an uncertain, unpredictable time. No one likes being in the hospital, and something which gives you a sense of security and safety can make you feel more relaxed and at peace. When I had my baby earlier this year, I brought a pillow that belonged to my grandmother with me, and it honestly made all the difference during my two-day hospital stay.
After your little one has made their big debut, you’ll probably be exhausted. Don’t forget your comfiest nursing-friendly nightgown or pair of lived-in pajamas in your bag. You won’t want to stay in a maternity gown the whole time, and bringing a pair of pajamas can help you relax and at least make an attempt to sleep post-delivery.
Let’s face facts: There will be a lot going on – down there – whether you deliver through Cesarean or vaginally. Disposable underwear ensures you won’t have to worry about pesky, awkward pads in your actual underwear, and lets you slip in ice packs or witch hazel pads (also good to have!) to ease any tears or other pain you may have.
The Boring but Essential Stuff
Your hospital or birthing center will probably want a copy of your ID, insurance, and the baby’s pediatrician’s information as well. You probably won’t remember these key things if you’re headed to the hospital in a panic, which is why packing ahead of time is important! Make a copy of everything you’ll need, stick it an envelope for later, and forget about it until you need it.
Put a copy of your ID, insurance, and the pediatrician’s information in an envelope for later.
You’ll need it, trust me.
Making a birthing playlist can be a fun and meaningful way for you and your husband to welcome your baby into the world. Curating certain songs which mean a lot to the both of you is the perfect way to make you feel at ease during labor and welcome your little one in a special way.
Your hospital or birthing center might have certain policies on bringing in food, but if it’s permissible, you should absolutely consider bringing snacks with you to munch on while you and your spouse are waiting for things to progress. Picking the right kind of snacks is also important. Don’t rely on Little Debbies or candy, even if you’re craving them. Stick to snacks that provide sustainable energy, like protein bars, trail mix, or fruit. Stick to beverages that have electrolytes, like coconut water or Gatorade, and snack away.
When you’re getting your important paperwork together, don’t forget your birth plan if you’ve made one (and make sure your support person, whether it’s your husband, mom, sister, or friend, has a copy as well). Your birth plan is specific and individualized to your needs, wants, and desires, and it’s important to consider what’s really important to you during labor and delivery, and what isn’t. A birth plan is especially crucial if you plan to refuse things like the vitamin K dose or eye wash which is usually administered after the baby’s birth.
Going Home Outfits
You can’t stay in the labor and delivery bubble forever, even if you might want to! After a few days, you’ll likely be more than ready to bring baby home. Make sure you have clothes for both yourself and your little one to go home in, and if they’re cute, then all the better.
Packing your bags a few weeks beforehand is just one thing you can knock off your to-do list and leave until it’s needed, meaning that you can focus on other more important things. Soak up your last few weeks of being baby-free, enjoy one-on-one time with your husband, and put your baby bag in an easy-to-find place where you can grab it when you eventually need it.
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