Packing for the Hospital

Packing for the hospital when you’re expecting is a task that resembles packing for a short vacation, but as an expectant mom dreading labor–particularly if this is your first baby–the chore probably feels far from fun.

No matter how excited you are to have your new baby, you’ll likely, and understandably, feel some trepidation about actually delivering the baby. But as the due date looms nearer, it’s wise to be prepared with a packed bag or suitcase, because throwing together even a bag of bare essentials will be last on your mind when you start having contractions. Pack in advance so you can feel a bit of relief when one more thing is checked off your “to-do-before-baby-arrives” list.

Stays at the hospital for delivering a baby are generally much shorter these days than they were years suitcaseago, so you shouldn’t need to pack too much. However, some items you cannot be without. Items you may want to bring include:

Slippers.  These are nice to have if you feel like walking while in labor, or for making trips to the bathroom before or after delivery. Also pack some warm socks.

A watch, for timing contractions.

Don’t forget a toothbrush and toothpaste; this goes a long way in helping you freshen up.

A hairbrush and hairband are good for helping you ward off the very disheveled woman-giving-birth look. You may not care at the time, but if you use the hair band early on to keep hair out of your way, you’ll be a little more comfortable and avoid difficult tangles later on.

A notepad and pen could come in handy for recording any information you don’t want to forget. Doctors and nurses will be covering many things, and it will be hard to remember it all unless someone writes it down.

Multiple copies of your birthing plan, if you made one. These can quickly be given to any doctor or nurse who needs it.

A robe and nightgown from home may make you feel more comfortable, but are not necessary. It’s up to you. Keep in mind that your own nice clothes may become soiled.

Music, in the form of a radio, CD player, or iPod, is a good idea if you think the music will be comforting or entertaining and a good distraction for you.

Other entertainment you may want includes favorite books and games.

Camera or camcorder for any memory recording that you want done.

Snacks for you and for your labor support person. Labor and delivery can take a while! Those who are supporting you may not want to leave your side for a moment, so having snacks on hand can be very helpful.

Remember, you’re packing for your entire stay at the hospital, so don’t forget the things you’ll likely need AFTER the baby is born:

Phone numbers of family and friends you want to notify right away with the good news.  Obviously, cell phone is handy.

A few changes of underwear, as well as a nursing bra.

Going-home outfits for both you and the new baby.

Any toiletries you want such as soap, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, makeup, and mirror.

Finally, a baby car seat is essential. It must be rear-facing and properly installed before you can bring your precious bundle of love home.

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