Planning for your labor can feel like total guesswork. Add a pandemic, and, well, you’re prepared for the unexpected, there’s that at least? You may or may not be able to have your support person/partner/spouse with you depending upon where you live, and, heck, what day of the week it is.
In reality, many women have absolutely no clue what to expect when giving birth,, even way back when-in January, This makes it seriously tricky to figure out what they need to do ahead of time!
Truth is, there is really no way to know what to expect when giving birth. Ask anyone who’s done it. You’ve taken the classes, even if you hadn’t, you’ll get through it:)
There’s a lot of information out there, but here’s one question that you can actually answer, and we’ll help- what do you really need to take to the hospital with you? Labor is hard enough, preparing for it should not be stressful.
What should you pack for labor and delivery?
Having essentials on hand during the labor itself will be a bigger help than you may imagine. The entire process may feel like something of a blur. However, if you have some comforting and useful items, it could well ease the strain and make the entire thing just a little less stressful.
- We suggest a cute gown or PJs to make you feel cute-it helps after delivery to have something to change into that makes you feel special.
- You may want to wear this during labor-and if so, think dark colors, there will be blood.
- If you’re a gown kind of girl then you’re good- there will be checking of the exit route during delivery
- Even if you’re not a nightie kind of gal, you’ll want a gown while you’re in the hospital. And a robe, because there may be wandering in the hall, and it may be chilly, then hot, then chilly, then hot during labor.
Here’s a complete rundown of what you need.Pack your bag, then sit back and relax.
The MUST bring list, for labor:
We suggest at least 3 copies -you’d be surprised how many people say that they forget this, even if you don’t stick to it(which is ok) it’s better to have it, and be able to hand it over to those who need it.
Might we suggest a darker color. As above, there will be blood. And amniotic fluid.
- Nursing gown and PJ or two gowns
And, see above- darker shades might be best.
- Slippers, flip flops or, heck, both.
- Lip balm (We’re not sure what it is about hospitals, but those places are dry!)
- 2 phone chargers-one battery and one plug in
The You’ll-Wish-You’d-Brought List for labor:
- Nursing cami
- Swimsuit top if you’re planning to be in water at all during delivery, unless you don’t care, because, well, yeah, they’re going to see a lot.
- Massage items-handheld, non electric. Foot massages during labor=yes!
- Hair bands
- Gum, lollipops, honey sticks and any other little quick fix
- A soothing eye pillow, lavender maybe?
- Water bottle
- Bluetooth speaker if you want music
- Toothbrush and toothpaste. This could take a while.
Then there’s after labor! Yes, you will get through it:) One of the major things that you need to consider after the birth itself is nursing. You will need to make sure that you have all you need when it comes to feeding your baby. That includes things like a top with easy nursing access and a proper comfy nursing bra. With that in mind, here’s a basic list of must-haves.
What should you pack for after the birth?
The MUST have Items for after labor:
- Going home outfit-yes, you get to go home too, and there will be pictures! Pack something not too fitted, with easy nursing access, and make it something that you feel good in! Do not bring your pre-pregnancy jeans. Do. Not.
- Nursing bras (Yes, more than one. Leaks can occur. Make sure that one is soft and comfy. Stay away from wires in the hospital at least.)
- Toiletries bag-Toothbrush and toothpaste, make-up, face wash, deodorant,lotion and whatever else makes you feel nice.
A few comfy tops that allow for nursing access, while giving you good coverage. It’s helpful in avoiding the moment when your in-laws are still sitting there staring at the baby and you and you’re feeding the baby. You’ll want these to be looser-you’ve had the baby, but you don’t get your pre-preg body back instantly. A looser top with a MOM cami layered under it makes an instant nursing top-lift top up, pull neck of cami down, feed.
- Nursing pads
- A Postpartum Compression Garment like the BFF(hospitals may give you one, the BFF is just a softer stronger option)
- Frighteningly large cotton or toss-able mesh panties to manage the frighteningly large pads that you will be using. Our suggestion here is this: every time a nurse walks into your room ask for more of those panty things, they do the job, you shouldn’t spend much money on something that you’re going to throw away. After all of this then get yourself some nice ones:)
We went back and forth on whether this was a MUST or not and consensus was, yes, must. The hospital will give you something but the BFF postpartum compression is the real deal to help shrink the uterus. Yeah. That.
The You’ll-Wish-You-Had Items for after labor:
- A Nursing Cami
- Battery powered razor
- Nipple cream
- Loose fitting bottom(Yes, everything that you’re read is true, expect to look 4 months pregnant when you leave the hospital)
- Nursing top
- A cardigan- unless it’s the dead of summer, and even then? There is air conditioning.
- Disposable underwear (If you forget these don’t panic. The hospital will provide you with these sexy things. As above, ask for extras. Don’t be shy. Just ask every nurse who walks in for more.)
- Snacks (Hospital food can go from really good to really not-and you might get hungry between feedings.
- A blow dryer Not that you are going to give yourself a blow out, but sitting there with soaking wet hair is no fun.
Of course, there may well be little extras that you think about as you’re packing. Be sure not to over pack and take too much, though. This is all about making sure that you have vital items. You’re not packing for vacation, but you’ll be bringing something fabulous home with you!
What should you pack for your newborn?
So, it’s not just you that will need things at the hospital! You need to make sure that your new arrival has everything that they need. From a coming home from the hospital outfit to things like diapers, onsies, snowsuit, hats and blankets. Again, being well prepared will make your new mom life just a little easier. Here’s a quick list.
First, the fun part
- Coming Home from the Hospital Outfit
Then the other things that you should bring.
- Diapers (and covers if using clothe)
- 2 Swaddle blankets
- Car seat (get this properly installed before delivery. Most places in the US have somewhere to have someone check your installation-a firehouse or of the like. Check online.)
- Snowsuit or other warmer covering depending upon the season.
- Scratch mittens
- Baby nail file
- Socks or booties
While the staff at the hospital will likely be able to provide you with some of the stuff that you need, you should take the time to pack your own. Being ready for your newborn means understanding what it is that they will need from you.
What should your birth partner pack?
You remember them? The person who may or may not be there these days, but, let’s think positive, they will be there, but not be in labor, but they too could get exhausted. (No, you win the exhausted competition, but, they do get tired sometimes.) They are there to support you and help you through the labor. And while there is no argument over who is doing the harder work, depending upon the person and the hours in labor, they can’t take care of you well unless they have all that they need. Have a quick chat with them and let them know that they should make a bag up and include the following things, or just pack it for them.
- Water spray bottle (that’s actually for you not them, but they’ll be in charge of it if you get over heated)
- A change of clothes, or two.
- Swimsuit if water laboring is a possibility
- Comfy shoes
- Phone and 2 chargers
- Snacks and drinks
It’s worth remembering that your birthing partner may have the luxury of being able to leave the hospital from time to time. So, if you think of anything that you should need at the very last moment, you can send them out to get it. What’s more, they should be able to pick up things like food, drinks, and any toiletries you’ve accidentally forgotten.
Once your little bundle of joy has been welcomed into the world, you’re going to need to make sure that you have some things to keep you entertained, clean, and happy. That means that you should cover all bases as much as possible.
It’s always a good idea to check with the hospital before you turn up with your bag. Different places allow you to bring different things when giving birth. Make sure you understand what the rules are at your local hospital before heading there.