What to bring to the hospital can be one of the biggest questions in the last few weeks of pregnancy! Use this list of helpful items put together by a mom of six to pack your hospital bag for labor and your post-delivery stay!
Tomorrow is the big day. The day we welcome our sixth child into our arms. I.e., the day I push our sixth child out of my body. The excitement of seeing our baby is tempered a little with the remembrance of what it will take to get her here.
Don’t get me wrong. I am more than ready. I’ve done this whole labor thing a handful of times before, and as much as you’re able to, I know generally what to expect. If all goes as planned, this will be my fifth natural birth.
I will not get into the motivations for deciding between trying for a natural birth or gladly accepting the help of pain medication. Suffice it to say, I have found it to be beautiful, hard work with the best results. And I don’t hate being able to walk to my room afterwards.
So, tomorrow morning we will arrive at the hospital nice and early (not so nice, but definitely so early), and begin the process of inducing labor. (Why induction? Short answer, after our history of stillbirth, it’s what my doctor wants and I’m fine with that). Our bags are packed, our kids are excited about their grandmother coming to stay with them.
Packing a hospital bag for the birth of your baby is part of the fun of anticipating your little one’s arrival. You want to make sure you have everything you’ll need, without feeling silly for rolling in a suitcase worth of belongings. You have to plan for what you will need before the birth, after the baby is born, what you will need, what your husband will need, and what your baby will need. It’s a lot to consider even while trying to stay on the minimalistic side.
So what do you bring? These are the things that I have found to be most helpful and effective to have during the process of labor and the short hospital stay afterwards…
How to Pack Your Hospital Bag for a Natural Birth
I’m referring to this list in terms of trying for a natural birth, but really, the list would be quite similar no matter what kind of birth you have. And just to be clear, no type of birth is better than another. The addition of the items that have helped me to labor without pain medications are what I hope will help other mothers who have a natural birth in mind.
During Labor ::
I have two bags packed. One for during labor, and one for after our baby is born. The first will go in with us when we arrive, and then the second my husband will retrieve once we are settled in our maternity room.
Many items that will help me labor naturally are provided by the hospital– birthing ball, ice chips, juice, etc. In the past we have had water births and our list included a birthing tub and all its periphenalia too. These items, however, are the simple things that give me positive things to focus on, help my body and mind to relax, and generally help to create a comfortable atmosphere in our L&D room.
- essentail oils :: lavender, clary sage, geranium, serenity, balance, magnesium spray, peppermint, & almond oil
- diffuser, spray bottles, and roller balls for oils
- bluetooth speaker
- family pictures :: motivation & a place to rest my eyes other than the pain chart!
- kids’ drawings :: I love asking our kids to draw pictures for their new siblings!
- sustaining snacks :: nuts, crackers, dried fruit, and of course, dark chocolate
- travel coffee cups :: more for my husband during labor, but I will want mine later too
Of course, all of these items will go with us into our maternity room and be useful there too!
In Our Maternity Room ::
Once the baby is born, considering what to pack is less about getting through labor and more about aiming for the highest level of comfort possible (bearing in mind what just happened to your body and that you are still in a hospital room).
It’s at this point that you want to consider mom’s comfort, dad’s comfort, and baby’s comfort. No one’s comfort is mutually exclusive! These are our must-have items for after the baby is born…
For Mom ::
- warm socks
- nursing sports bra
- comfortable robe
- comfy (nursing friendly) tank top & shorts
- make-up & hairbrush/clips
- favorite toiletries from home
- Ibprofen (less expensive to bring from home)
- nipple cream (I use Honest Healing Balm— great for baby and mom!)
- magazine/puzzle book & kindle*
- going home clothes
For Dad ::
- pillow and blanket
- sleep aid (just in case)
- warm hat
- travel coffee mug :: keep that delicious hospital coffee hot!
- magazine/puzzle book & kindle*
- boppy pillow (my husband’s preferred way to hold a newborn for an extended period of time)
- extra clothes
*Kindles are one of my FAVORITE things to recommend for those early newborn days and weeks. Both mom and dad can benefit from being able to read during the watches of the night without having to turn on a light and risk waking baby. We love our kindle paperwhites because there are no distractions from the internet and the screen brightness is completely adjustable.
For Baby ::
- pacifiers (bring your own if you plan to use them– we like starting with these soothie pacifiers)
- receiving blankets (the hospital will provide blankets, but I like to bring a couple pretty ones to use)
- baby blanket (again, I just like having a soft and special blanket with us)
- pajamas & going home outfit (our going home outfit is usually just pajamas)
- warm hat (our hospital provides a hat that looks like the top of a package of Jiffy Pop popcorn. We like to switch to our own as soon as possible!)
- Foaming hand sanitizer (I found this recently and think it’ll come in handy for my kids visiting)
- Take-out food (if you are a food snob– only slightly tongue in cheek– like me, having food brought in from nearby restaurants is a HUGE source of comfort. You are depleted after labor and the first couple of nights. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to eat well!)
What are your must-have items when packing your hospital bag?