Take a deep breath, packing for your hospital stay does not have to be intimidating. If you are feeling stressed, you are not the only one. On the one hand, you want to be completely prepared, but on the other, you don't want the hospital to think you are moving in.
When packing your hospital bag, it's essential to keep one question at the front of your mind: "What do I use in my everyday life?" This will ensure you are not distracted by non-essentials that will take up precious space in your little bag.
Two Copies of Your Birth Plan
We consistently reiterate to our clients the importance of their birth plan. Having everything neatly laid out for the hospital staff will ensure your birth experience will go as smoothly as possible. Bringing additional copies with you will ensure that information gets in to all the right hands.
Comfy Clothes for You & Baby
While this seems like a no-brainer when considering your comfy clothes remember to pack things you KNOW you will be comfortable in. Your trusty yoga pants, favorite college sweater, or your favorite pair of sandals. While the maternity gowns and matching robes are darling, if you don't already opt for them at home, you may be slightly uncomfortable while in the hospital.
A simple gown that is open at the bottom is the perfect option for baby while in the hospital. This will make diaper changes, and the doctor checks a breeze. Also, it will keep baby cozy when not swaddled or enjoying skin to skin.
A Going Home Outfit for You & Baby
While comfort is key, remember you will take approximately one million pictures of this day. This is where you can incorporate the more stylish outfit you have been envisioning. Keep in mind, in a lot of ways your body will still be the same body you walked into the labor and delivery with. Your favorite maternity outfit will be a great option.
The same principle applies to baby's going home outfit. Something adorable but easy on the ruffles, buttons, strings, and bows. Especially for first-time parents, getting out the door can be tricky, so try to make the process as streamlined as possible.
Once again, consider what you use in your everyday routine. Now is not the time to pack the face mask you have been meaning to try for six months. But don't skip on packing your favorite items. After giving birth, something as familiar as washing your hair with your favorite shampoo and drying off with a towel from home will feel like a little luxury.
We just had to say it. Sometimes in the excitement, you can forget to pack the essentials. Next time you are in Target pick up a new charger that can live in your hospital bag. When you are in labor, the last thing you want to have to remember is snagging the phone charger from the nightstand. It's also a great idea to include an extension cord so that you can have your phone in-hand while it's charging. The outlets aren't always in the most convenient space in a hospital or birth center room.
Many hospitals offer excellent care…but few, unfortunately, provide excellent catering. Your favorite granola bar or fruit that doesn't need to be refrigerated are great options. You can also coordinate with visitors to help restock your snack stash.
Essential Oils Diffuser
Believe it or not, the smell of antiseptic isn't that soothing. While you do have a team of professionals there to lend a hand, labor and the early hours of parenthood can be stressful. We recommend adding your favorite essential oils on cotton balls in a ziplock bag. This makes it easily accessible for aromatherapy but easily removable if your “labor nose” doesn’t like it as labor progresses.
If all else fails, family and friends are more than happy to help. You've got this! In addition to these tips, we provide all our clients with a comprehensive list that you can check off. For those of you that are having your second and third baby, we would love to hear what's in your hospital bag. Leave a comment and tell us your hospital bag must-have.