Hospital Bag Essentials

You are not moving in so why so much luggage? Here is a list of the things you really need for your short stay, regardless of type of birth; vaginal birth, natural birth, scheduled cesarean, unplanned cesarean, vaginal birth after c-section, or scheduled induction.     

During Labor:

Birth Plan - One page birth plan with a few extra copies for shift change. Next blog will talk about the birth plan but remember no nurse has time for a novel so stick to one page.

Bandeau Top or Bikini Top -  Laboring in the tub is amazing for pain relief and if you want to be covered these tops are great. This is not necessary but I recommend something easy to remove or lift for skin to skin and nursing. 

Robe - It's great to walk the halls in your own robe. You may be cold then hot so a robe is great to put on and remove as your body temp changes. 

Socks - I don't recommend walking the hospital floors barefoot so at least one or two thick pairs of socks. If you have a pair of easy slippers those are great too or flip flops for Arizona summer due dates

Lip Balm - Hospitals are very dry and I personally recommend "Luscious Lips" peppermint for possible nausea and exhaustion 

Ponytail/Headband - No need to explain, hair in the face is annoying

Swim shorts for dad - It's great to have your partner join you in the tub or shower during contractions for extra support and love

Snacks, mints, suckers - If your doctor allows it, eating during labor is great to keep your energy levels up. If they will not, then mints or suckers are great to change the flavor in your mouth.

Refillable water bottle for dad - Moms get the amazing water bottles (most of the greater Phoenix hospitals provide them) but nothing for dad but a small cup. It is very important for everyone to stay hydrated.  

iPod and Speaker - Music is great while laboring. I usually recommend a yoga Pandora station or you can make your own playlist. Remember to keep it calm and peaceful.   

Post Delivery

Comfy change of clothes for mama - Sorry but you will not lose all the weight you gained once the baby comes out so plan on bringing your favorite comfy maternity outfits. Make sure the tops have easy boob access. 

Nursing Bra/Top - I prefer the tops with the bra built in but if you are busty you may want the bra separate 

PJs/Nightgown - Comfy PJ's are awesome post delivery, don't bring the fancy ones, remember lots of fluids 

Large undies - The hospital will provide the oh so beautiful mesh undies that are large enough for the large pads but you may want your own when you go home but make sure they are the full butt for the pads to fit securely in, no thongs for awhile.

Change of clothes for dad - Comfy clothes and pj's for you too. You will be sleeping on a small couch or recliner so be as comfy as you can. You may also want your own slippers or socks.     

Two comfy outfits for baby - No matter what ridiculously cute outfit your MIL bought, make sure the babe gets something soft and comfy to wear. Remember they prefer to be naked so no ruffles or jerseys  

Toiletries - Depending on how long you are there you may not get a shower so deodorant is important. Eyeglasses, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, shampoo/conditioner. Travel size is key and I promise, you do NOT need your hair dryer. 

Car Seat - In the car NOT in the room - When it is time for discharge someone can run down to the car and grab the carrier so the nurse allows you out but you do not have to lug it around with you

Money - Dad, you are not the patient so they don't give you anything. However, mom, you can order as much food as you want postpartum.  

Pillow - You may want your own pillow postpartum. The hospital will provide some but sometimes it's nice to have something from home to snuggle up with once you and baby are getting cozy. I don't recommend using it during the delivery process, again, lots of fluids.

Phone Charger - I'm sure you won't forget your phone but you really don't want to forget your charger. Once your little one is here everyone will be blowing up your phone and Facebook alerts will drain your battery.

A few pointers 

  1. As a doula, I always recommend my clients rest when they get the chance. Less people in the room the better. Your doula and partner should rest when you rest. Instead of games or magazines you need to save your energy for pushing time.
  2. Depending on where you live you may want to bring extra blankets for the babe when leaving the hospital if it is very cold. 
  3. You should pre-register at your hospital so you don't need to bring your ID and Insurance info
  4. The hospital will have the necessary essentials for the baby so unless you have a specific brand you want I highly recommend using theirs since you're paying for it. 
  5. A high quality nipple cream, like Gnarly Nips, that doesn't have Lanolin and you don't have to wash off before nursing.  
  6. The hospital will have pads and dermaplast for mom but I do recommend a natural option for your V to heal and sooth, like V-Spray
  7. Ask for the WiFi password when you settle in so you don't waste all your data
  8. No need for the boppy, the hospital has plenty of pillows plus you don't want to expose your new stuff to the hospital germs. 

The goal is to keep everything to one bag and preferably a bag that is on rollers so it is easier for you and your partner. Remember to keep things simple; birth plan to one page, hospital bag to one bag.