Towards the end of your pregnancy you may begin “nesting”. You will know this has begun when have a stronger than usual urge to clean and organize. Some believe that when nesting begins, labor is right around the corner!
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably imagining waking up in the middle of the night, shaking your partner awake with those infamous words, “it’s time” or “the baby is coming”. Then you imagine hopping in the car, running every red light, and pulling up to the hospital in the dramatic fashion that you always see on TV.
But wait—is that how it happens? Eh not really, many women will have ample amount of time to secure a sitter (that is already on call), grab a last minute snack, or even finish watching your husband’s game (Shout out to Falcon’s WAG Katie Lavitre), before heading to the hospital. But, packing your hospital bag is one way to satisfy your nesting urges and be prepared for that big moment.
- First things first, the bag: A good rule of thumb is, if it is too big for an overhead bin, it’s probably too much for the hospital. A nice carry on duffle is more than enough space to pack everything you and baby need for your labor and delivery experience. I used this as an opportunity to ask for my Noe Eole Louis Vuitton duffle from hubby as a “Push Gift”—it’s the perfect size.
- Car Seat: While this might not necessarily be in your hospital bag, many hospitals won’t let you leave without one—and well I’m sure safety is the biggest concern for your new addition. A few weeks before your due date, it is a good idea to already have your car seat packed in your vehicle. This way you don’t have to worry about accidently forgetting it in all of your excitement.
- Hygiene: you likely won’t be up and showering often during your hospital stay. Well, I wasn’t—don’t judge me. But that doesn’t mean you’ll want to neglect your self.
- Hair Ties—during active labor you may want to tie your hair back so it’s not a nuisance.
- Glasses and Contacts (with solution and case)— You want to be able to see comfortably though this process. Just throw them in the bag, you never know if you’ll need them.
- Deodorant—Things may heat up during the delivery process, be prepared.
- Soap—Eventually either you will want to rinse off, or a nurse my strongly suggest a shower. I suggest picking a fragrance that is strong and soothing. By the time you take a shower, the aromatherapy can be helpful.
- Hand sanitizer—You never know where guest’s hands have been.
- Toothbrush – I’d suggest purchasing a toothbrush specifically for your bag. So you know it’s there and you don’t have to remember to grab it when rushing to the hospital.
- Loofa –Because its simply better than a hospital towel
- Leave in conditioner – I mean, why not detangle your hair while laboring? It smells good too.
- Lotion—Dry itchy skin should be the least of your concerns.
- Chapstick and Cough Drops – I didn’t know this the first time around. But, some of the medication you may receive in the hospital may dehydrate you, especially if you have a c-section. These two items can help with dry mouth and throat.
- Blankets: The hospital will provide you with their standard blankets for baby. But if you prefer something thicker, or softer, for baby I suggest packing at least one burping blanket for spit up, a fleece baby blanket for warmth, and a swaddle blanket of your choice.
- Baby Clothes: A hospital onsie and hat are typically given standard to newborns, so you should not NEED clothing for baby. But it is nice to have a going home outfit, some socks, mittens, and an extra sleeper in your bag just in case.
- Moms Clothes (For the hospital): Like baby, mom doesn’t need much. The hospital should provide most of your needs but probably none of your Some women, like myself, prefer to take their own personal hospital gown. Etsy and amazon have tons of cute ones to choose from, just be sure to clear the request with your doctor, mine preferred that I have snap buttons down the back. Also, take comfy socks to keep your feet warm (unless you like the one size fits all hospital socks), a sleep mask to help yourself nap whenever you get the chance, and a hair band if you have bangs or short hair that may get in the way during labor.
- Mom’s Clothes (Going Home): You may not be inclined to wear the same clothes home that you arrived in but don’t get too excited, you may not be wearing your pre-pregnancy gear just yet. Be sure to pack yourself a comfortable nursing bra, pants, and shirt to go home in. If you’re having a c-section, over the belly pants and underwear can be your best friend. Newer c-section procedures allow for doctors to cut on the bikini line, allowing for an incognito scar but initially elastic bands on your biniki (from pants or undies) can be down right irritating.
- Something Special for siblings and/or Hubby: Older siblings can start to feel a little left out of this process. A sweet thing to do is have a “gift from baby” to give to your other littles. Your partner may also like a token of appreciation for his help, or memorabilia of the birth of y’alls new addition. This can be in the form of a card, a written letter, or even a small gift (if he got you the Push gift you asked for).
Honorable Mention (Things I didn’t pack but you may consider)
Aroma Therapy Scents
Printed Birth Plan
Music of your choice
Preferred brand of bottles or Paci
Birthing Ball and Pump
Baby memory book (for footprints)
Hair Brush and Comb
Extra Clothes for Hubby to Help you Shower
Welcoming a new baby is an exciting time; there is no right or wrong thing to pack. If you want it, or need it, this is your day and you should be as comfortable as possible. Don’t worry about the little things and focus on your little one.