What to pack when you’re having a baby
Around the time you’re 36 weeks pregnant, it’s a good idea to gather everything you think you’ll need while you’re at the hospital. Once your bag is packed, it’ll be set to go when baby is ready to make her debut. We suggest keeping your ‘go-bag’ right by your keys or in your front door entrance, so you don’t have to search for it when you go into labor.
We’ve put together a list of things suggested by experienced moms.
Do you have a birth plan? If so, bring it, along with a photo ID, your health insurance information, prenatal medical records, and hospital registration forms. Even if you’ve pre-registered at the hospital, you wouldn’t want some paperwork glitch to cause confusion and delay your admission.
Cord Blood Kit
If you’re planning to save and store your baby’s umbilical cord blood, tell your doctor and nurse ahead of time, then bring the kit to the hospital for them to collect the cord blood after you deliver. If you are keeping your bag in your car, be sure that you do not leave the cord blood kit in the vehicle during extreme weather, as this could damage the kit.
A portable DVD player, laptop or iPad with a couple of movies can help pass the time during the pains and waiting of labor. Bring an iPod (make a birthday playlist!) and some magazines or a book, too. Don’t forget the cameras – for still photos or video – and the batteries and chargers that go with them. Same goes for your cell phones. If you’ll be in the hospital for at least a couple of days, you don’t want your phones to drain.
You can make a hot pack at home out of a sock filled with rice or beans, which can bring great relief during active labor. Your partner or nurse can use the hospital’s microwave to warm it up for you. Other things that can help you relax are a back massager, squeeze ball, and massage oil or lotion.
Have we mentioned the wait can be long? Brings some snacks for your partner so he doesn’t have to leave in search of something to eat. Some candy for you – lollipops are good – can relieve dry mouth.
Clips, elastics and barrettes—and a brush and comb—will help keep your hair out of your face during labor.
Phone and Email List
Write up a list of people you want to call, text or email after baby is born. Whether it’s you or your partner who shares the news of baby’s arrival, you know you won’t forget someone important.
If you want to be sure to record your first moments as a mom, bring a journal or baby book. You can even ask the nurses to stamp your baby’s footprints in it when they’re preparing the birth certificate.
You’ll be much more comfortable in your own pajamas or nightgown, for sleeping or when visitors come. A bathrobe will be handy for when you want to take walks. The hospital will give you mesh disposable underwear after you deliver the baby, but pack several pairs of Depends or your own maternity underwear if you’d rather. Slippers will keep your feet warm and clean.
Pack all of the personal items you’d want with you on a trip away: deodorant, body wash, shampoo, face wash, lip balm, toothbrush and toothpaste. The nurses will provide sanitary pads, but bring extras in a brand you prefer if you want. Bring flip flops for the shower.
Nursing Supplies or Formula
Whether or not you decide to breast feed, bring breast pads to absorb leaks. Nursing moms should also pack lanolin cream, cooling gel pads, nursing tank tops and bras. If you’re giving your newborn formula, bring bottles and your chosen brand. Some hospitals provide formula, but if it’s not the same kind you’re using, you might just want to start from day one with your own.
A nursing pillow will be handy to all moms, dads and visitors holding or feeding the baby.
For baby, pack a kimono-style shirt, with footed pants so you don’t have to bring socks. Bring a receiving blanket and hat, even light ones in warm weather.
For you, a loose-fitting outfit will best suit your still-round belly and make your trip home as comfortable as possible.
If you usually travel with your own pillow, don’t forget it! Remember one for your partner, too, and a blanket, if he’s planning to sleep at the hospital with you.
The hospital will send you off into parenthood with diapers, blankets and creams. You’ll also likely have gifts from well-wishers, so it’s not a bad idea to bring an extra bag that will make it easier to carry all that stuff.
Make sure you have the infant car seat installed properly and ready to go. The nurse will help you make sure the baby is securely buckled in.
There’s a lot of advice about getting ready to have a baby. Don’t let competing checklists confuse or pressure you. Remember to do what feels right for you!