Packing For The Hospital Or Birth Center
Packing for the hospital can be a daunting task. It is best to get some things ready before your due date just in case you go into labor a little earlier. This is a guide about things that many new moms have found useful during their labor and deliveries.
Essentials (and a few non-essentials) for Mom
- Health insurance card
- Pre-registration forms from the hospital
- Nursing bra(s) – This supports swollen, tender breasts, and helps keep breast pads in place.
- Sports bra – Many women find these extremely useful during a water birth or when using the birth pool; they are also good for suppressing lactation if you are not planning on breastfeeding.
- Breast pads – You will need these whether or not you are breastfeeding because they stop leaks by absorbing milk.
- Nursing pillows – These can be used if you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding; either way they reduce the strain on your arms, neck, and back when feeding your baby.
- Nightgown and robe – Make sure they open in the front if you are planning on breastfeeding.
- Slippers – During early labor it is always recommended to walk around. These will also come in handy as you make trips to the nursery to check on your new baby.
- Socks – Many women complain of their feet being cold during the delivery, so have a couple of pairs in case one pair becomes soiled.
- Going-home outfit – Choose one that fit when you were around 6 months pregnant.
- Toiletries – To be more comfortable, take a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick, makeup, hairbrush, shampoo, soap, lotion, hairdryer, etc.
- Sanitary pads – The hospital can provide you with these, but many women feel more comfortable when they bring their favorite brand with them. Remember, you are going to need a pad designed for a heavier flow.
- Hair clip or band if you have long hair – Women with long hair like to have it pulled out of their faces during labor and delivery.
- Pillow from home – This makes you more comfortable; just make sure you have a different colored pillowcase on it to distinguish it from hospital pillows.
- Extra washcloths – These also need to be colored to distinguish them from the hospital’s washcloths.
- Magazines – You will not have a lot of downtimes, but there could be a few minutes here and there when you could read.
- Mints or breath strips – Many women experience nausea/vomiting during labor and delivery; these will help freshen your mouth or the mouths of your support people.
- Lollipops or other hard candies – These can alleviate dry mouth.
- Glasses and contact case
- Breastfeeding book – Take along any reference books that would be helpful.
- Baby book – The nursery often will take your baby book and put your baby’s footprints in it. This will save you a lot of time and trouble.
- Large envelope /file folder- This may be used to store any loose paperwork.
- Tube socks that have been filled with tennis balls or rice – These can help alleviate the sore aching muscles during labor. Just take a tube sock and place three tennis balls inside the sock. Tie or sew off the open end of the sock to keep the tennis balls in place. Many women like to place these between their backs and the bed because the pressure applied makes them feel better. You can also fill a sock with uncooked rice (but not instant). These can either be heated or placed in the freezer and provide comfort during painful contractions.
Essentials for Baby
- Infant car seat and infant head support – You will not be allowed to leave the hospital without one; make sure you bring the instructions.
- Going-home outfit
- Hat – Babies lose the vast majority of their body heat through their heads.
- Receiving blankets – Newborns love to be swaddled, and these blankets are perfect for swaddling.
- Newborn diapers – If they do not have the umbilical cord area cut out, make sure you fold them down.
- Wipes – Begin with the wipes that are designed for newborns or sensitive skin.
- Mittens – Many newborns will have longer nails, so they can easily scratch their face and other parts of their bodies.
Essentials for Partner
- Change of clothes
- Bathing suit – This is important if you and your partner are planning on a water birth or using the birthing pool during labor.
- Snacks – Labor can be a long process, so you want to be prepared.
- A cooler filled with drinks and sandwiches – This keeps the partner close by and can help avoid multiple trips to the hospital cafeteria.
- Quarters for the vending machine and/or payphone- Remember not all hospitals allow cell phone use.
- Watch with second hand
- Video/still camera – Make sure you have extra tapes, film, batteries, chargers, etc.
- Address book – This will help you contact friends and family about your new arrival.
- Massage oils – Many labor classes discuss the use of massage oils during class because they can help alleviate back labor.
- iPod/CD player – Soothing music may help you and your partner relax both during and after labor.
- Take out menus
Essentials for Siblings
- Crayons, markers, paper, coloring books
- Special camera
- A gift from big brother/sister to the baby – This can be something that was picked out prior to delivery by the older sibling.
- A gift from Mom and baby to the big brother/sister– Many times older siblings tend to get jealous around the birth of the baby. A special gift can help alleviate this problem and allow the big brother/sister to know that they are still important.