Months before Finn was born, I had my labor plan written and my hospital bag packed. I was taking birthing classes and listening to hypnobirthing CDs. I bought anything that anyone suggested and ignored anyone who started a sentence with the words, “you really don’t need a…”
With Bennett I was a little more relaxed and now, pregnant with baby #3, I sometimes I forget that I have to prepare anything at all.
The other night I was having some pretty strong Braxton Hicks contractions and it occurred to me that I haven’t even thought about my hospital bag. I have no idea what the plan is to get me to the hospital if Robbie is at work when I go in to labor. I don’t even know the address of the labor and delivery hospital.
So I sat down and wrote down everything I need for Labor Day. I’m sharing my list with you because I’ve learned a few things about what happens inside the L&D room. My first labor lasted 36 hours. THIRTY SIX HOURS. And my second lasted about six. What remained consistent for both labors was what I needed in my hospital bag.
HOSPITAL BAG ESSENTIALS
- Car seat (installed ahead of time, obvs) We have this one.
- Driver’s license/ ID, insurance card
- Cell phone + charger
- Birth plan (a good example can be found here)
- List of people to call and email
- Change for vending machines
- Camera or video camera with batteries, charger, clean memory card
- Toiletries toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, a hairbrush, hair bands, soap, shampoo, and lotion. Aesop sells a cute travel size toiletries kit.
- Nightgown/ robe/ comfortable clothes (plus change of clothes for your partner)
- Nursing bras and tanks (I’m not a huge fan of A Pea In The Pod but I’ve never found a more comfy nursing/ sleep bra than this puppy)
- Comfy underwear
- Breast pads, nipple cream (my favorite is Honest but I love Earth Mama Angel Baby too)
- Coconut water/ electrolyte drinks (during labor with Finn I was dehydrated because I was so distracted with getting through 36 hours of pain that I forgot to drink – it was bad)
- Going-home outfit (Bring something roomy and easy to get into – you’re going to look 5 or 6 months pregnant for a while)
GOOD TO HAVE
- Breast pump (my Madela Freestyle is my homie – it is reliable and portable. You need your pump to be both those things)
- Mints (lots of breathing, not so much brushing)
- Make-up (two words – Labor Face. To be honest, after 36 hours of labor I wasn’t thinking about how photogenic I was looking. I looked like a puffer fish with acne. This time I’ll spend a few seconds in early labor putting some makeup on. But do what you like – it’s your face.)
- Slippers (you’ll be getting out of bed for quick trips to the bathroom)
- Flip-flops for the shower
- Nursing pillow. I use the Boppy.
- Your own bath towel
- Your own maxi-pad maternity underwear (the hospital will supply some but it’s nice to have your own back up stash. These come with the underwear part)
- Snacks/ lollipops/ candy
- Swaddle/ blanket (the hospital will probably supply cotton swaddles and snap-front tops but it’s nice to have your own. My faves are Aden+Anais Bamboo swaddles and Living Textiles Cotton Muslin blankets)
- Baby outfits (again, the hospital will probably supply snap front tops but you may like your own – these are great for the first few weeks)
- Your own pillow (with a colored pillowcase so you remember to take it home)
- Laptop/ magazines/ books (you probably won’t use these either. If you’re not staring at your new baby you’ll probably want to be catching some sleep)
- Pacifier – if you intend on using one
- Snot sucker. If baby is super congested the nurses will probably take care of it for you but I find the bulb style nose aspirators they use to work zero times for me. I found this one and I’ve never looked back.
OPTIONAL LABOR AIDS + POSTPARTUM PRODUCTS
- Essential oils
- Music/ relaxation recordings + earphones
- Fit ball
- Kneeling pad
- Heating pad for back pain
- Massage aid
- DVDs for a room with a DVD player
- Pain relief spray (Earth Mama Angel Baby makes this natural one using witch hazel)
- Cooling pads for pain relief
- Sitz bath components (the hospital should supply everything you need, but if you don’t want to use their medicated sprays and washes, you can use these)
When I was pregnant with Finn I packed a lot of labor aids and didn’t end up using them to the hospital. After laboring at home for an entire day, I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to be using relaxation aids. I was the furthest I’ve ever been from relaxed, but there was no amount of lemon essential oils and Cafe Del Mar tunes could have talked me down from that ledge. Drugs were the only thing that was going to save me and I knew that. It was nice to have them ready in case, and you never know what’s going to get you through. Choose what you think will work for you.
If you packed something that’s not on my hospital bag list I’d love to hear it! What have I missed??