Nearing your delivery date, expecting mothers probably feel a mix of emotions. Excitement. Anxiousness. Happiness … all perfectly normal, considering that your bundle of joy will soon be here. But, in all the midst of the excitement, don’t forget to pack your hospital bag!
You’ll be staying overnight after giving birth, so be sure to have all the essentials for you and your little one covered. Here’s a checklist just in case.
- A picture ID, insurance card and any necessary paperwork.
- Your birth preference sheet, if you have one! It’s helpful to have it ready to review with your labor team. Here’s a great helpful worksheet.
- Eyeglasses, if you wear them. If you normally wear contact lenses, bring your glasses just in case. It might be too much of a hassle to be dealing with contact lenses in the hustle of bustle of delivery.
- Toiletries & natural beauty products— We know you’ll still want to look beautiful, even post-labor while you’re in the hospital. So don’t forget the basics! Toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, shampoo, deodorant. And, remember, you’ll still want to be using natural products while you’re breastfeeding.
- Pillows of all kinds. Yes, the hospital will have them but hospitals aren’t hotels. Bring a pillow from home. It will be undoubtedly cushier and also smell a bit like home,. And, if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll probably want a breastfeeding pillow; we prefer the kinds that have not been treated with flame-retardant chemicals.
- Flip Flops. Or comfortable shoes in general. Pack a pair of house slippers if that’s what you prefer.
- Camera. A cellphone will suffice. Just remember, there’ll definitely be at least one moment you will want to capture on film!
- Chargers: You probably have at least a camera and a phone in your bag – no to mention a tablet – so don’t forget your chargers.
- Playlist + travel: Many women find music soothing during labor so consider finding time to put your labor playlist together to play on your phone or tablet.
- Pajamas/Robes. Hospital gowns will be provided but, for extra comfort, bring along a set of pajamas and a snuggly robe. Breastfeeding? You might want to debut your breastfeeding pillow for you and your baby to enjoy while you’re at the hospital. Boppy has a number of great choices – each of them made without the addition of flame retardant chemicals.
- Organic Sweets. Your mouth will tend to get dry and you’ll be hungry during labor, so keep some small, sweet snacks for you to munch on – we love candy from YummyEarth. Sour candy also helps alleviate nausea.
- Witch Hazel Pads. If you have an episiotomy or vaginal tearing from giving birth, the wound might hurt for the next few weeks. During this time be sure to take care of the wound to prevent infection. Place a chilled witch hazel pad between the wound and a sanitary napkin to help with pain relief and recovery.
- Underwear Briefs. Leave your thongs at home. They’ll be very uncomfortable after giving birth—leave them at home. For the hospital, pack a couple of pair of cotton underwear briefs that you won’t mind throwing away later.
- Organic Overnight Maxi Pads. After a vaginal delivery, you will vaginal discharge (lochia) over the next few weeks. The bleeding will be the heaviest for several days right after giving birth,. The hospital will provide pads but we suggest bring your own organic cotton ones – we like these chlorine-free maxi pads from Seventh Generation.
- Change of clothes. You’re going to have to wear something when you leave the hospital. Sure, you can wear your PJ’s if you’d like, but if not pack something comfortable to wear for the trip back home. Realistically, you’ll probably wear maternity clothes for the first month or two after your baby is born. Think Kate Middleton and her post-baby bump.
For your baby:
- Baby swaddle blankets. What’s better than a soft, warm swaddle blanket so your little one can brave the new world?
- Diapers. Some hospitals will provide them, but you probably prefer to use a more natural, non-toxic option like Seventh Generation’s newborn diapers.
- Newborn hat. It’s nice to have a cute, snug cap to keep your baby’s head warm. It’s also a nice way to distinguish your baby in the nursery.
- Baby clothes. Keep it simple and dress your baby in an onesie or a gown. We like kimono tops with snaps that don’t hug too tightly to the baby’s belly button.
- A car seat. For the trip back home. Be sure to learn how to properly install and the car seat before the baby is in it! And don’t forget to get the stroller ready for action – practice folding and unfolding it! For more information, checkout the Carseat Lady!