by Patricia Hughes
During the last month of pregnancy, you will want to pack for the hospital. Labor is not the time to start packing. Trying to remember to bring what you need while you are timing contractions isn’t easy. You will be more relaxed and will remember to bring what you need if you plan ahead. Think about what you will need during labor and for your stay in the hospital when packing your bag.
Packing for Mommy
Consider what you will need while you are in the hospital. Do you want to wear a hospital gown or do you prefer your own pajamas? Pack two or three different pajamas if you plan to wear your own. Pack a few nursing bras and bring your own underwear. The ones the hospital gives you may not be comfortable. You will be taking a shower in the hospital, so bring along anything you will want for the shower.
A Checklist for Mom
- Change of clothes to wear home from the hospital. You won’t be in your pre pregnancy clothes just yet. Choose something roomy and comfortable for the trip home.
- Underwear and bras
- Pajamas, if you want to wear your own
- Shampoo, conditioner, gel, brush, deodorant, toothbrush and paste
- Make up
- Scrunchies, barrettes or clips for your hair
- Magazines, a book or a blank journal to record your thoughts
- A pen for filling out any necessary paperwork or to write in your journal
- Breast pads
- Socks to keep your feet warm and slippers
- A robe
Packing for Baby
You will need to pack an outfit for the [tag-tec]baby[/tag-tec] to wear home from the hospital. Choose an outfit that is comfortable and suitable for the season. A onesie under the outfit will keep your baby warm. Be sure to include a cap for the baby’s head and socks for his feet. Bring a blanket for the trip home. Choose a light cotton blanket for the warm weather and a warmer blanket for the cold weather. If your baby is born in winter, you may need a baby bunting or snow suit.
You will need a car seat to bring your baby home. Most hospitals will check to be sure you have an appropriate seat for your baby when you are released from the [tag-ice]hospital[/tag-ice]. You won’t be able to take the baby home without a seat. Install the car seat when you pack your bag. The seat will be ready when your baby arrives. Studies have shown that most parents install the seats incorrectly. Your local police department may offer free safety seat checks to be sure it is installed properly. Call in advance to find out if an appointment is needed and when the service is offered.
What to Bring for Labor
You will want to bring along some items to help with labor. You may want to pack a separate bag with [tag-self]labor[/tag-self] supplies, or include these items in your regular bag. Consider what you find soothing and comforting. This bag is very important if you plan to give birth without pain medication.
A Checklist for Labor
- CD Player
- Music or relaxation CDs
- Massage oil
- Lip gloss
- Hair ties or clips
- Socks for your feet
- Massage balls or a few tennis balls in a sock for back massages
- Aromatherapy oils or lotions
- Your own pillow
- Birth ball or any other equipment you want to use
Packing a Bag for the Coach
Your husband, partner or coach will need to pack a bag for the hospital. If this is the first baby, he may not realize how long he may be staying at the hospital. In some cases, it can take a day or even longer for the baby to arrive. Consider what will be needed both during and after the labor. Pack a change of clothes and a bathing suit. If mom wants to get in the water, she may want you there. Bring along a snack for the coach. You may get hungry and be unable to leave the room to get food.
Once the baby is born, you will need to start notifying family and close friends that the baby has arrived. Make sure you have your cell phone, change for the pay phone or a calling card to make your calls. You will want to pack the camera and video camera to record the baby’s first moments.
A Checklist for the Coach’s Bag:
- Change of clothes
- Something to drink
- Camera and film or memory card
- Video camera with batteries charged and any necessary cartridges or tapes
- Change for vending machines or phones
- Deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste and any other toiletries
- A copy of the birth plan
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.