Be Empowered Birth Series
Preparing your hospital bag can feel overwhelming; from determining not only your birth and postpartum needs, but your birth partners’ and other children’s, there’s a lot to remember. When I searched Pinterest for “hospital bag packing list” as a first time mom, I was instantly overwhelmed. So, we are creating a blog on the top things to bring and upgrade your hospital birth. In fact, you probably won’t find these on many other lists, but we did our research and found what we couldn’t let you go into labor without them!
Top 10 things to bring to upgrade your hospital birth:
Your laptop. This may sound odd, but if you have a few hours on waiting for baby, you could at least enjoy watching something you really would rather be watching than, say, Paul Blart: Mall Cop just because it’s what’s on the hospital TV. This goes doubly for inductions, which can take days. Get the hospital wifi details upon check-in.
Snacks. Even if your provider allows you to eat during labor, hospital policy sometimes still prevents you from ordering food to your room. Prepare a cooler with reusable bags for ice. Some hospitals may have mini fridges in L&D rooms; ask about this on your tour so you can plan accordingly. Snack Recommendations: bottled smoothies, protein bars and shakes, fresh fruit, nut butters, applesauce squeeze packs, and other healthy things that may not be readily available in the vending machine at 2 am.
Something to wear. Yes, hospital gowns are awesome because someone else washes your birth fluids. But having your own clothes can actually bring you comfort. Also, if you plan on having guests you may not want to have to maneuver the back of the gown to cover your booty. Top pick: Dwell & Slumber Gown
Nipple cream. The hospital will most likely give you lanolin, which is a protective barrier, but doesn’t actually contain any beneficial ingredients to nourish your nipple. Top pick: Motherlove Nipple Cream
A better peri bottle. It’s very hard to make physics work in your favor using one of the ketchup bottle-shaped ones. It can take weeks to fully heal from birth, so you’ll get lots of use out of this item and appreciate it deeply every time you reach for it. Top pick: MomWasher by Fridababy
Big, comfy underwear. You can definitely use the disposable, hospital-furnished mesh undies during your stay; they are super convenient and free. Another option can be Depends, but not everyone wants to wear a diaper. But when you get dressed to go home and during your postpartum time, so many moms love to have some inexpensive, oversized, mid-rise undies on hand to fit pads, ice packs, or other comfort items for new mama care. Top pick: This 5-pack from Amazon, in black to hide the mess
A roll of your own toilet paper. It seems ridiculous, but drying a postpartum bottom with super soft squares feels VERY different than using the hospital stuff. Top pick: Charmin Ultra Soft
A well-stocked partner and older sibling birth bag. Since birth can be unpredictable, make sure your partner and any older siblings who will be at the hospital for any length of time have the things they need to comfortably wait for baby. Key items: phone charger, snacks, your kiddo’s favorite small toy like a bag of legos or a coloring book, water bottle, outfits for the first family photo.
Pretty things for pictures. It’s cute to get at least one photo in the classic hospital hat and blanket, but don’t forget to think through the details and pack ahead of time if you want your kids to coordinate or if you want your newborn to wear something special for an announcement photo. Outfit recommendation: a sweet swaddle and onesie, plus a simple bow or hat. But have fun with your style!
A doula! This is definitely the most important thing you can opt to bring with you to a hospital birth. Doulas are trained to make labor more comfortable, to anticipate your needs and care for you, to help position you optimally for a smooth delivery, to empower you, and to serve you throughout the entire birth process. We know tricks to get a stalled labor moving, to relieve specific kinds of labor pain, to help you stay focused and encouraged, and to generally make your birth awesome. Having a doula is associated with shorter labors, better maternal satisfaction with birth, and lower cesarean rates in studies of childbirth. Basically, this is a must-have! Our pick: Little Lilacs Birth Services
Ultimately, think about what YOU want, how you envision your birth, what annoys you when you don’t have it, etc., and write it all down. Make sure you get the obvious stuff like your glasses and the car seat. Then, add a few splurges that will make you really feel amazing and cared for; you deserve it, because you are birthing a baby!