Packing Advice For Your Hospital Stay
Our recommendation is to pack three small bags - a labor tool bag, diaper/baby bag, and another for your postpartum stay. Pack lightly and mark each clearly. When in labor, the labor tool bag is the only bag that you need to bring with you into the hospital Leave the other bags in the car until after your baby has been born.
You will want to purchase an inflatable exercise/balance ball for home use both during pregnancy and labor. Carry this (inflated) ball with you into the hospital. Purchasing a fabric cover with a handle will make it easier to carry everything you need for labor.
We have suggested the below items based on our client's feedback as well as what we know to ease labor and birth. You certainly don't need to pack every item listed below - pick and choose what suits you and your family.
Baby (Diaper) Bag
- Going-home outfit with blanket
- Newborn mitts (or use socks)
- Onesies or gowns
- Cloth diapers, wipes and balm (if using your own)
- Nursing pillow
- Car seat (must have before driving home)
- Nursing tanks or maternity bras (be sure they fit correctly!)
- PJ's or a nightgown
- Cotton "Granny" panties (while in hospital, wear the provided mesh ones)
- Perineal spray
- Nipple Butter (please don't use Lanolin, which can easily irritate!)
- Baby book
Labor Tool Bag
- Battery operated LED candles (get at least 3 pillars or a 12 pack of tea-lights)
- One string of Christmas lights (25 bulbs are enough, any color)
- Music (create multiple playlists; soothing, upbeat, chanting and nature sounds)
- Bluetooth speaker synced to your phone
- Phone with earbuds (to wear in car and during initial assessment at hospital) - IMPORTANT!
- Essential oils (lavender, lemon, peppermint, etc.)
- Massage oil (olive oil or a packaged labor massage type)
- Massage tools (Nukkles, tennis balls, etc.)
- Inflated birth ball with cover (for easy handling)
- Small black combs (to hold in your hands and stimulate pressure points that release endorphins)
- Hair bands, ponytail holders and/or a shower cap
- Chapstick (get a 3 pack and put one in labor bag and another for both you and your partner's pocket!)
- Essential toiletries (pack light; toothbrushes/paste, contacts/solution)
- Heating pad
- Microwavable rice sock (for home use and the car ride)
- Carbo Pro packets for energy (caffeine free!)
- Easily digestible snacks (fruit, applesauce, pudding, honey sticks, lolli-pops)
- Sundress (something old from your closet)
- Flip-flops (for both of you)
- Swim trunks (for partner)
- Camera, batteries, memory cards, and phone chargers
- Extra pillow (will get messy)
- Disposable styrofoam cooler or TWO large Ziploc baggies (for placenta, if saving or encapsulating)
- Cord/Tissue Blood Kit (if collecting)
Traveling to the Hospital
We suggest that you fold two old towels to sit on in the car for the ride to the hospital. Do this whether or not your bag of waters has ruptured. You don't have to sit in the front seat either - if it feels better to be on your hands and knees in the back seat then do it just this once! Consider placing baby's car seat in the trunk - you can always install it before leaving the hospital parking lot.
Bring a receptacle to collect any vomit. For pain relief or comfort, use an ice pack or a warm rice sock on your lower back.
Keep an apple juice box in the car so you can drink it on the way to the hospital. Make sure you also bring a bottle filled with chilled water for sipping during the car ride and during the fetal monitoring of the baby once you get to the hospital. Cold water and juice (sugar) gets your baby very active for heart monitoring and this allows for a good "strip", which is mandatory for 20-30 minutes! You can sit on the birth ball during this time or stand and lean over it while rocking your hips. It isn't necessary for you to lie flat on your back in bed except for when getting a vaginal exam but some midwives will perform one while you are on your hands and knees - just ask!