As pregnancy winds closer to an end in expectation for birth, one of the to-do list items to check off my list is packing the hospital bag. Whether you are packing your bag months in advance in anticipation, or if you are a procrastinator packing at the last minute, below is what I consider my hospital essentials when having a baby.
- Slippers for doing laps around the birth center to get dilated
- Warm, fuzzy socks to keep my feet warm
- Reusable feminine pads to manage bleeding (for vaginal childbirth). Reusable pads are better both for mom (no harmful chemicals like dioxin) and the environment. I use Lunapads which you can find at http://www.lunapads.com
- Reusable nursing pads. These are important for both breastfeeding and bottle feeding moms as your milk will come in regardless. I like the brand Skoon which can be found at http://www.sckoon.com/organiccottonbabyclothing-collections-breastfeeding-pads.html
- Massage items so your spouse or coach can rub your back during labor (I prefer LUSH massage bars to lotions or creams-less messy). You can find them at http://www.lushusa.com/Massage-Bars/massage-bars,en_US,sc.html
- Nipple cream for breastfeeding mothers. This is essential. When nursing my daughter, I somehow missed the memo about nipple cream and they were so sore it made nursing almost unbearable. A few days later my friend asked me if I had been using any cream and mercifully filled me in on it. What a difference it made! I may have given up on breastfeeding without it. An alternative that I’ve heard works well is using breast milk. After your child has finished nursing, rub a small amount of breast milk on the nipple and let it air dry. The nipple cream I like is Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter, a 100% natural product. This can be found at http://www.abesmarket.com/store/earthmama/products/?gclid=CMe-jcrN8LUCFetAMgodo1QADg
- Headphones and MP3/iPod for music to help relax or distract you through contractions
- Camera for taking pictures/video
- Lip balm for hydrating lips that get dry from all of that deep breathing
- Book or magazines
- Cloth diapers-I am packing some Bum Genius 4.0 one size diapers. These may not work for babies that weigh less than 8 lbs, so just in case I am also packing some Kissa’s newborn prefolds and Thirsties extra-small diaper covers. My favorite website for cloth diaper essentials is http://www.kellyscloset.com/ or even craigslist/on-line yard sales for gently used ones for very cheap
- Baby lotion-I use California Baby natural lotion which can be found online or at Target http://www.californiababy.com/super-sensitive-shampoo-bodywash-8-5-oz.html
- Clothes-onesies, bodysuits or pajamas, and an outfit for newborn pictures
- Small amount of olive oil (I use cold pressed extra virgin olive oil)-put this on baby when changing their diaper. This will help the ever-so-sticky meconium clean off like a dream.
- Receiving blankets or swaddlers
Some women like to bring pajamas or robes from home that are more comfortable than hospital gowns. If you do this make sure you are okay with them getting stained by the plethora of fluid that accompanies childbirth. My list may seem very modest. I remember with my first child I completely over-packed as I was not sure what I would need. You may have additional items that are essential for your comfort. Pack whatever you feel you need. I recommend keeping it simple so that packing to go home will be a simpler process.
Thanks for reading. Please leave me your hospital bag essentials in the comments below.
My YouTube video on these items: