It's birth bag packing time.
Whoever said packing for your baby's birth is like packing an overnight bag for a quick vacation might need a little more support and education. There's a fine line between necessity and luxury items and frankly, you might just need both to stay as comfortable as possible. The biggest concern is you never quite know how long your stay will be.
Getting your hospital back set up and ready to go is one great way to be physically prepared for birth and to give your partner some confidence when it comes time for them to gather all your belongings on the big day.
No two births are the same.
No two hospital bags are packed the same way. Not every list is a checklist of every single thing you'll have to bring with you to the birth center, but it will still give you a great place to start. Just as your birth preferences are uniquely tailored to you and your family, you are the one who has the last say of what would make you feel comfortable to bring with you for your baby's arrival.
Your partner needs a birth bag too.
If you have a partner that will be attending your birth, they should be just as prepared for a few nights away from home. This bag is custom catered to their specific needs and has everything they need to help them rest, recover, clean up and energize.
So get your bags packed up and by the door so they're easy to grab and go.
The Bump has an awesome list for hospital bag packing parents to use as a guide as they get all the essentials together. As you pack, think about what you're packing and if they fall under these three main categories:
Are these things going to help you feel more comfortable or secure in an otherwise unfamiliar or uncomfortable space? Birth isn't the most comfortable experience, but there's some items you can keep on hand to feel more comfortable along the way.
Do you have all the items that will make you feel clean and refreshed? This includes all those toiletries and self care essentials that you use on the day-to-day.
Do you have all the paperwork and items that your hospital or birth center to be prepared to take baby home? There's a lot of paperwork required for birth certificates and you'll need insurance information and your birth plan to make the process as efficient as possible.
The Bump's Top Picks for Your Birth Bag:
• Photo ID, insurance info, hospital forms and birth plan (if you have one)
• Eyeglasses (if you wear them)
• Cell phone and charger
• Two or three pairs of warm, nonskid socks (for walking the halls before and after labor)
• A warm robe or sweater you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause
• Lip balm (hospitals are very dry)
• Headband or ponytail holder (avoid clips—they’ll probably poke you)
• Sugar-free hard candy or lozenges to keep your mouth moist during labor (candy with sugar will make you thirsty)
• Non-perishable snacks and change for the vending machines
• 2 maternity bras (no underwire) and nursing pads (whether or not you plan to nurse, you’ll appreciate the support and leak protection)
• Toiletries and personal items: hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution (remember, travel-sized products are your friends)
• Loose, lightweight clothing (maternity wards can often be hot)
• Comfortable going-home clothes in six-month maternity sizes, and flat shoes (or just wear the clothes you came in—sorry, but they’ll probably still fit)
• Very light reading (think magazines and newspapers, not War and Peace)
• Earbuds to listen to music on your phone
• Bath towel (the hospital will probably supply a very thin, small one)
• A comfy pillow from home (with a case that can get ruined, in a pattern distinguishable from hospital white)
• A few pairs of maternity underwear that can get ruined (the hospital will have disposable pairs, which some women find handy and others find gross)
• A ruin-able nightgown (you can use those lovely hospital gowns, but your own might help you feel more human)
• Breastfeeding pillow
• Approved infant car seat
• A coming-home outfit (bring clothes in different sizes to make sure they fit!)
• Warm blankets (for the ride home)
• Outdoor gear like a snowsuit and hat, as seasonally appropriate (newborns are extra sensitive to cold)
• Cell phone and charger
• A change of clothes
• Toiletries: toothbrush, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, contact lens case and solution
• Snacks (you don’t want your partner eating all of yours!)
• Entertainment, whether it’s something to read, listen to or watch
• Camera or video camera with batteries, charger and an extra memory card
• Any daily prescription medication