As you near the end of your pregnancy, you’ve likely got a million things on your mind. If you’re like me, you may have quite a few loose ends to tie together – shopping for a bigger car, worrying over the baby furniture that you ordered that won’t be here till after the baby. The truth is, some things just can’t be helped. Most times it is best to worry about the things you can control rather than those that are out of your hands. With this in mind, I’ve polled some experts to help us remember some important things to pack in our hospital overnight bags for whenever the baby decides he or she is ready to make that grand appearance.
Packing to go anywhere – on a business trip, on vacation – can certainly be a stressful experience, so it helps to have a packing list – especially for something as big as having a baby. Here are some of the top things that women and doctors recommend packing in your emergency bag for when you go to the hospital to have your baby.
Experts at Philips AVENT recommend packing one bag for yourself and one for your baby if possible, to ensure you have all the necessities. Packing the bag by 36 weeks is generally a good time frame just in case you go into labor earlier than expected.
“The hospital bag can become a huge source of stress between couples because it never gets packed — until her water breaks, he’s hysterical in his own macho way, and the emotions cycle high into a fight over ‘the bag,’” says April Masini of AskApril.com. “So, my advice is always: Pack it early, and feel free to re-pack, add, or take away any items you want to at any time. But pack it. When? At the six month mark. I know this sounds crazy, but premature babies are born early. And they’re usually a surprise. They’re not that uncommon. Premature labor is stressful and nobody knows it’s ‘false’ labor until the hospital sends you home. Why add to your stress, and put extra pressure on your relationship with your husband, when you can alleviate so much of it by packing the bag early?”
What to Pack in a Hospital Bag for Mom
– Your birth plan
– List of people to call, as well as phone numbers
– Slippers or cushy socks
– Knee length cotton night-gowns (2 or 3) for labor and after (preferably not white!) with buttons down the front for breastfeeding or comfortable pajamas
– Comfortable underwear and maternity pads (the hospital may also offer pads)
– Nursing bras
– Nipple cream and breast pads (NEW from Philips AVENT–both Day and Night Breast Pads and more soothing Breastcare Thermo Pads)
– Standard toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap or body wash, face wash, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste)
– Your razor (If you plan on nursing, you will appreciate being able to shave under your arms rather than worrying over stubble.)
– Your own personal towel and pillow with a recognizable pattern
– Snacks like energy bars, trail mix, granola bars, and fruit
– Ear plugs (for you and your husband or partner)
– Lip balm
– Prenatal vitamins
– Glasses or contact lenses
– Comfortable clothing to wear home (maternity clothes will be your best bet)
– Plastic bag for dirty laundry
– Magazines or a book to pass the time before baby comes
– A notepad for gifts – “Visitors LOVE to bring you gifts while you’re in the hospital,” shares Dallas Louis, a mom of three and author of the upcoming The Mommy Diaries: How I’m Surviving Parenting without Killing Anyone (May 2012). “The trouble with this is the card will inevitably get separated from the gift during the transfer from the hospital to the house. If you have a notepad to quickly jot down who gave what, once the fog of just giving birth clears, your thank-you note process will be much easier if you wrote it down.”
– A calling card, since you often can’t use a cell phone in your hospital room
“Be careful not to take anything valuable or very sentimental,” say the experts at Philips AVENT. “If you take your own pillows or towels, take patterned ones so they are less likely to disappear. It’s important that you are comfortable during labor and having your own pillow can be a real comfort.”
Nicole Atkinson of Push to Start, Inc. recommends bringing gourmet chocolates for the nurses who will be caring for you.
“I brought a few bags of Lindt truffles to give to the staff,” she recalls. “They appreciated the gesture and took great care of me. I’m sure they would have regardless, but I like to think it helped sweeten my care a bit more.”
She also suggests bringing your makeup to keep you looking like yourself.
“You may not want to put on a full face, but pictures will be taken and you don’t want to look like you were dragged by a train when you’re holding your new baby,” she says.
What to Pack in a Hospital Bag for Baby…