Giving birth during the holiday season? Worried about missing out on the annual festivities? Why not bring the holiday spirit with you to the hospital room? You can't pack tradition in a bag, but you can bring a few cheerful supplies to brighten the room — and the hospital staff's day. And as far as baby things go, what's cuter than holiday newborn clothes and swaddling things? Probably nothing — except for your baby herself, of course. Packing your hospital bag for the holidays doesn't have to be overwhelming, trust me.
I loved packing my hospital bag. In fact, I packed it several times. (I still forgot my toothbrush.) In a moment of supernatural foresight, I packed a few bags of kettle corn, which turned out to be a big hit with everyone. I still have the socks I bought for walking the cold hospital floors — they say Ready, Set, Push, and yes, I know that's terribly corny. Some of what you put in your hospital bag will be evergreen — your insurance card and the like — but with Amazon selling everything in a handbag, there are lots of fun, holiday-themed options for hospital gowns, baby hats, and more. Here are nine hospital bag essentials you need if you're giving birth during the holidays.
1. A Holiday Focal Point
Hypnobirthing practitioner, doula, and author of Feng Shui Mommy Bailey Gaddis recently attended a birth the day after Thanksgiving. "The mom had me set up a mini Christmas tree in her hospital room with a 'Baby's First Christmas' ornament hanging on it," Gaddis tells Romper.
Sounds cute right? In fact, the Christmas tree served a powerful purpose during the birth. "She used the tree and ornament as her focal point during the birth, saying it helped her look beyond the pain of birth and focus on the joy she would feel sharing her first Christmas with her daughter," Gaddis explains. "And, because this mama is such a lover of the holidays, she had me run out to buy candy canes she could suck on for a jolt of refreshing energy."
2. Holiday Treats
Speaking of candy, what's better than peppermint to refresh you after you give birth, or popcorn to string on a needle and thread while you wait for your baby to arrive?
Many hopsital bag essentials list — like this one from the impeccably stylish Lauren Conrad — suggest whipping up some cookies for the nurses. Make them holiday cookies, and you're sure to get a cheerful smile (also, super-quick ice chip delivery). Baking cookies is also a great way to pass your early labor before you head to your hospital or clinic.
3. Holiday Decorations
Dr. Megan Davidson of BrooklynDoula has seen mothers bring all sorts of special decorative notes into their holiday-season births: an electric menorah if the birth falls during Hanukkah, tiny knit Santa hats or tiny Santa outfits for the baby, and lots of holiday treats, like cookies baked by grandma, are some examples she cites. She's even seen Christmas lights to help set the mood, and small wrapped presents (now that's some serious advance planning).
As far as decorations go, you should check with your hospital to see what they'll allow. My hospital allowed electric candles, but not actual ones, as well as air fresheners and diffusers. Lots of air freshener brands make holiday scents, so test out a few to bring with you. If you're timing contractions in early labor, try simmering cinnamon, allspice, oranges, and cloves on the stove and bringing your homemade potpourri in a jar.
4. Seasonal Hospital Gown
No, you don't have to wear that scratchy green thing this season. Thanks to the internet, labor gowns abound. Order one in a festive color (with ruffles) from boutique Pretty Pushers. It's hospital-approved.
Don't forget a warm flannel robe, slippers, and other comfy wintery things.
5. Holiday Newborn Hats
Newborns need hats to regulate their temperature in the early weeks, and that's even more true in the winter season. If you have a friend who knits, get them knitting. Otherwise, there are lots of adorable holiday newborn hats for sale. On Etsy, you can even get them personalized with your baby's name.
6. Winter Baby Clothes & Swaddle Blankets
There's a special place in my heart for the iconic swaddling blankets they use at the hopsital — and there's actually an interesting story behind them, according to Quartz. But these too you can make more festive, with your favorite holiday colors and themes.
Remember that besides swaddling, you'll also need a going-home outfit for baby. Something soft and cozy will fit with your holiday birth theme, like this sleeper from Burt's Bees.
7. Holiday Lotions & Creams
It's winter — and it's dry out there. After giving birth, you can expect chapped lips and hands. Pack cinnamon spicy hand creams to soothe dehydrated skin, like the Burt's Bees Mani Pedi Holiday Gift Set.
8. Holiday Music
Bring a phone speaker dock, or even your Alexa or Google Home device, and create a holiday playlist to keep it merry. (Consider bringing an alternate playlist in case the holiday music winds up annoying you during labor, because, well, you never know.) My favorite is Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas album.
9. Baby Headbands For A Photo Op
You'll be taking plenty of (non-flash) photos of your newborn, so bring something to dress them up, like this holiday-sweet infant headband from Jane.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.