The days leading up to the birth of a baby are indescribably exciting. The joyful anticipation of knowing you’re about to meet the newest love of your life, however, is often accompanied by sky-high levels of stress. Not knowing when the big moment could come adds another layer of anxiety, which is why so many moms want to be prepared and packed for anything. You know you’ll need things like your phone, charger, slippers, and a robe when you head off to the hospital. But having some hospital bag essentials you wouldn’t think to pack ready to go for your delivery can mean less worries when the time comes.
The last few months of my pregnancy fell right around the holidays, which is a chaotic time even when you aren’t ready to pop. So even though I had a long list running in my head of things I needed to do to get ready for my baby’s arrival, I couldn’t always find the time to do them. One morning in late December, I woke up with a feeling that I absolutely had to get my hospital bag packed. After a long trip to Target that afternoon, I was ready to go — and none too soon, because I went into labor the very next day.
Having a bag stuffed with everything I needed made getting to the hospital — and getting through my stay — a lot easier. But there were quite a few things I wish I had thought to pack that would’ve been a big help. Here are nine things I wish I had taken with me, and that you’ll want to stash in your bag too.
1An Eye Mask
Labor can take a really long time and, at some point, you may want to rest as you wait for your little one to make their big debut. Those florescent hospital lights aren’t going to help with that, so stash an eye mask to help block them out.
2An Extra Bag
I thought I was being efficient by bringing one small tote with me to the hospital. That move totally backfired, because I had nowhere to stuff all the gifts people inevitably showed up with, plus all the hospital freebies the nurses were all too happy to hand out. Parents suggested bringing along a second bag to make heading home so much easier.
If you get nauseous or throw up during labor, you'll be glad to have some candy on hand to get the taste out of your mouth. They won't take up much space in your big but they could make a big difference in your comfort.
If your water breaks while you’re driving to the hospital, you’re going to want to try and contain the mess. Pregnant Chicken suggested keeping a trash bag in your hospital bag to keep your car seats dry.
5Water Spray Bottle
Labor is an ordeal like no other, and there's a pretty good chance you'll end up a sweaty mess (I know I did). Baby Center listed a water spray bottle as a must-have to help you freshen up or cool down.
6A Tennis Ball
Relaxing during an ordeal like childbirth is not easy, and you may need a little help. What to Expect suggested packing a tennis ball in your hospital bag, because it's just the right size for your partner to use it to massage you.
Chances are you’ll want a distraction at some point during labor. The Bump suggested having a fun playlist ready to go. Added bonus: those songs will become an awesome reminder of your day every time you hear them.
8Special Baby Blanket
I received three absolutely gorgeous handmade blankets at my baby shower, and somehow didn’t think to throw any of them in my bag. I guess I figured we’d just use the ones the hospital provided (which we did) and I was hell bent on packing light. But I really kicked myself when I saw other babies wrapped up in their own special blankets.
If you deliver your baby through a C-section, your whole mid-section is going to hurt. Anything that involves the use of your abdominal muscles, like sitting up, is going to be a challenge at first. Pop Sugar suggested packing a special girdle to give yourself some support.