The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This precious bag should include all the necessities you may need during your hospital stay before and after you give birth, and you don’t want to overpack or under pack. Here are some essential products OB-GYNs say to pack in your hospital bag. As people who have seen it all, from the way over prepared new parents, to the totally underprepared, they know a thing or two about what people should and should not be including in their overnight tote.
To ensure you don’t end up like the stereotypical disorganized family that you might see in a comedy film or sitcom with a labor and delivery scene, it is probably a good idea to go ahead and pack that hospital bag a couple of weeks before your expected due date. That way, if baby decides to make his or her grand entrance early, you won’t be scrambling or having your partner run home to get stuff together while you’re stuck in the hospital. Plus, they may not know which favorite PJs or the right type of underwear to bring you, which, in the moment, can be a huge offense.
Dr. Yvonne Bohn, an OB-GYN at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California says bringing some comfortable pajamas to wear after labor is something you'll definitely want to have. She suggests "loose-fitting" pants or pajamas. Your body did just go through something pretty traumatic, so it deserves to not have tight clothing suffocating it. Not only is it important to have comfortable pajamas, but they should be dark colored. A lot of gross stuff seems to ooze out of you after childbirth and you don't want to wear white.
2Paperwork and Driver's License
Dr. Adrienne Zertuche, an OB-GYN with Atlanta Women's Healthcare Specialists says it's important to remember to bring your photo ID and insurance information, as well as your medical records — if your doctor recommends them. With all the other "stuff" going on, you don't want to have to worry about digging through your purse or wallet, trying to remember where you put everything. Get that stuff in order before the big day.
You know the kind. Leave the sexy thongs, lace, and anything you are not willing to throw away at home this time. Bohn suggests bringing "grandma" underwear in your hospital bag. Go get you a few pairs of cheap, large options that you won't mind messing up and not being able to wear again, because of the aforementioned "oozing" that will undoubtedly stain or ruin everything you're wearing.
Get a bigger size than you think you'll need since you'll probably be really sore down there — especially if you have an incision from a C-section — and despite what you may believe, you will not bounce back to your pre-pregnancy body within a few hours of giving birth. You'll want some room to breathe.
The hospital should provide pads and disposable mesh underwear for your to wear right after you deliver, but some people may prefer a cotton pair, and you'll definitely need them in the days, even weeks, that follow.
Bohn also suggests bringing nursing bras, and "especially a nursing bra for sleep." These comfortable and practical bras will help you feel put together after labor, and they'll be functional for both you and your baby if you're planning on breastfeeding. Plus, if you have any leaks while you're sleeping, you don't want to mess up that expensive fancy bra, right? And who wants to be uncomfortable after labor anyway?
Even though we all know what happens to birth plans sometimes once you're in there, Zertuche suggests bringing it along with you, just in case. It will be helpful to have a hard copy on hand in case you can't convey your wishes at the moment and want to make sure your "team" is on the same page.
Bohn says hospitals "do not always provide good soap, shampoo, and toothpaste," so you may want to bring those items from home, in addition to chapstick, face wash, and lotion, etc. It sure can get dry in those hospital rooms, so lotion and chapstick may be essentials for some women. Zertuche says to not forget those hair ties or head bands, too.
7Going Home Outfit
The baby can't go home naked! As far as what kind of outfit (because they are all so cute and will be hard to choose) Bohn recommends pants and a shirt instead of a onesie (because "the umbilical stump is still there," she says) or a dress (because it'll leave their legs uncovered when they are going home in the car seat).
It's OK to bring a swaddle from home (if you prefer) for when you're hanging out in the hospital room. Just be sure to take it off when putting them in the car seat.
Other items the hospital may provide your baby, according to Bohn, include diapers, wipes, and blankets. Just be sure to check ahead of time to see if you need to bring any of these items yourself.
8Eyeglasses, Contacts, and Contact Solution
You'll want to see your brand new baby once they're here, right? Zertuche says that some physicians may recommend you take your contacts out if you need a C-section, so have those glasses ready.
9Group List For Text Message
Make a list before hand of the friends and family you want to notify as soon as the baby is here. Bohn says, "Some people also already have a group list saved so that a mass email/text can easily be sent to announce their baby." That's really smart and a good time saver. Just be sure that they don't spill the beans on Facebook before you get a chance to do it yourself.
Though not *essential* for everyone, whether it's on your tablet or your phone, if this is something that you think would help you through the labor process, definitely bring it, Zertuche says. You never know, it may do the trick to either pump you up or calm you down and distract you during those contractions.
In addition to your own pillow for your own comfort, you may want to bring your own breastfeeding pillow if you're planning on breastfeeding, according to Zertuche. since you will start your breastfeeding journey while you're at the hospital, it could be helpful to have this item on hand so that the hospital staff can help you figure out how exactly to maneuver it and your baby.
Hopefully, you won't need a Mary Poppins bag for all of your items. And every mom and pregnancy are different. This is a pretty good guideline for what to bring, but of course, every mom will have certain things she can't live without while at the hospital, and could find things she would be able to do without.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.