It’s almost here! You’ve crossed over the 8-month mark and you can pop any day now. You should be ready to rush off to the hospital at a moment’s notice. Which means that your hospital bag is ready and waiting to be scurried off to the delivery room, instead of hastily thrown together at the last minute. When packing the hospital bag, you’ll want to think of what you’ll need during labor as well as what you’ll need after you give birth.
The following is a list of stuff you should have already prepared in your bag, ready for the big day!
What to Pack for Labor
Labor is a completely different experience for every woman and family – sometimes it will be quick and relatively effortless, and sometimes it can take a few days. You’ll want to be prepared for any amount of time by bringing the following:
- Identifying Documents: This could be your driver’s license or passport. You will also want to bring your insurance card and any other paperwork needed from the hospital.
- Eyeglasses: you don’t want to be without them if you need them, as you probably do not want to have to deal with the pain of contacts while you’re in the hospital.
- Pajamas: Be sure to bring a bathrobe, nightgown, socks and slippers. Most hospitals will provide you with a gown and socks to wear during and after labor, but they aren’t exactly the most comfortable options. Bringing your own bedtime clothing will bring a little creature comforts with you to the hospital. Make sure that it is loose and sleeveless (or short-sleeved) so that your blood pressure can be easily checked.
What to Pack for Your Partner
Whether it’s your spouse, friend or family member, they are going through this with you, too! Just because they aren’t directly experiencing the pain of labor, they are still experiencing the birth of your new baby
- Camera: If you have a dedicated digital camera, video camera, or you are just using your cellphone, make sure that you have batteries, charger and a memory card to record the special event. Some hospitals don’t allow videotaping of the actual birth, but generally there are no rules against filming before or after the birth.
- Bathroom Supplies: You don’t know how long you’ll be there and you probably do not want to use the chemical-grade shampoos and soaps they have in stock to take care of your hygiene.
- A Good Book: They don’t call it “labor” for no reason! It’s a trying and difficult and, if the baby isn’t quite ready to come out, rather boring time. There is plenty of down time while waiting for the right amount of dilation to occur – so bring a good book and get comfy until that time.
- Money: While Mom can’t have anything but ice chips, Dad can sneak off to the vending machine to grab a snack.
What to Pack for After Birth
The hard part is over and now you have this precious new life to love and hold forever. However, that doesn’t mean your time at the hospital is quite over yet. There are still many records that need to be taken, vaccinations to be given, as well as recovery time for Mom.
- Baby Formula: The first few days of breastfeeding are tough – trying to get the baby to latch properly and producing enough milk flow are all troublesome factors that take a little time to get going. In the meanwhile, if you’re prepared with baby formula, you’ll never have to wonder if your baby is getting proper nutrition in those precious early days of life.
- A Book on Newborn Care: While you may have read these at home prior to delivery, it’s a good idea to bone up a little bit while you have the help of trained professionals around you still. Once you get home, you’re on your own!
- Car Seat: You can’t drive home without a rear-facing baby car seat! Have one installed a head of time and be sure you know how to buckle your baby in safely.
As with most things, preparation is the key to being successful. Remember, that with the right attitude and a lot of love in your heart, you will be prepared for the rest of your life!