*Guest post from Breanne Clinger, RN of Mommy to Be Prep
As your due date draws closer you might be thinking about what needs to go into that hospital bag, we sat down with Breanne Clinger from Mommy to Be Prep and had her dish on what are the essentials for not only mom, but mom’s partner and baby too.
Momma’s Hospital List
Picture ID and insurance card
These will be taken at registration.
Any medications you are currently taking or a list
Sometimes you are allowed to take your own medications at the hospital once the medication is double checked by pharmacy (may save on medical bills). Or just bring a list of your medications with the name, dosing, and when you last took them.
Items to keep yourself busy
Depending on your circumstance (scheduled inductions especially) you may have a lot of free time at the hospital. Bring items to fill this time such as favorite movies, a journal, card games, or thank you notes.
Toiletries and favorite personal items
Any special items that help you feel refreshed and pretty such as your favorite scented lotion or your favorite lip-gloss. Hair ties or headbands are a good idea (I suggest to have your hair up and out of your face while pushing in labor, no one likes sweaty hair on their face). The usual items such as deodorant, tooth paste, and tooth brushes. Your hospital may be able to give you some of the necessary toiletries items but they are usually nothing fancy (check with your hospital).
If you have ever been in the hospital before you may know the gowns can be show stopping as they have an easy access to the backside. If you would like some extra coverage a robe is a great and cozy idea. I wouldn’t bring an expensive robe as you risk getting some blood on it. You may also choose to labor in your own clothes if your hospital allows.
This deserves its own separate line from toiletries because it is that important! Laboring women that are not allowed to take oral fluids get dry lips! Check with your Doctor’s policy on eating and drinking during labor. If you are only allowed to have ice chips, bring water flavoring that you can spray on the top to give them flavor!
Your favorite pillow
The hospital pillows are not exactly 5 star quality. It’s best if you use a bright colored pillowcase so it does not get mixed in with the hospitals, also labor can be messy so having that pillow double layered is not a bad idea.
You know what calms yourself down the best! Relaxing quite music, aromatherapy, massage oils, back massagers, focal point item(s) such as a sentimental picture, or even something as simple as a tennis ball rolling on your back or in your hand can serve as helpful distraction.
Have it charged and ready to go but don’t forget the batteries, charger, or memory card! (Also remember the little parts when going home, as they are one of the most common things forgotten at the hospital).
Yummy food that you haven’t been able to eat during your pregnancy
Think of all that food you haven’t been able to eat during your pregnancy (sandwich meat, sushi). Labor builds a huge appetite and unless you have had a C-section we let you eat anything you want pretty soon after delivery! You burned a major amount of calories, you deserve to eat that huge piece of whatever sounds best to you! Hospitals usually like to give the family a delivery package with snacks in it for after delivery but sometimes your special craving is just not satisfied. Either bring your treat or give a family member or friend the task of picking up some food for your hungry belly!
Pajamas or nightgown
You do not have to stay in the show-stopping hospital gown your whole stay- you may not even need to labor in it (check with your hospital). Bring a couple of comfy pairs of clothes you can lounge in. Again, you do risk getting blood on any clothes item you bring!
*The hospital will give you some peri pads and mesh panties but if you want more comfortable undies then I’d suggest cheap large panties grandma style!
I would not advise anyone to walk around the hospital floor barefoot. Please bring a pair of shoes easy to slip on and off, also, a pair that you would be okay with getting drops of blood on or they are easy to clean.
Nursing bras or good supportive bra
Okay lets talk about bras. Traditionally, labor nurses ask you to be “commando” (without bra or undies) under your gown. Why? Bras often have metal on them and cannot be worn in the operating room for a c-section and some c-sections are unfortunately urgent or emergent. Taking off or even cutting off a bra just takes extra time. Plus, after the baby is born either vaginally or by c-section, we like the baby to go straight on your chest and your bra just gets in the way. It is a hassle to take the bra off with the IV and epidural tubing in the way. Now, if your breast are pendulous or you are well endowed, laboring without a bra can be very uncomfortable. A cheap tube top bra, without metal, that you find comfortable should be on your list!
Now if you are planning on breastfeeding, make sure the bra is not restricting, as this can inhibit your milk production! If you are planning on exclusively formula feeding, bring the tightest sport bra you have!
Going home outfit
Every mom likes to feel good when going home! Most women, okay 99% of all women (If you are that 1% then consider yourself despised) do not fit into their pre-pregnancy clothes right after delivery. Bring a cute loose fitting outfit!
If you plan on walking during your labor, bring these! We can connect your headphones to the ambulatory fetal heart rate monitor (check with your hospital to see if they have these available) . This is helpful to your labor nurse because you can hear your baby’s heart rate and assist in your own care.
Educational Reminders/ Print outs
If you are a person that feels like a birth plan is right for you then a couple of copies of your birth plan (you should discuss your birth plan with your provider early in your pregnancy) . Or, if you took any prenatal classes that had helpful labor or postpartum reminders bring these. Examples include a list for what the significant other should say or do during labor, different laboring positions, breastfeeding tips, or a copy of The Most Common Medication’s in Labor & Delivery.
Significant Other’s Hospital List
ID and wallet
Most labor and delivery units require all visitors to have an ID, find out your own hospital’s policy.
Mommy-to- be’s tend to like a cold room while laboring and labor can be a longgggg. Your significant other may need to snuggle up in a blanket for a nap.
Snacks and a drink
Your significant other needs to be well nourished to best support you! Your hospital may have vending machines, a cafeteria, food truck, or food court available. Some hospitals even offer a free meal for the significant other. Again, check with your hospital.
Change of clothes
If you plan on your significant other staying the night, a new set of clothes would come in handy. If you are interested in using the labor tub or shower and would like your significant other to join you, the nursing staff would appreciate if you packed him swim suite!
*Make sure your significant other brings the right mindset! Have your support person come prepared by reading “How to Support Her Through Labor and Delivery”.
Baby’s Hospital List
Car seat (installed)
To install your car seat use the car seat directions as well as your vehicle’s owner manual. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a great resource to know what type of car seat to buy as well guidelines and instructions to assist in this overwhelming process if never attempted before!
If you are having second -guesses if you have installed it correctly many times the local fire stations or police stations offer free one on one car seat safety checks. You may also look for a car seat inspection location close to you here.
If you are a mother that is planning on pumping, find out what type of breast pump your insurance covers. Also, find out if the hospital carries these and compare prices with other places. If you go with a breast pump bought outside of the hospital, you can still bring it and the nurses can assist you in figuring it out!
This makes life and breastfeeding a whole lot easier.
Picture outfit/Going home outfit(s)
Newborns tend to be a little spitty, although exclusively breastfeeding may help with this, I would have two possible going home outfits just in case.
The hospital will usually have blankets for you, burp cloths, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, bathing supplies, and formula. Usually the hospital does not let you take any of the linen (baby blankets and burp cloths) home so make sure to bring your own baby blanket to keep your babe warm on the ride home! Check with your hospital for specifics.
And now you’re ready for the hospital!
Download the printable PDF check list here: Check List of What To Bring to The Hospital