Spring makes me think of flowers, and babies, and taxes…taxes…but we don’t want to go there!!!! I really prefer to stick with the happy things in life. I started to think that a packing list for the hospital might be helpful. Being the research queen, I went online to see what was out there as far as recommendations go and found that many publications seemed to have parents packing for a short vacation!!!! Lordy, we really do not want you staying in the hospital more than you have to. We want to get you back home where you will be comfy and cozy. Short and sweet is best in my book. Here is this Nurse Midwife’s packing list for baby’s big day:
In Your Purse for the Hospital Pack
- Your driver’s license, insurance card.
- Your birth plan– If you feel you need one. You will have discussed this with your provider already but this copy is for the nurses.
- Contact list-whether this is separate or on your smartphone, to make the big announcement after baby arrives.
- A small amount of cash and change for dad to use at the gift shop, cafeteria or vending machines (most hospitals do have ATMs to use in a pinch also).
- Mints or a few hard candies for dad- I can’t tell you how many times I have had poor dad be accused of having bad breath. All because he hasn’t had time to get a drink and because he has been huffing and puffing with you. Do him and yourself a favor!!!!
- Eyeglasses-if you wear them or if you wear contacts that may need to come out later.
- Your cell phone and charger. Do not forget your charger!!!! Especially if you own a smartphone you know how invaluable this will be later on for your contact list, pictures, announcing the birth and ordering take out!
- Camera or video recorder if you plan on using one separate from your smartphone. Check your hospital’s policy on video recording during labor and birth.
- Music or relaxation tools-check with your hospital or support person to see what type of equipment they have before packing, this may not even be necessary. Our hospital plays nice relaxing music on our TVs that is perfect for labor. Other items to consider include lavender oil or back massager.
For Your Bag
- T-shirt, leggings, sleepwear, robe, nursing bra, several pair of undies. Sports bra or bathing suit if you plan to get in the tub. In our practice you may opt to wear your own clothes or a hospital gown during labor. You may wear/or not wear whatever you feel most comfortable in for the tub. A robe is a must in case you decide to walk up and down the hallway during your labor. The hospital provides what we call our beautiful “victoria secret” stretchy mesh panties and pads but afterwards you might feel better in your own. Comfort is the key…and of course, your outfit to go home in.
- Slippers, socks, shoes to go home in-Something comfy to cover your feet during labor and to walk the halls in afterwards. Remember, your feet may actually be more swollen after labor than they are now, so plan for it.
- Toiletries-shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, contact solution, makeup, lip balm. You probably will just feel better with your own.
- Outfits for baby-remember baby will be having his/her first photo op. Also, he/she will have sharp little finger nails so pack an outfit that comes with the cute little covers for the little hands. Invaluable!
- Your baby’s memory book-so that we can put your baby’s foot prints in this for you.
Things on other lists that I would leave at home. Remember; what you cart in you have to cart back out (plus a newborn)!!!! We want to make this a stress free as possible.
- pillows-the hospital has plenty I promise. We know how to position them for comfort, labor and for breastfeeding!!!!
- breast pump-If you are going to breastfeed we want to get baby to the breast. If you need a breast pump, the hospital has the appropriate one for you to use.
- nursing pads, nursing creams-your breasts make only a couple of drops of colostrum after the baby is born. No need for pads at this point. We will supply any nursing cream (lanolin) if you need it.
- Feminine pads-we provide those too…along with the “victoria secret” mesh panties!!!
- nail clippers for baby-experienced moms will tell you that you should not clip your baby’s nails right away, it is an accident waiting to happen. See my comment above about covering your baby’s hands.
- watch-not to worry-we have equipment for timing contractions too.
- white noise machine-please….again, what you cart in, you have to take out.
- books, magazines-You will now have a new family member to get acquainted with! We will be giving you lots of information and handouts, plus lots of personal attention. In between, we hope that you will be resting.
As you can see, the list of what not to pack is almost as long as what to pack. Even if you were to forget your bag, it is not the end of the world. We have all the necessities to get you through until someone can go home and get your personal stuff. No worries!!!!