The Great Big Hospital Bag: What to Pack for Your Labor0
As a maternity RN I get to meet a lot of interesting people who are experiencing something big in their lives. It is pretty cool forming temporary intense relationships with patients. I have found that some expecting parents bring a lot of stuff to the hospital. After your baby is born are going to be moments when you will want your partner to go home for a bit and this is the perfect time for them to bring back more things for you and for the baby.
Let’s start with the basics! You just need a small bag like a tote or a carry on suitcase. You won’t be needing a full size gigantic suitcase or huge hockey duffle bag. I would often give a little smile when I’d see the amount of luggage some expecting parents brought with them. It looked like they might be flying away on a fun two week get away. Unfortunately space is usually tight in the hospital room and we don’t have any luggage carts to help you move your belongings. Let’s move on with what to pack for labor in a hospital.
A sarong is a great option to tie around you as you move around in your labor. If it gets wet it will dry quickly and it can also be tied over your body, around your waist or even just to cover you if you feel exposed in the shower or bath. I didn’t use a sarong but before I went off on maternity leave I did a labor with a girl in a beautiful pink sarong and it worked perfectly! Also pack a tank top that is loose so you can quickly pull it up or off when needed.
Next pack a bath towel from home that you wouldn’t be too upset if you happened to lose it. Hospitals will usually supply you with towels but I brought my own. It was big and soft and I am glad that I packed it. It felt familiar and was so much better than the small stingy towels that hospitals provide. Don’t forget to bring something you can to tie your hair up with and get it off your face. A stretchy headband and some hair elastics will do the trick. Some small travel sized shampoo and soaps for a nice shower after the baby is born is a nice treat. I found something nice about having some fruity smelling products to use after Ben was born. Less hospital and more normal.
Stash away a lip gloss or chapstick and some little mints. All that breathing makes your mouth so dry and so does puffing away on the nitrous oxide! If you can remember to put in a tooth brush and some tooth paste that’s a bonus. Have a few snacks for you and your partner. Think granola bars, jelly beans, prepackaged apple sauce, banana, Gatorade.
There are some extra comforts that will may help you feel cozy. Bring some flip flops that you can wear in the shower as you labor and also around your room and the hallways. Also, bring a pillow from home for both of you because hospital pillows are terrible. Take along a blanket that rolls up small to use initially post partum or for your honey to use. Don’t bring the cashmere throw but do bring a little something.
Don’t forget to make a list of important phone numbers, a calling card or cell phone and some extra coins. If you want to be super cool and make all your nurses happy pre buy a box of chocolates (not Pot of Gold, please) or a Starbucks gift card. We will treat you the same but we might like you a little bit more.