As of two days ago, I am 35 weeks pregnant. This means that my estimated due date is in just over a month!!! Since I am working right up until the end, am already Mumma to an active 4-year-old, and we are still renovating our bedroom and getting the house in order, I know this last month is going to fly by. So, I am working on being more prepared for when the time comes.
Yesterday, I finished making a list of everything we will pack in our hospital bag. This way, as we get closer to the time, I can start to put some things in the bag, and scratch them off the list. I believe this will also make things so much easier, when labor begins, to have the list to look at for adding the final things, like toiletries, that can’t be packed up in advance.
So, in case it interests you, or helps other expecting parents to make their own list, I decided to share mine along with my comments about what I was glad we had last time, and what I wished we would have had. I might make last-minute tweaks in the weeks to come, but I really think this list will encompass everything we will need to be more comfortable for labor, delivery, and our stay afterward.
FOR OUR HOSPITAL BAG:
Items for Labor:
~A copy of our birth plan. My midwife will have a copy, but I want to bring one with us just in case she is unavailable when I go into labor, to have for the staff on duty.
~A picture of Simon, for motivation and smiles.
~Natural lollipops. The sour ones were comforting to me when I had pregnancy nausea, and if I want something during labor, but don’t feel like eating, these would be helpful.
~Mints or gum.
~A microwavable heating pad. I find mine soothing and relaxing when I am tired or sore. Alternately, if I want something cool on me, I can ask Jeramy or a nurse for a cool, wet cloth.
Clothing: Comfort is my number one concern here. I will be packing clothes to labor in, and clothes for afterward.
~A nightgown. When I had Simon I was very glad that I bought my own nightgown for labor, rather than wearing the one the hospital provides. It was important to me to feel like a Mother giving birth, and not a medical patient. I still have that nightgown, and will be bringing it again this time. The nice thing about a gown is that when I was ready for pushing, it could just be pulled up out-of-the-way.
~Sweatpants. I wore sweatpants underneath my nightgown for most of the time, as I took walks in the halls, bounced on my birth ball, and went through most of early labor the first time around. At a certain point, I was able to just take the sweatpants off, to make it easier for my midwife to examine me, and obviously once it was time to push they would have been in the way.
~Cotton tank top. In case it is more comfortable than the nightgown for various labor positions.
~Bathing suit. This time I plan on trying to labor in the birthing tub, and a nightgown on top would just get in the way here. I have a large tankini top that I bought for pregnancy, and it is very comfortable.
For the rest of the time:
~Lounge or yoga pants, t-shirts, a loose, flowy cardigan, a hoodie…basically, pajamas that I do not mind wearing in the company of visitors. When I had Simon, it was May, and it looked beautiful out, but was actually very chilly. I ended up wishing I had packed more layers, and plan to give myself better choices this time.
~For the day we leave to go home, I will be bringing my maternity jeans and a loose top that makes me feel good to wear. We will likely want to take a family photo when we leave, and this will help me feel a bit more “normal”. (Since women still have a pregnancy belly for a while after having a Baby, there is no point trying to pack anything from pre-pregnancy, or that is too constricting.)
~Soft lounge socks to keep my feet warm.
~Flip-flops to slip on and off easily. (If Baby is going to have his or her hearing test, for example, I will want to go along.)
~A package of large underwear. I purchased an 8-pack of undies one size larger than I normally wear, and in a cut that gives more coverage. After you have a Baby you wear large pads for a while, and I want some undies that will accommodate these comfortably.
~Nursing tanks and bras. When I had Simon, the nurses helped me to change into one of my nursing tank tops right away and I attempted to breastfeed him. He was too sleepy, but those nursing tanks came in very handy while in the hospital, and for the rest of the time he was breastfed.
For Hubby: Pajamas, clean socks and underwear, flip-flops, a change of pants, something long-sleeved, and a few t-shirts. (The extra t-shirts are in case of Baby spit-up.)
Toiletries: Some people bring their own shampoos, bar of soap, even toilet paper. For me, some things are more important to have my own of than others. Here I am planning to bring what we need to cover the basics, and just use the hospital provided samples for the rest.
~Our toothbrushes and our own toothpaste. (I am picky about toothpaste.)
~Disposable face wash wipes for quick freshen-ups.
Extras for Me:
~A package of very large menstrual pads. The hospital provides some, but after the first day I preferred my own.
~Lip balm. Sometimes all of the deep breathing you do in labor can chap your lips.
~My makeup bag with a few basic items in it. It helped me feel more put-together, when I had Simon, to put on a bit of concealer, mascara, and blush before guests would arrive.
~Hairbrush, blow-dryer, and barrettes. I will be cutting my hair short before having Baby, so barrettes will help me pin back pieces from my face if I want. When I had Simon though, I brought hair elastics, because I had long hair then.
~My glasses case. (I definitely won’t want to be wearing my glasses the whole time.)
Snacks: Our hospital puts no restriction on eating and drinking during labor, and if things take a while I want to have some snacks on hand, both during early labor, and for the rest of our stay. The hospital keeps crackers and peanut butter, pudding, and bananas available, but there are some things I will be adding to our suitcase to satisfy any likely cravings.
~Something salty and crunchy, such as roasted salted almonds or russet potato chips.
~Annies Microwaveable Mac&Cheese bowls. A friend suggested these to me when I was telling her about Simon’s birth and how the only food I had packed were a few granola bars, but I ended up craving savory things. These are a hot meal that can be easily tossed into the suitcase without worry about refrigeration.
We will likely get takeout at some point too, but having some things on hand to fill in the gaps will be a good idea, especially if we are awake at night when the hospital cafeteria and local restaurants are closed.
~A few outfits. When Simon was born we were shocked to have a 5 lb. 13 oz. baby who was so tiny he swam in the newborn sizes that I had packed. The hospital loaned us some slightly smaller outfits, and then my Mother-in-law went to the store for some preemie sized clothes. This time around I will be bringing some clothes in both preemie and newborn to cover the bases. Keeping it as simple as possible, I will bring a few onesies, some sleeper gowns or footie pajamas, little mitts, and a soft cap. For the day we leave I will select an outfit with a little sweater and soft pants to layer over a onesie, so that Baby can be easily buckled into the car seat.
~A snuggly blanket. The hospital has swaddling blankets for while we are there, but it will be good to have a warmer one for tucking over the baby in the car seat for the ride home.
~Nursing pillow for breastfeeding.
~Camera with charger and memory card.
~Chargers for our cell phones so that we can send a first picture of the baby and announce the big news.
~An empty tote bag. The hospital gives new parents packets of information, board books to start Baby’s library, after care items for Mumma, a small baby tub, some care items for Baby, a few diapers, and a manual breast pump. Visitors also sometimes bring gifts. Having an extra bag to bring everything home in is very helpful.
~A special big-brother gift for Simon.
This may seem like a lot of stuff, but it will all fit easily into our one suitcase. Every family has different needs and wants, so my list might not work for you. I recommend asking what your hospital or birth center provides, and reading lists online or asking friends what they recommend.