I know it’s not just me, but I thought about packing while not packing for a long time.
Giving birth is such a big event to plan for! I need to bring all of my new nursing bras, a blow dryer, a cooler full of meals, a humidifier, a speaker, a backup speaker, and string lights.
I definitely should not have stressed as much as I did!
Read on and you’ll find ways to simplify your list. Hopefully, at the very least, I can help you think ahead. If you do end up packing at the last minute, (babies don’t always honor their due dates!) you’ll have a good idea of what you do and don’t need.
1. Hospital Goodies
Firstly, rest assured that your hospital will likely provide you with everything you’ll need for healing. I was given not only baby items, but things for myself such as jumbo pads, instant ice packs, ibuprofen, and stool softeners.
And witch hazel pads. Those were nice.
If you’d like to be sure, it’s good to call your hospital and ask what they have available to you.
There are so many small items to think about: toothbrush and toothpaste, chapstick, deodorant, contact solution, travel size skincare, lotion, body oil, hair brush, dry shampoo, makeup and makeup remover (super optional).
It felt like such brain clutter to anticipate collecting it all if I ended up being in a rush. I just knew I’d leave something important behind.
Here’s my solution!
The last couple of weeks before my due date, I put all of my toiletries in their travel bag and kept it on the bathroom counter. It made for a nice grab-and-go situation rather than a scramble-and-stress one.
There were things I didn’t end up having to use, like body oil and dry shampoo. But it did feel amazing to wash my face with my own products after a 10+ hour workout.
3. Claw Clip
If you’re already a fan of claw clips, then you know how nice it is to twist your hair up and out of the way. They’re easy to adjust and are kinder to your hair than your average hair tie.
I happened to curl my hair the day before I went into labor. My claw clip kept everything out of the way and actually preserved my curls just enough to keep me looking a little less exhausted than I felt.
That’s a win in my book.
There’s something so comforting about having your own pillows with you in the hospital!
Think about it. You’ve already become an expert in what it takes to be comfortable with your big, beautiful baby bump. Why go through more trial and error with mystery hospital pillows?
Also, I believe there’s some scientific stuff about helping labor progress when you’re surrounded by soothing, familiar items.
Don’t let hubby’s pillow get forgotten!
A life-hack I wish I had thought of is to fold a blanket and put it into your partner’s pillowcase so it’s there if they need it during the night. The hospital did give us extra blankets when we asked, but those rooms can get pretty cold.
5. Phone Charger
It’s also a good idea to buy an extra long one to make sure it can reach you in a tall hospital bed. Keep it in your bag to be sure you won’t be without it!
You might be there longer than you’re expecting, and you’ll want your phone charged and ready to take those first sweet pictures of your cuddly bundle of joy.
Don’t feel pressure to quickly answer every single text, though. This is your time!
If you have a planned C-section or an otherwise risky pregnancy that could result in intervention, it’s not advised to eat for a while beforehand.
Definitely ask your doctor and do your own research if you’re ever unsure!
I was fortunate to choose to go as naturally as possible. The snacks that helped me the most (during early labor when I actually wanted to eat) were salted nuts, coconut water, Liquid I.V. drink mix powder, and honey sticks. Honey is converted to energy faster than sugar, and is longer lasting.
And I needed any extra energy I could get.
As you know, pregnancy comes with plenty of specific food preferences. As with the rest of these packing list suggestions, feel free to customize!
Maybe there’s something you just know you’re going to want after baby arrives. My hospital had a surprisingly extensive menu, so yours might surprise you as well.
7. Crockpot and Towels
Okay, I know I used the word “simplify” earlier, but hear me out on this one.
This is a luxury I would have never thought of myself. Luckily I had an amazing birth class that spilled this secret.
All that’s needed is a medium sized crockpot, a plastic liner to keep things sanitary, and four to five soft microfiber hand towels. Just add enough water to get them wet. Pick a setting that will keep the towels at a hot but tolerable temperature.
The difference that these make during labor is honestly crazy. I had them on my hips, back, and even shivering knees at one point. My husband was amazing at this job. And it was definitely a job.
It really helps to have incredible members of your birth team who are aware of your needs and know just how to help you.
8. Change of Clothes
Think comfy, then think even comfier.
After changing out of my hospital gown, I wore a stretchy t-shirt and my favorite pair of sweatpants that I couldn’t fit into the day before.
Best feeling ever, by the way.
I did bring a pajama dress, but I was too preoccupied to bother changing into it. You may want a nursing bra, and you may not want a bra at all. I’d rather have a couple things that I may not need than want something and not have it.
I remember the nurses pushing on my stomach and I remember waking up every two hours, but I don’t remember being uncomfortable in the clothes I brought!
Alright. Unpopular opinion, but as light and airy as the hospital’s mesh underwear is, pads and ice packs didn’t feel very secure when I wore them. It wasn’t a major inconvenience, but I could have spared myself the extra readjusting and waddling.
In hindsight, I wish I had brought my own women’s Depends. I ended up trying a couple different brands, but Depends Silhouette briefs were my favorite.
9. Nip Gear
If you end up breastfeeding like I did, just know it gets easier down the road! Those early nursing sessions…ouch.
The nurses and lactation consultants were very helpful and kind. They provided me with generic cream and eventually some better prescription ointment since I needed it. They also offered me a nipple shield while we worked together to get my baby girl latched correctly.
The tricky thing to deal with was the irritation from clothing fabric between feedings. What I did bring was those silver nipple cover things, but I discovered they’re not to be used at the same time as ointments.
I wish that I had Medela Softshells or something similar so that I could have a bubble of protection as well as breathability.
Well, that was what I brought to the hospital! What would you add?
The hectic moments before my baby arrived feel insignificant now. But the preparation really made quite a difference.
I wish your baby the happiest birth day!
Wait, isn’t it weird how our actual first birthday doesn’t count? How unfair. Add “birthday cake” to your list.