Streamline Your Labor and Delivery Bag
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It struck me as I was packing my labor and delivery bag, A.K.A. my hospital bag, how times have changed. When I was packing for my first baby, 14 years ago, I packed everything but the kitchen sink! Or so it seemed. That was because 1. I was a new mom. 2. We didn’t have the same technology that we do now. There were no iPhones in 2003…or tablets. We packed old fashioned digital cameras and video cameras. I brought an address book full of phone numbers so that we could call people after the birth. My husband rented a DVD from the local Blockbuster so that we could watch a movie together as we held our newborn son. Fastforward more than a dozen years… so much has changed. So, this time as I was packing I noticed on some groups that I joined, how much stuff people are still packing. I decided to post a quick list of what I decided to take with me. I streamlined it people. I really don’t like having to lug in a bunch of stuff into and out of the hospital. Ummm…and my hubby doesn’t like to either. Here is what I settled on.
Mommy’s Labor and Delivery Bag
Slippers – a must have. Seriously do you want to be walking barefoot on those hospital floors? I knew there was a good chance I would be walking the halls, too, so I wanted to make sure I had comfy shoes that would also protect my feet from all sorts of things.
Socks – To keep our toes toasty if laying in the bed.
A robe – An absolute must. I LOVED wearing a robe the entire way through my most recent delivery. I actually brought two (how’s that for streamlining?) I choose a zip front one that was lightweight and elbow length and wore it literally through the delivery (even through the pushing phase). I brought an extra for afterward so that I could cover up for visitors and to make breastfeeding easy. My one criteria for a robe is this: it must be lightweight and preferably cotton, like this robe. I do not like heavy robes during pregnancy and post-partum. They get very hot and uncomfortable. I also choose a dark robe for after delivery because — well, birth is messy.
Pajamas or Nursing Night gown – I packed a nursing nightgown this time from Kindred Bravely and I love, love, loved it. It makes nursing a snap and it is so cute.
Shampoo/soap/toothbrush/toothpaste/hairbrush/hairclips/makeup – Bring all the toiletries you will need while there. I like to get a shower a few hours after delivery (or at least once the IV is out and I’m able to stand on my own for a few minutes). Pack what you’ll need to feel yourself. I prefer to pack travel sizes, though, so I’m not lugging around huge bottles of shampoo.
A tablet/phone/mp3 player – For my last several deliveries I’ve enjoyed listening to music from iTunes playlist while laboring. I’ve also been able to watch TV shows with the iPad the last two deliveries. Don’t forget that your phone can double as your camera (unless you have one that you would like to bring). Make sure you pack your earbuds and charger.
A pillow/blanket – I brought an awesome pillow I found at the Vera Bradley store. It is a fleece blanket that folds up into a travel pillow. It was absolutely perfect for supporting my back in the uncomfortable hospital bed. I love that it doubles as a blanket in case I get too cold.
Tank top/bra top or a Swim Suite top – If you plan to jump in the tub or shower. This might help if you are worried about modesty or don’t want to get your other clothes wet.
Soda/Drinks/Candy-Some hospitals will allow you to continue drinking and eating clear liquids including sprite, juice, lollipops, jello, etc. Make sure you ask before you pack these items – our hospital provided them for us.
Snacks– Don’t forget snacks. You never know when you are going to deliver. I’ve had two in the middle of the night (think 1 am) and 2 in the middle of the afternoon, one at lunch, one at breakfast, and one at dinner. Think about what happens if you deliver in the middle of the night and you can’t order room service. Trust me, you will be starving after pushing out a baby. My hospital provides refrigerators in every room, so I bring snacks like cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, crackers, cereal, etc. It will be a lifesaver if you delivery outside of typical meal times.
Boppy Breastfeeding Pillow – We didn’t pack it but thought about it. If you are new to breastfeeding, the Boppy might be helpful to have it so the lactation consultant can advise you on how to use it.
Nursing Bra or Tank – If you are breastfeeding, you will want these.
Change of Clothes – You will need clothes for the carride home and they should probably be maternity clothes. I usually look like I’m in the 2nd trimester right after having a baby and these clothes are just way more comfy than trying to fit into anything else.
Your Birth Plan – If you created one, don’t forget to pack it!
Daddy’s Hospital Bag
These are many of the same things that is in your labor and delivery bag. Don’t forget to pack his phone, charger, tablet and headphones to use in case you are napping. He’ll need a change of clothes and pajamas if he plans to room in with you and baby after the delivery. He might be comfy with his own pillow and snacks, too.
Clothes – I only packed two outfits this time one Newborn sized sleeper and one 0-3 month size. Some of our babies have been really big and some average/smallish … However, you could most likely get by with bringing even one NB sleeper. My 8.5 pounder fit into it with a little extra room. So, unless you are expecting a huge baby Newborn sized clothing should fit. I like to have two just in case of a blowout or spit up, etc. You never know with babies. However, we tend to keep the baby in their t-shirt the hospital puts on him until we are ready to leave. This time we brought a T-Shirt with the baby’s name printed on it, as well.
Two receiving/swaddle blankets – One for swaddling in the hospital and one for the trip home (in case of pee/poop/milk accidents). The hospital has always provided one to use while in the hospital, but if you would like a particular color and fabric, definitely bring your own. I bought one from Zoya Fusion Littles off of Etsy and LOVED it. I also like this kind of Muslin Swaddle Blankets Kelham and Cole Muslin Baby Swaddle Blankets (White/Grey) 3 Pack
1 baby hat – Our hopsital provides this for the stay and actually sends us home with one, but if you aren’t sure, I would bring one for the ride home.
1 pair of baby mittens – Our little guy had sharp finger nails these helped keep him from scratching his face.
Nail File/Clippers – You could always bring your baby clippers and files to trim those pesky nails. Or try this!
Socks /booties – depending on the outfit you pack for the car ride home, you might need these items.
Pacifiers – We don’t pack these because we try to get breastfeeding established for the first couple of weeks, however, if you know you will be using them you should sterilize and pack them in your bag. These are my favorite: MAM Newborn Orthodontic Pacifiers.
Baby Shampoo – We don’t pack this, either, but some people don’t like the soap and shampoo the hospital uses because of skin sensitivities or other reasons. So, be sure to pack your own.
Cloth Diapers – Although we like cloth and ues it at home part-time, I just usually use the disposables that the hospital provides. If you know you don’t want to use those, you could pack your own (be sure to include a wet bag and possibly cloth wipes…with some of mine they provided cloth type wipes for baby and other times they provided Pampers Sensitive…I guess you should ask before you go). We love these Thirsties Diaper Cover with prefolds Unbleached Prefold Infant 4x8x4. Also check this out if you are new to cloth diapers: 5 Tips for Cloth Diapering on a Budget
Infant Carseat – Don’t forget your car seat! You can’t go home without one!
And be sure to download your free printable packing list!
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