By Jak Burke,
My friend’s mother had a small case kept tucked beneath the bed. When it was time for her to go to hospital to give birth she would quietly pull it out and fill it with things that she knew she would need. It was a quiet private affair and a ritual that marked the beginning of another birth journey.
Today we are more open and vocal about our birth journey and there are tons of products designed to make a new mom’s experience comfortable. The problem is: deciding what is necessary and what isn’t. Here are our top 10 essential items for your hospital bag (and 10 for your partner’s).
- Find a bag! You needn’t buy a special “hospital” bag. A small travel case with a strap or wheels will do. You will want to pack your bag at least 3-weeks prior to your due date, just in case you start early.
- Underwear – comfortable cotton undies that are not tight. Bring extra pairs. Pads to absorb fluids. Try to source non-bleached non-scented pads that won’t cause any irritation.
- Bring an i-pod or mini i-pad loaded with soothing or distracting music or white noise. Labor can take a long time and you will want to occasionally take your mind elsewhere. You might also want to load a few audio books, or pack a short novel and magazines.
- Bedwear – 1-2 comfortable night-gowns, a dressing-gown, slippers and cozy socks.
- Nursing bras – bring along two different types so that you can make a choice.
- Personal-care – bring along a small beauty bag (waterproof) that you can pop in some travel-sized, natural skin-care products: moisturizer, lip-balm, shampoo/conditioner, small hair brush, toothpaste, mouth-wash and tooth-brush. One small hand towel and one medium sized towel. Remember to bring along eye-glasses and contact lens supplies.
- Baby-stuff – bring a small pack of simple cotton onesies (long-sleeved and legged) some newborn diapers, travel sized wipes, bottom cream, skincare products like gentle cleaning. Also bring along a cardigan or coat and hat for baby.
- Warm blanket for baby when you leave the hospital.
- A clean change of clothes to go home in.
- Labor support items: tennis balls for using on the back, massage oil. After-birth comfort: a cushion to sit on.
For your partner
Your partner or birth partner (doula, friend) can bring along other essential items:
- Fully-charged camera, cellphones and chargers
- Birth plan
- Health insurance papers
- Important phone numbers
- Their own items: outfit, skin-care, personal hygiene
- Bottles of water
- Petty cash and credit card
- A stop-watch or regular watch for timing contractions
- Book to read if mom naps
What went in your hospital bag?