Babycenter was sending me emails at my 36 week mark asking me if I had everything in my hospital bag, making me feel super last minute since I had absolutely nothing packed. At around 38 weeks I decided that it was time to start gathering the goods. I think I almost feared doing so in worries that it would potentiate labor-and I’m always a baby when it comes to ending my pregnancy-pardon the pun.
I first sat down and thought long and hard about what I needed at the hospital, what I wanted at the hospital, what I wished I had last time, what I never even used last time, and on and on and on. When I finished brain storming I put pen to paper until my list was complete, and then I went to packing. To be perfectly honest, the only thing I NEED is my lady parts, but a whole lot of other things make the experience a lot more comfortable, and so, they were chucked in the bag!
How cute is this bag? It’s my new favorite tote! It also served as my “labor” bag. The Vera Bradley behind it is my “postpartum” bag. I like to have two distinctly different bags for each, because I will more than likely be requesting things out of the labor bag from other people (i.e. Ben, my mom, his mom) and I need it to be sparse, and organized. Also, lots of hospitals have you labor and deliver in one room and then move you to another for the postpartum period, so it’s good to have separate bags so that if you are in a super rush, you can just grab your labor bag from the car and go!
Lets peek inside of my labor bag, shall we?
Snacks are a must in my labor bag. Pomegranate infused Craisins mixed with unsalted cashew pieces has been my jam lately. There’s usually this weird limbo between the “I’m starving like Marvin from giving birth” and “Here’s your food tray” or “Here is your fast food haul”, so you want to be prepared for that-plus if your labor goes long, your labor mates might get HANGRY and need some light snacking. You know, from all that pushing that they’re doing 😉 But really, sitting in a room for hours while someone you love lays on a bed, sort of in pain (or a lot in pain) can’t be the funnest thing in the world…kudos to the people that do this!
My aunt had made a batch of homemade cinnamon suckers for me, since I had been craving them at the end of this pregnancy, so I found it fitting to share those with my nursing team as a thank you for taking care of me and baby. I attached little notes to each sucker and handed them out to the staff before they changed shift.
My postpartum bag contained the same old things you would imagine, for example: pajamas that you can unbutton to access your breasts every few hours (this satin sleep shirt is THE BOMB. It’s super cheap too, please buy it, you won’t regret it), a real nursing bra, toiletries (pack the good stuff, you will want a nice pampering shower following that very sweaty, very bloody event), a blow-dryer (if your hospital doesn’t provide one) and flat iron, a phone charger, your favorite pillow, and clothes/toiletries for your partner/husband.
I made ya’ll a “checklist” to help you pack next time you have to head to the hospital for a delivery! You can access the printable version here.
To clear up a few things that may be foggy in the labor bag:
-The olive oil is to save your “gina” as Hattie calls it. Look it up. It’s called “ironing the perineum” or ” perineal massage”.
-Quarters are to feed your husband’s antsy legs. He’s going to want to get out. And the vending machine will be like the light at the end of the tunnel. Make sure you have some quarters for that fine young chap.
-I had a bookmark on the page in my baby book where the baby’s foot-prints and hand-prints go. If you advise someone ahead of time to rip that puppy out when the nurses are doing the hospital’s prints, they’ll usually gladly mark your book for you too, that way you don’t have to deal with ink once you get home. Or so that you don’t forget to do it and remember when your baby is 6 months old and their paws don’t fit in the pre-printed box on the page anymore-because you know it happens…
-Don’t waste your space on pads, Tucks pads, mesh panties, dermoplast or anything like that. These are incidentals that will be included in your hospital stay, so use the ones they give you. Unless you HAVE to have your certain kind. I did however bring my own stool softener and Motrin, because I find that liquid children’s Motrin works quickly and efficiently for me if I decide that I need a little something to help with those involution cramps and, and I’m anal about taking my stool softeners ASAP so that I’m ready for that first…ahem…movement. (Be careful about medicating yourself while in the hospital though, you will want to let your nurse know when you take something of your own so that they don’t double up a dosage or give you things that will interact) If you make your own sprays with essential oils or things like this make sure you bring it! You will totally want to have that with you!
-I like to have a notebook with me in case I want to write down visitors names, or gifts, or record the baby’s nursing schedule-just anything that requires paper really!
-Buy travel sized toiletry containers, and fill them up with your favorite products so that you can pamper yourself after delivery. Everything is so swollen and bloody and sore following your labor, and that first shower feels like HEAVEN. Having all of your favorite things to clean up with is so deserved, don’t forget the lotion! I also include body spray in my bag, or an eau de toillette rather than an eau de parfum because baby will be on your chest a lot and you don’t want to irritate their little nasal passages with a strong scent. Something light is a much better idea!
-The hospital will more than likely provide you with a few diapers and wipes for your stay, but you will want to have your diaper bag prepared for the trip home. I used our Honest diapers on my little mister from his first bum coverage, so I wanted to make sure I had those with me for that. I also hate socks that fall off of infants, so I read reviews until I found a pair that promised to stay on, so I wanted to make sure to have those little tid-bits in my diaper bag for our stay.
-I didn’t find out my baby’s gender, but I wanted to have some special items with me at the hospital so I made a gift box for each gender. The girl’s box contained a custom blanket that I designed, printed, and sewed myself, a monogrammed Onesie (with her initials), an adorable knit hat, a couple of Christmas headbands, and a ribbon monogrammed with her name to add to the wreath that I made for the hospital door. The boy’s box had a custom blanket as well, a monogrammed Onesie, a monogrammed knotted hat, and a monogrammed ribbon for the wreath. I know that the girl’s box was left completely unused but I will save it for our next pregnancy (if it’s a girl!) and I really wanted to have some special things for our babe from the get-go, so it was totally worth it!
and because I’m way overly prepared, my labors are short, and our hospital is 45 minutes away, I made an emergency car bag for the off chance that we had a roadside delivery! I packed it all in a book sack and made sure it rode in my car at all times in the days leading up to my delivery….I know it seems silly but should I have started pushing on the side of the interstate it would have been extremely useful!
plastic tablecloth to catch the mess | towels | receiving blankets | bulb syringe | hemostats and scissors | alcohol pads
Everyone’s hospital experience is totally individualized and one person’s needs are going to be so different from another’s. I think it is so interesting to hear other people’s prep plans, because nesting mom’s have a sixth sense, I swear. I left a blank space at the bottom of the printable page for your own notes, should you need to write in something like “birth plan” or “contact lenses and glasses”. I really used this for my own packing, and tried to standardize it as much as possible, but it’s still a total “Amber List”. I hope that it can help relieve some of the “I have no idea what to pack stress”!
I’ll be back soon with super gross labor photos followed by super adorable baby photos, because I know you’re itching to see em’!