Whether this is your first pregnancy and you’ve never packed a hospital bag, or it’s your fifth time, it can be a stressful task. Maybe you’ve been putting it off because (let’s face it) delivery is a long way off, and you have other things to worry about! Or maybe you’ve already packed your bag, but there’s a lingering feeling that you’ve forgotten something. Regardless of your situation, we have the essentials right here.
Postpartum care is messy and uncomfortable. There’s no way around it. Hospitals will typically provide things for you like pads, squirt bottles—for your sensitive undercarriage—and mesh underwear, but it’s a good idea to bring your own.
Pack some mesh underwear that you know is comfortable, extra vaginal or nipple pads, ice packs—also for your sensitive undercarriage—and a stomach binder if you’re having a c-section. It’s also a good idea to bring reinforcements for the baby, including extra diapers and wipes.
Comforts of Home
The hospital can and will provide a lot of things for you, but one thing they can’t give you are the comforts of your own home. It’s difficult to predict how long you’ll be in the hospital—even if you’re there for a “normal” length of time, a lot of women say that bringing little pieces of home made their stay much more bearable.
Pack some of your favorite drinks, snacks, or any go-to treats you reach for when relaxing at home. Bring your coziest socks, a pillow you love, or a robe you picked out especially for this occasion! The little things make a huge difference, and while your baby is your top priority, your emotional wellbeing is important, too.
It’s no secret that pregnancy is hard on your feet, but what a lot of women don’t expect is that delivery is too. You might feel uneasy on your feet because of blood loss, pain from delivery, or side effects from various medications. Even if your feet feel completely normal, walking on a cold hospital floor is not exactly a nice feeling.
Pack some slippers or comfortable footwear. This is especially helpful to pack in advance, because you never know when your contractions will start and it’s go time! You could be in winter boots or rollerblades—make sure you have a designated comfy pair for walking around during your hospital stay.
Compression stockings can be helpful, too, especially if you’ve already experienced some swelling in your feet, ankles, and legs, or if you’re expecting a c-section.
Every hospital bag list mentions packing loose, comfortable clothing. That’s great advice, but there’s more to it—what’s comfortable for one woman isn’t as comfortable for another. It’s important to consider what’s comfortable for you.
For example, you might feel more comfortable in tighter fitting pants that will help keep vaginal pads in place. Or you might prefer a tighter top to help support your breasts or keep nipple pads in place. Maybe you want as little fabric touching you as possible! Try to bring something you’ve worn before, that you know you feel relaxed in. If you’re expecting a c-section, remember to be mindful of where your incision will be—you won’t want clothing that’s tight around that area for a few weeks.
Pain medication is a top-priority hospital bag item for every new mom. Labor and delivery wards will supply some medication, but it can be helpful to bring your own. Tylenol or Advil are staples for your bag, not only for you, but for your partner too! Stool softeners can come in handy as well, especially if there’s a possibility for a c-section or episiotomy.
Don’t forget to pack any daily required medication that you or your partner are on! This can include nutritional or dietary supplements and vitamins. In general, try to think about your daily routine and pack those necessities as well.
Ways to Freshen Up
Giving birth is one of the most intense, vulnerable, physically and emotionally demanding experiences you’ll ever have. It’s a good idea to pack some things that might make you feel a little more like yourself once the hard work is done! This could be makeup remover, deodorant, lotion, mints, etc. Your mental well-being is extremely important, so try to take a few minutes for yourself. You’ve been through a lot.
Go ahead and pack any important documents you’ll need for the hospital. This includes your birth plan, health card, hospital registrations, insurance papers, etc. When you leave, the hospital will also give you important documents, so have a designated place to put them.
After you’ve delivered a baby, you’ll be exhausted, sleep-deprived, and emotionally drained—it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with everything. The more organized you can be beforehand, the better you’ll feel throughout the process.
Things for Your Partner
Your hospital bag is priority one of course, but this can often leave your partner scrambling to get their things together once you’re in labor. Scrambling is a great way to forget important things. Your partner’s main job is to support you, and they’ll have a much easier time doing that if they have all of their necessities ready to go.
Make sure they pack basic necessities, but also some entertainment! Odds are both of you will do some waiting around, so it’s a good idea to pack some things to do. A book, a magazine, a deck of cards, or laptop won’t take up too much space in you bag, but will be a nice distraction when you need it.
The most important tip to remember is that the earlier you can start getting your hospital bag together, the better you’ll feel! The second most important tip is not to stress about forgetting something—have friends or family members you can call on to grab you something you forgot, and focus on welcoming your little one into the world.
For more maternity advice and support, contact RMC today.