You’re heading to the hospital, bag packed with necessities to get you through labor and delivery as comfortably as possible, but do you have what you REALLY need? Choosing items to bring with you can make a huge difference in your birth experience. When I was in labor with my first son, I remember walking the halls of the hospital in my red flannel bathrobe. I felt huge, awkward and frankly, terrified, (Am I the only one who had the overwhelming urge to flee upon being admitted to the hospital in labor?!) but being wrapped up in my familiar robe made me feel comforted. In fact, even now, 14 years later, that memory is still extremely vivid when I think of his birthday.
Below, we’ll cover three practical “must-haves” when giving birth, as well as some more obscure, but really awesome, “would-love-to-haves” that we discovered when interviewing members of our CMB team.
Phone/camera and chargers – My sons are 14 and 10, so when I gave birth, cell phones were not the mini computers they are now. We had a phone with us, yes, but I’m pretty sure it was a flip phone and only used to actually CALL people. Today, we are blessed to have smartphones that take amazing pictures and videos. Trust me, you’re going to want all the photographs and videos you can get of your baby’s sweet face in his/her first moments of life. OK, you might not want your in-laws there with their phones videotaping the actual arrival of your baby INTO the world, but you get my drift. Take pictures. Have your partner take pictures. Include yourself in the pictures, no matter how bad you think you look. You and your family will want to look back on those precious, irreplaceable moments.
Comfortable clothes/comfort items for Mom – I mentioned my bathrobe already. I also brought my favorite knockaround pants that I wore throughout my pregnancy. They were pretty sad to look at, but they were comfortable – and comforting. When I finally got that first shower after giving birth and slipped into (well, lumbered into, was more like it), my old standbys, I felt like a new woman. Bring clothes that make you feel comfortable and comforted. If a new set of jammies would do it for you, go for it, but remember, you will be post-partum and experiencing bleeding, so don’t bring anything you would be devastated to have stained.
When you’re packing your items, don’t forget clothes for your sweet baby! The hospital will, of course, provide onesies and blankies for the baby, but you’ll want a cute outfit or two. Oh, and bonus, The Christ Hospital Birthing Center provides fuzzy socks for you. No chilly feet for Mama!
Birth preferences and insurance/doctor information – Make sure you or your partner has all of your paperwork, including phone numbers for your doctor and your baby’s pediatrician, in your hands when you come to the hospital. You’re not going to want to be having contractions and searching on your phone for the necessary numbers at the same time!
Bonus “would-love-to-haves” from the Cincinnati Moms Blog team:
Snacks. All the snacks. (Moms everywhere agree!)
You’ll need them and your partner will definitely need them! Save him multiple trips to the vending machine and pack some munchies.
Shampoo/conditioner/special body wash
That first shower after Baby will feel so much nicer if you have your own toiletries.
Make sure to put these in colorful cases so they’re easy to distinguish from the hospital’s bedding.
If you’re not too exhausted, you might want to read while you’re up in the middle of the night feeding your new little one. Or, even if you’re too busy gazing into that little face to even think about reading, your partner might want to bring some to keep him entertained.
Hospitals are dry and chapped lips can make you miserable!
Disposable post-partum undies
Always and Depends both have versions of these and our moms swear by them.
Some of our moms insisted on clean-shaven legs throughout their pregnancy. Others, not so much, but if you’re one of those who feels worlds better without the stubble, toss a razor into your go bag.
Day of pampering
This isn’t an item to bring to the hospital, but it’s an idea we loved. Schedule a day of pampering for you, including hair, nails, a massage, whatever you enjoy, either before or a month or so after Baby’s birth. Mom deserves a treat!
And finally, as tough as this one is, try your best to do as Jennifer advises…
“Bring realistic expectations. You can plan all you want and the universe will have its own agenda. You have to be ready to roll with it.”