Packing for the Hospital
There are at least a few things you will need to take with you to the hospital or birthing center when it is time to have your baby. This will vary depending on the facility. Be sure to take a tour of the labor and postpartum rooms before your due date. Ask the staff what they'd recommend you bring and what you can leave home. Do they have a birth ball you can use in labor, or do you need to bring your own? Do they provide music, lotion, or massage tools? Also ask before you bring personal items like hair dryers, as most places will supply you with one. If you'd like to bring a special item like a stuffed animal or a framed photo, feel free to do so.
Can I bring candles to light during labor?Candles are not allowed in most hospitals because of the medical equipment and potentially flammable items found there. Some birth centers may have different policies. Be sure to ask. If you can't bring candles, ask about air fresheners and scented lotions if you'd like a certain scent in your room.
Most mothers-to-be worry that they'll forget something when they pack for the hospital. Save yourself the stress! You likely won't forget anything important, and if you do, your husband, a family member, or a friend can easily go back and get it for you. Don't try to stuff everything you own into your suitcase. Don't worry about packing a lot of food, either—a few granola bars and some dried fruit will suffice. Your family can bring you snacks, and some hospitals and birth centers even have kitchen facilities where a family member can make you your favorite meal. That sure beats hospital food! Just be sure to check with your hospital or birth center first.
So, now that you know what not to bring, what items should you pack? Here's a general list of essentials to include in your suitcase:
Clothes to wear in labor
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Massage tools, including lotions or oil
Birth ball, if not provided
Baby book, if you're keeping one
Camera, batteries, and film or memory card
Phone numbers of friends you'd like to call
Nursing gown and bra
Car seat for baby
Going-home outfit for baby
When packing for labor and birth, pack two suitcases. One should be for labor and include anything that you would need during your labor and the first few hours after birth. The second suitcase can remain in the car until you're in your postpartum room. This should contain extra clothes, going-home outfits, and other items that aren't essential for labor. Remember, someone can bring you anything you forget to pack.