The big day is coming soon and it’s time to pack your hospital bags! Baby will be arriving any day and of course you want to have everything you will need. Every time I am at the hospital, I see families wheeling giant suitcases and lugging birth balls through the parking lot for their stay.  And although, like a boy scout, you want to BE PREPARED, maybe quite so much stuff is not necessary!

Here’s a concise list of what you will actually need:

LABOR SUPPLIES – Pack one side pocket or small bag with the items that you might like to have handy while you are laboring. Make sure your support people know exactly where these are kept so they don’t have to rifle through your personal items to find them. Here are some things that we like to include in our labor kits for our clients or bring with us as support items:

  • Lip balm
  • A pretty hand fan for cooling you off
  • Small LED candles for atmosphere
  • Non-slip socks
  • Essential oils for scent – lavender for relaxation, peppermint for nausea and citrus for energy
  • Make up remover pads to put the essential oil on (most hospitals don’t allow diffusers!)
  • Massage tools – tennis balls in a sock or a small drug store massager – one should be plenty
  • Mints to keep everyone’s breath fresh during long hours of work
  • Honey sticks or lollipops to suck on for quick energy
  • Your phone, tablet or laptop to with playlist of music to labor to

PERSONAL SUPPLIES – Pack the larger pocket of your bag with your personal items! If you are comfortable using the hospital’s gowns you won’t need much clothing. Perhaps a robe you can wear to walk down the hall, your own gown or oversized T shirt if you want to stay in your own clothes. Some women enjoy having a loose pair of shorts to wear under their gown. Other essentials you may want to bring are:

  • Undies and socks
  • A nursing bra or sports bra
  • A going home outfit (Or to keep it simple, just go home in what you came in)
  • Your basic make up for photos, comb or brush, shampoo, deodorant
  • A hoodie, seater or robe to take the chill off if you feel cold

BABY SUPPLIES – Pack the other side pocket with your baby’s essentials! You will only need to bring their going home clothes or perhaps a cute outfit you want to dress them in to send text or email photos.  Essentials to pack for baby are:

  • A going home outfit
  • One light blanket in summer, a heavier one or two light blankets for winter
  • A car seat to go home in (make sure the base is properly installed in the car and bring the bucket seat in with you)
  • A hat (the post-birth hat the nurses will put on baby will often be a bit messy – a clean one for going home is nice)

C-SECTION SUPPLIES – If you are having a planned Cesarean birth, you will be staying a bit longer in the hospital. Here are a few extra items you might also want to bring:

  • A binder or belly wrap – the hospital will have one for you, if you do not have one. If you do, be sure to mention it before the surgery!
  • A notebook so you can begin right away to keep track of your pain medications and what time you are taking them – it will make it a lot easier to keep on track once you get home!
  • Leggings or a form-fitting, tight-waisted pant to wear home – the extra pressure of the waistband gives you more security and keeps the belly band or binder in place on the way home.

WHAT YOU DON’T NEED TO BRING – Don’t waste valuable luggage space bringing in things you don’t need! Every Albuquerque hospital has birth balls and peanut balls available so no need to lug yours through the parking lot. Your postpartum pads for bleeding, new underwear and a peri bottle will be provided for you. Your baby will be given a hat, onesie and blankets and there are lots of diapers and wipes available for you to use.  There are also breast pumps available!

WE ARE HERE TO HELP! Please feel free to always email or call your doula for advice on what to pack for the big day. We love helping you plan!