Your Birthing Checklist – Preparing for the Hospital

Ah! Your water broke. What do you need to bring to the hospital?

Figuring out what to have on-hand or packed and ready to go can be a bit overwhelming. This checklist has been met with a “New Mom’s Seal of Approval” from many of my students:

Photo by Francesco

Photo by Francesco

Things to Bring:

  • Phone list of people to call, cell phone, cell phone charger
  • Camera, flash, battery charger, extra batteries
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste, personal grooming items for you and your partner
  • Your favorite music, you can stream it (on Pandora), or download it on your laptop and bring it with you.  Most hospitals have 24/7 wireless access., so you can keep everyone informed while you are in the hospital.
  • Snacks and drinks for yourself and partner (refrigerators and microwaves are available in the hospital nourishment center on each hallway. Most hospitals are allowing you to drink clear fluids throughout your labor.)
  • Socks, slippers, house shoes/ sandals/or easy “on-off”–footwear is mandatory due to health and safety regulations. (Remember, don’t bring anything that you’re afraid of ruining…Things can be pretty mucky during labor and afterwards.)
  • Robe & nightgown–hospital gowns are available, you may want to wear them for the first day of birth.  If bringing your own gown, bring at least two and make sure that they are easy to pull on and off for skin-to-skin contact.
  • Change of clothes for husband/partner  preferably sweats, a t-shirt, a zip-up jacket and socks to pad around in.
  • Swimsuit/trunks for sharing tub/shower during labor
  • Nursing bras for breastfeeding- get fitted and bring a couple to the hospital.
  • Personal grooming items, hair dryer
  • Pictures of family, pets, or a something that makes you smile to use as a  focal point during labor
  • Maternity clothes to go home in ( Or REALLY stretchy-wear if you “just can’t bear  towear another maternity outfit again”…
  • Ice pack/ rice pack ( Part of my Birthing Basic’s “Comfort Kit”)
  • Hand-held massager (Also part of my Birthing Basic’s “Comfort Kit”)
  • Chapstick (Again, a part of my Birthing Basic’s “Comfort Kit”)
  • Your favorite body/massage lotions
  • Extra pillow(s)
  • Glasses, contacts, contact solution, case for contacts
  • Headband, hair clip
  • Partner should bring routine medications, including antacids, mints/gum and headache meds for themselves

For Baby:
Your hospital will provide everything you need for your baby. Infant supplies include a thermometer, bulb syringe, bath soap, small washbasin, hairbrush, wipes, alcohol pads, and disposable diapers. These supplies can also be taken home. T-shirts, diapers and  receiving blankets are what  hospitals outfit your baby in, use their stuff while you are there that way you don’t have to worry about washing soiled baby clothes. The only outfit you need to bring for baby is what they’ll be wearing home. Packing for your baby is simple:

  • Several diapers
  • Undershirt/ One-sie
  • Gown or stretch suit to go home in and/or a cute outfit for their first photoshoot.  Most hospitals will take professional pictures that you’ll be able to order later on.
  • Hat
  • Booties or Socks
  • Two receiving blankets
  • Bunting, outerwear, or heavy blanket(depending on the season)
  • Car seat – It’s recommended that your car seat is installed before arriving to the hospital, be familiar with how it works prior to discharge. You can have the seat checked  for proper installation at a car seat inspection station. A list of inspection stations can be found at www.nhtsa.gov or www.seatcheck.org.

Other Preparatory “Great Ideas”:

  • Mattress Pad for your bed for now and when you arrive back from the hospital… Having a mattress pad is helpful for two things: 1) While you are pregnant, in case your bag of water breaks while you are sleeping. There’s quite a bit of amniotic fluid in there! 2) Remember “Lochia”?? It may last for up to a month after you deliver and night sweats are pretty common the first few weeks after delivery. A waterproof mattress pad will keep your mattress protected.
  • Buy LONG, OVERNIGHT Feminine hygiene products — tuck a few in your desk for work and have a couple in your car in case you break your bag of water when you are out and about. Plus, you’ll need them for about two to four weeks after you deliver so buy several sized pads: “maxi pads”, “mini pads” and “liners”… Remember, NO TAMPONS while you are having your lochia flow, pads only.
  • In the car have a trash bag and towel ready to go. You can lay it on your seat before you go to the hospital  regardless if you are leaking or not. If you break your bag of water enroute or while you’re out and about, then “hoorah”, you’re prepared!
  • Nursing pads, Soothies® by Lansinoh® Gel Pads and Lansinoh

Lansinoh are wonderful to have at home so you don’t have to worry about going out of the house to buy them when you arrive home from the hospital, you’ll be using them quite a bit the first two weeks at home.

  • Condoms. I see pregnant women getting ready to deliver their second child with their ten-month-old child in tow. Patients are encouraged not to engage in sexual activity until they are “cleared” by their physician at their six week postpartum check up…I’m just sayin’…
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