Hospital Bag Essentials For Expectant Parents
Amid the excitement of preparing to welcome a baby into the family, expectant parents shouldn’t forget to pack a hospital bag. It’s generally recommended that your bag is ready to go by week 35 of your pregnancy, but life can sometimes bring the unexpected, so prepping earlier is probably wise. Some parents start packing hospital necessities when the third trimester is beginning—around week 27. If you need to shop for additional items, especially online, give yourself extra time. For tips on what to pack, nurturing YOU naturally offers the following.
Start with the basic necessities.
There are some items you simply must have with you. You need your ID and your health insurance cards. Make copies of your identification and health care information for your hospital bag or create a reminder to bring them before you set off. If you have made a birth plan, include a copy in your bag as well. Don’t forget to bring a phone and charger, both for taking photos and for keeping in touch with loved ones.
Important items for new moms.
You will be provided with a hospital robe when you check-in, but if you prefer to wear your own delivery gown, choose one that is comfortable, allows for easy movement and access, and suits your style. Also, remember that childbirth can get messy, so your gown may not remain pristine for the duration of labor. For after labor and delivery, you will want clothing that is functional and comfortable. A nursing bra and nursing gown are at the top of the list of must-haves. If you prefer pajamas over gowns, get ones with loose, stretchy bottoms, since your belly won’t deflate immediately, and might be tender. The hospital will provide socks as well, but you may prefer to bring your own, as well as slippers with good traction for when you are able to get up and walk around.
Other items conducive to comfort during and after labor include lip balm, moisturizing cream, earplugs, an eye mask, and some form of entertainment, whether a book, a tablet with games or shows on it, or music. You may also want to bring your own toiletries.
When it’s time to go home, new moms will want comfortable underwear and a going-home outfit that allows for ease of movement. Remember that sometimes you will be going home with heavy pads for any post-partum bleeding, so the more undies, the better.
Birthing partners may want to be prepared as well, with snacks, bottled water, a change of clothes, and their own toiletries. If you have room, pack a pillow, in case the labor progresses slowly and you need periods of rest in between supporting your partner.
Important items for baby.
While it may be tempting to pack all the adorable infant outfits you’ve picked out over the past few months, all you need is a simple one-piece outfit that allows for easy diapering. In hot weather, dress your baby in a onesie to avoid overheating. In colder weather, put them in long-sleeved footies and swaddle well. The hospital will probably give you blankets, but you might want to bring your own swaddling blanket. Additionally, no matter the weather, you will want to have a hat to protect your baby’s head. As for diapers, the hospital will also provide these, unless you are planning on using cloth diapers. In which case, be sure to pick some out that are designed for newborns, and that have leak protection.
While much about labor and delivery is beyond your control, you can still be prepared and alleviate stress by ensuring that you are equipped with items to help childbirth and your time at the hospital go as smoothly as possible.
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