• Nursing bras. If you’ll be having your baby via cesarean section, pack several of these to last your whole stay.
Nursing pads. The washable ones are nice but how will you launder them
in the hospital? Disposable cotton pads may be more convenient until
• Something to wear in the
hospital—perhaps a pair of soft pajamas with a nice loose top for
breastfeeding. Nursing gowns are nice, too. Bring an extra pair or two.
• Rescue Remedy, arnica, crampbark or After-Ease tincture.
• Going-home outfit and blanket for Baby.
Going-home outfit for Mom. Remember, most women are not going to fit
back into their pre-pregnancy jeans yet . . . or any time soon. It
takes a long time to lose pregnancy weight, so give yourself a break
and pack something very forgiving and comfortable to wear home. That
doesn’t mean you have to go home in pj’s or sweats. What about a nice
pair of yoga pants or some of those second-trimester jeans you haven’t
been able to fit into for a while?
Band or maternity support garment. For the first few weeks after giving
birth, your internal organs will literally be shifting around and
trying to find their way back to where they used to be. Wearing
something that provides gentle support to your abdomen can help make
this a lot more comfortable—and you’ll look smoother under clothes, too.
• Maxi pads, Depends.
• Tucks Pads, hemorrhoid cream (even if you’re confident hemorrhoids won’t happen to you—better safe than sorry!).
• Phone number for lactation consultant or La Leche League.
• Baby journal, birth announcements, reading material, and other things to keep your mind occupied while you’re resting.
DELIVERY AND POSTPARTUM
the items you’ll want in both rooms. You can pack a separate bag for
these or double up on them in each of the other two bags.
• Toothbrushes for you and your partner and toothpaste.
• Your own pillow. Use a recognizable pillowcase so you don’t get it mixed up with the hospital’s pillows.
Camera and/or video camera. Don’t forget batteries, film, and if it’s a
digital camera, a way to download pictures for showing your baby off!
Cell phone or laptop. After the baby’s born, you may want to share news
via social media, ask your virtual friends for baby advice, and/or look
up information on breastfeeding or baby care. And if your labor slows
down, you may welcome the distraction of your favorite applications or
Web sites. You know what they say about a watched pot. . . .
• Lip balm.
Toiletries like deodorant, shampoo, and soap. You’ll want this with you
in both rooms. Sometimes labor goes longer than you’d expect and a nice
shower can help you refresh.
DON’T FORGET THE CAR SEAT
Remember, you’ll need to bring your infant car
seat with you to the hospital. Most hospitals will want to see the car
seat before they will let you leave with the baby! Now is a great time
to read the instructions and practice installing and removing the seat
so that it’s second nature by the time you’re leaving the hospital. You
might also practice with a doll so that you can figure out how all the
clasps work ahead of time. Car seats are often more complicated than
This list is by no means exhaustive. If
there is an item I’ve left off that would bring you comfort while
you’re in the hospital, by all means, bring it. Just remember that
while it may seem like you’re packing for a North Pole expedition,
anything you may forget will be as close as your home or the nearest
pharmacy. The last thing you’ll want to have to worry about while
caring for a new baby is unpacking an enormous suitcase.
Every woman I know has two items that
will come in handy at this time: cosmetic bags and zip-top storage
bags. Keep related items in separate containers so you (or your
partner, doula, or best friend) don’t have to rifle through a big
duffle bag every time you need something. Ziploc makes a really large
bag now that will come in handy for the bulkier categories. Lay
everything out on your bed per each master category above and then
divide them into (what else?) related categories. For example, you
might place your “comfort items” for labor, like massage oil and
heating pads, in one bag, while items you’ll need to use during a
postpartum bathroom trip—say, hemorrhoid cream and maxi pads—should
stay together in another bag for easy grabbing. You’ll know what size
zip-top or cosmetic bag to use. I think most categories are evident,
but if Dad clutches in emotional situations, go ahead and label the
bags for him.