What to pack when you’re having a baby
The amazing thing about having a baby is that you come equipped with everything necessary for the job. What you don’t have, the doctor or midwife will supply. The rest are just perks. That said, those perks are likely to make your delivery and hospital stay infinitely more pleasant. And one thing’s for sure: after delivering that baby, you deserve a pleasant hospital stay.
Since you’re flying solo, it’s a good idea to be thorough when packing; if you’re on the fence about taking something, just toss it your duffel bag. But don’t worry if you forget stuff or find you need things you didn’t anticipate—you’ll have plenty of visitors and they’ll be happy to fill in your packing gaps.
- Birth plan: If you have one, now’s definitely the time to have it handy.
- Gum or sucking candies: You probably won’t be allowed to eat much while in active labor at the hospital, and these might hit the spot.
- Lip balm: Hospitals can feel like the Sahara. Add a lot of panting, and you may find yourself in desperate need of lip balm.
- Music, magazines, books, movies: There will probably be some downtime where you’ll want effortless distraction. Give yourself a bunch of options.
- ID and insurance info.
- Cash (including change for vending machine).
For your hospital stay
- Snacks: There are limits to what vending machines can supply. Have your favorite snack on hand.
- Pillow: After labor and delivery, you deserve a decent cushion for your tired head. Put on a colored pillowcase so you don’t leave it behind.
- PJs and robe or sweater (in case it’s cold): When else can you get away with receiving guests in your PJs? Enjoy it.
- No-slip socks.
- Flip flops: The last thing you need postpartum is athlete’s foot.
- Nursing bra: Make sure you get one that is a little large, because once your milk comes in, you’ll need the extra room.
- Nursing pads: You may not need them, but they don’t take up much room.
- Nipple cream: You’ll probably need something to soothe sore nipples in the first few days after delivery. Lanolin works, and olive oil does the trick too!
- Underwear: The oldest, ugliest kind you have. Trust us.
- Extra-strength maxi pads: Your hospital will provide some, and they may be the industrial-strength stuff you need, but you won’t know until you get there, so bring your own just in case.
- Ear plugs: You may share your room and there’s no telling what the noise level of your roommate, her guests, and her baby will be.
- Phone charger: You can use your phone for about a million different things, but not if it runs out of battery.
- Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, and nice soap are little luxuries with big pay off.
- Going home outfit: Make it a maternity one.
- Diapers and wipes
- Receiving blanket
- Car seat
- Going home outfit
Image via Shutterstock.com
Nicole C. Kear, is the author of Now I See You: A Memoir, recently published by St. Martin’s Press. Kear, who lives in New York City, is also an editor, speaker, and mother of three.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.