Packing for the Hospital or Birthing Center

Most people want to be well-prepared, packed and ready to go for when the time comes to rush off to the hospital. What a stressful situation to be in if you suddenly went into labor and were running around in a frenzy trying to find the essentials and pick out what outfit the baby will wear home from the hospital, all while you’re going through the pain of contractions. So of course, who wouldn’t want to pack well in advance? The question is: What do you take and what do you leave home?

Most first-time moms will write up a huge list of items and pack a giant duffel bag that’s more of a hassle than anything. Honestly, though who can blame us? I know when I was preparing to go to the hospital I was completely over-packed for the occasion and didn’t use even half the things I had packed. Remember: You aren’t moving in, you’ll only be there one or two days, unless of course you’re having a C-section, which will mean you’ll be staying a while longer.

What to pack:

Make sure you pack some fresh clothes for yourself to wear home, something you know you’ll be comfortable in.

-Pajamas, sweat pants or a night gown will probably be your best bet.

-A hairbrush will be handy or maybe even just a scrunchy to pull your hair out of your face with.

-A toothbrush, though I must admit, brushing my teeth didn’t even cross my mind until I was home.

-An outfit or two for baby to wear home. Make sure it’s an outfit that will keep baby warm, especially if he or she will be born in the winter or fall months!

-Slippers or sandals, something easy for you to slip on when it’s time for you to go home.

– Undergarments for yourself.  A nursing bra is handy if you plan on breast-feeding.

-Receiving blankets to swaddle the baby in.

You may also want to pack some diapers, though most hospitals provide a package of newborn diapers and wipes. Also, some hospitals provide car seats but if your hospital doesn’t provide a car seat, you can’t forget to bring your own!

What to leave home:

-Baby books. You won’t them need them. There are plenty of nurses at the hospital and most are willing to help you with any questions you may have about your new baby or yourself.

-Makeup, don’t waste the space. No one is expecting you to get up and put it on, you’ll be much to exhausted.

-Bottles. Though you’ll want to have plenty of bottles at home (if you’re planning on bottle feeding your baby), most likely the hospital will have an infant bottle for your baby. If you’re planning on breast-feeding there will be a nurse there to walk you through that as well.

-Hobbies. If you think you’ll get bored and you’ll need a sketch pad or a hand-held game, think again. You won’t be waiting around bored ready to be released from the hospital, time will fly by so fast you won’t even know where it went. Labor is very tiring and you’ll be so worn out that all you’ll want to do is sleep at any given chance, and the chances will only come around every few hours because your baby has to eat every 1-3 hours. Catch all the shut-eye you can.

The list of what to not bring could go on and on. Many people will convince themselves that they’ll absolutely need something and then when they’re actually in the hospital, they’ll completely forget what they even packed. Stick to the essentials, if you bring a bunch of things you “want” rather than “need” you’ll just have a lot more stuff to unpack when you get home.