One of the things I like to do once I hit the third trimester is get my hospital bag ready. You never know when "the moment" arrives so it's better to be prepared in advance than to leave everything last minute.
I thought I should share with all my readers some of the things that I've found to be great to have packed. Of course, some people prefer taking tons of stuff with them and others only want the bare essentials. I fall somewhere in the middle. I like to have the essentials with me as well as a few extra things.
Here's my my version of Hospital Bag Essentials For Mom.
1. Insurance Information/ Birth Plan : Insurance Information is vital to have with you. Make sure this is one of the first things that goes into your bag. You don't want to arrive at the hospital and realize you've forgotten it. Not everyone has a Birth Plan but for those that do, go ahead and put this together with your Insurance Information. This way you have both of the most important documents together in one place.
2. Camera : You'll want to have a picture of that first moment with your little one so make sure that the battery is charged and the camera is packed right away. Personally, I loved the fact that we were allowed to have the camera on hand to take pictures of our little Baby J. as soon as he was born. So, in my book camera rates second in importance of being put into the hospital bag.
3. Cell Phone & Charger: Believe me, you'll want to be able to inform your closest friends and family that the little one has arrived. Make sure your cellphone gets charged each day so when the moment arrives you can let people know without freaking out about the low battery. I'd suggest bringing along the charger to the hospital. After all those phone calls you'll want to recharge your phone.
4. Change: Loads and loads. You'll need lots of change. Some births can take a long time to actually happen and others happen very quickly but still, somewhere between arriving at the hospital and leaving the hospital you'll get thirsty and hungry. Take advantage of the snack machine, just remember to pack some extra change.
5.Headband/ Ponytail Holder : You'll want to avoid having clips in your hair. They tend to either slide out or poke you during the birth. And believe me, you'll be under enough pain and pressure without having something poking you in the head.
6. Toiletries/ Personal Items: These can range from : toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, make-up (if you have the energy), contacts & case, eyeglasses, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, lip balm, face wash. For each women this little personal list varies. For myself all I brought along was : shampoo, body wash, lip balm, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and my eyeglasses.
I would suggest asking at your first hospital visit what exactly the hospital provides, it will help you avoid over-packing.
7. Extra Absorbent Pads/ Underwear : You WILL stain. Make sure to bring along some extra underwear. Most hospitals will actually provide you with the pads but I would suggest packing some of your own. You might find the hospital ones not to your liking and be better off using the ones you brought along.
8. Maternity (Nursing) Bras/Pads/ Nipple Cream: You might not want to breastfeed but either way, have some along with you. You will still end up producing milk and you'll want to be comfortable and avoid leakage. If you forget to take anything else with you, you'll survive but DO NOT FORGET YOUR NIPPLE CREAM!! This will be a life savior if you decide to breastfeed or pump!
9. Robe: Some hospitals provide you one but most don't. Unless you want to be walking with your behind peeking out from the back of the hospital gown, make sure to bring along a robe. Plus, it will come in handy after the birth as well.
10. Yoga pants/t-shirt/nightgown : After the birth you might enjoy slipping back into your own clothes. Bring along some roomy yoga pants and a lose t-shirt. Or maybe you prefer a nightgown. Either way pack it. You'll still be in a little pain and will want to avoid anything too tight.
11. Coming home outfit : Go ahead and pack your coming home outfit as well. Usually, the hospital rooms will have a small closet/locker you can use to store your stuff. So, plan ahead and bring your going home outfit as well.
12. Bath towel : Once again, usually hospitals provide these but personally, I've found the hospital ones to be very thin. Therefore, to avoid frustration I suggest packing your own. But remember bring along one you don't mind getting dirty.
13. Slippers/ Socks : You might feel a little cold after the birth (due to blood loss) make sure to bring along some socks. Slippers will be needed for walking, just make sure you don't mind getting them all dirty.
14. A book/ magazine / MP3 : This is extra, it's not a must. You might find you have just a little bit of time on your hands either waiting for real labor to start or after the heavy work is already done and baby is sleeping. Either way, pack something light...I would not suggest War and Peace.
This is my version of everything that you'll need to bring with you, as the mom. Like I mentioned above you might feel that in order to be completely comfortable you'll need your own pillow- take it. Or you might not want to bring anything extra - then don't pack a book. Every woman's needs are different and each will pack just a little bit differently. That's fine.
This list is mostly just the essentials that you will need. Like I've mentioned many times above the hospital provides a variety of items; make sure to ask what exactly it is they provide if you want to avoid over-packing or in some cases packing too little.
I hope you'll find this list was helpful. Leave me a comment below of what other items you think are essential for your hospital bag!