The main question you should ask yourself when packing is, “What makes me or my partner comfortable?”
• Birthing plan: Do you have all of your wants and desires written down to give to the hospital staff upon your arrival? Does your partner know what they are? Make sure you and your partner have discussed this beforehand, so they know how best to support you.
• Comfortable labour clothes: As sexy as hospital gowns are, you need to make sure that what you’re labouring in is comfortable for you. This might end up being your naked self, but many women choose to labour in a comfortable skirt, dress or nightgown. Make sure your birthing partner has comfortable clothes too!
• Slip-on shoes or slippers
• Cell phone charger
• Labor necessities: Are you going to want music? Pack it! Do you want a diffuser going with a calming blend of essential oils? Did you make any birth art? Make sure to bring it along. If you are planning on using a birthing ball or any other birthing accessories make sure the hospital or birthing center provides them, or that you’re allowed to bring your own.
• Clothes to go home in: Just make sure you both have some clothes packed for the trip home. Don’t forget clothes for your new bundle of joy!
• Car seat: Have the baby’s car seat strapped in the car and ready to go.
• Healthy snacks: Have some good snacks set aside. Your birthing partner might need some nourishment as they’re supporting you. You also might need something depending on how labor is going. It’s nice to have things you’re familiar with, rather than gambling on whatever the hospital or vending machine might have to offer.
• Nursing supplies: Have your nursing bra ready to go. Also, do you plan on using the medicated nipple cream the hospital will provide, or do you have your own nipple cream that you’re planning to use?
• Entertainment: Sometimes labor can be long and even boring, especially if you’re planning on getting an epidural or if you end up with one. Bring whatever movies, books or games you might want to pass the time.
• Sleeping essentials: Do you or your partner absolutely have to have something make sleeping comfortable, like a body pillow or sound machine? If so, don’t count on them being provided. Bring your own, so you can be as comfortable as possible.
• Toiletries: Childbirth can get messy. Have your toothbrush, deodorant, soap, shampoo and conditioner on hand for after the event. You might also consider makeup and stuff to do your hair if you’re particular about your looks.
• Pads and instant ice packs: The hospital will provide you with pads for your postpartum bleeding, but are you going to like what they have to offer? If you’re picky about this, plan on bringing your own chlorine-free pads. Instant ice packs are incredibly soothing to place on your vagina after giving birth.
• Diapers: Again, the hospital provides diapers during your stay. Do you want your baby in their diapers, or are you planning on using chlorine-free or cloth diapers? Bring your own.
Having each and every detail thought through before you go into labour will help give you peace of mind when the time actually comes. Childbirth is going to be a different experience for every person. Make sure you have what you need to feel comfortable and safe. The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the more pleasant the whole experience will be for you, your partner and your baby.