Once that baby is ready to start their life in this world, they don’t usually give much notice beforehand. In no time, you’ll be speeding toward the emergency room, and with all that chaos, you’re more than likely to forget something. That’s why it’s so important to make a plan in advance and prepare your bag before the big day comes. Below is a list of some of the most common things mothers said they needed when they were in labor.
Ok, you can’t tangibly pack a name, but this one is especially common among new parents who want their first child’s name to be a sentimental and symbolic homage to a family member or someone close to them. It’s a good idea for parents to sit down, probably more than once, and come to an agreement on what the baby’s name should be. Don’t go into labor not having the bare essentials fleshed out.
Dad, this is your job. Friends and family will probably want to relive this extraordinary experience with you, so give them the opportunity by documenting the event. I’m not saying you should take any picture that would violate her privacy, but you’ll be happy you’ve recorded these memories, and your child probably will be too once they get older.
Mom, you’ve worked hard enough, the least you could do for yourself is have a bra with the strap up front. Most nursing bras also come with absorbent padding for messy leakage. You’ll probably be thanking yourself for packing this one.
If you’re close to labor, you’re probably already used to wearing big, diabetic socks—swelling is just part of the deal. Those hospitals are cold and your feet are going to be sore, so it’s going to make a big difference to pack a pair of socks with good padding and can keep your feet warm.
Toiletries, including lip balm, hairbrush, shampoo, and deodorant
The latter three go without saying, though I might add that investing in waterless shampoo might be your best bet since it eliminates the hassle. Chapped, dry lips are a common side-effect of the birthing process, so it’s helpful to have lip balm on your side. And since there will probably be a camera staring at you all day, a hairbrush might do you some good, too.
The outfit you enter the hospital with is likely going to be in bad shape, and you certainly don’t want to leave in a hospital gown, so packing a clean, comfortable outfit for your discharge will be a big lifesaver.
Snacks, comfort food
Nobody likes hospital food, and you’ll probably find higher satisfaction in bringing your favorite foods that you enjoy. You might still have those signature cravings, as well.
Baby supplies: pacifier, wipes, nail file
Believe it or not, finger- and toenails start growing while in the womb, so I’ve heard stories of babies actually scratching their faces because their nails were too long. A pacifier and baby wipes are supplementary, though the hospital usually provides these items.
Picture ID, insurance card, paperwork
These are the givens, administrative necessities. Make sure all of your business is in order and any signed documents the hospital requires are completed and ready to be handed in.
If you wear eyeglasses or contacts on a regular basis, you’ll need them when in labor, too. You don’t necessarily need to wear them while giving birth, but you’ll need them eventually.’
This is another one that is frequently forgotten, but you’ll likely be calling most of the people in your contact list, so that smartphone battery is going to drain quickly. Social media is going to want to know, and your text messages are going to be blowing up. Being able to stay plugged in and connected is going to allow friends and family members to experience everything with you.
If you need something from the hospital’s gift shop or have a small emergency, money is good to keep on hand in any situation, whether you’re giving birth or not.
You’re going to be sore, so these pillows that cusp the baby for easier feeding or prop up the neck for heightened support are going to reduce your physical stress quite a bit. Those pesky neck muscles probably won’t want to move after being in labor.
Oh, and congratulations on the new addition to your family!