WHAT TO PACK FOR THE HOSPITAL

Make sure when you are packing for the hospital, you are thinking about what you will need with you to be as comfortable as possible. You may want to take a few items, such as your own pillow or birth ball to make the environment more comfortable and less clinical.  Some women will bring a birth plan--especially if a doctor is their care provider. There are some good templates for birth plans and it is always helpful to have a conversation with your midwife or doctor to understand what  your hospital policy's are when you are making your plan.  Sometimes, changing the language around 'Birth Plan' to 'Birth Hopes' can help us remain flexible and open to the things we don't always have control over as we birth our babies.
 
For Labour

  • Bathrobe. Can be useful when walking in labour and you'll want a robe to wear for after the baby is born. 
  • Slippers or Flip Flops
  • Socks. You can always take them off if your feet are hot.
  • A nightgown or a T shirt. It is nice to have something of your own to wear if you don't like hospital gowns.
  • Massage oil or lotion if you would like to be massaged during your labour.
  • Lip balm. Your lips tend to dry out in labour.
  • Snacks and drinks for you while you are in labour. Hydrating drink mixes added to water are great.
  • Playing cards are useful if you have to be there early.
  • A headband or elastic. If you have long hair, you might want it tied up.
  • TENS pain relief machine, if you are planning to use one. If you don't own one, you can usually rent one.
  • Toiletries. You will want to wash your hair and brush your teeth after you have given birth.
  • Music. Remember your charger. Some hospitals won't let you plug things in, so having your ipod or device charged first can be important.

Your birth partner may also want

  • Labour Spritzer, or a hand-held fan to help keep you cool when you are in labour.
  • Comfortable shoes. It can be a long day!
  • A change of clothes
  • A contraction app on their phone.
  • Bathing Suit. Important if they are going to join you in the shower or birth pool. 
  • A mobile phone or a camera for those very first photos.
  • Phone Numbers of all the people you want to call after baby is born.
  • Snacks and drinks. You don't want a dehydrated, hungry birth partner looking after you and if you take some with you, they can stay with you rather than leaving the room to search for food!

For after the birth

  • Nursing shirt or tank.
  • Nursing bras. More than one is nice.
  • Breast pads. Reusable organic cotton or bamboo are the best.
  • Natural, organic nipple balm.
  • Maxi pads. Often supplied by the hospital, but if you have a preference, best to bring your own.
  • Witch Hazel for helping with soothing both your perineum and any hemorrhoids you may have.
  • Arnica to help with bruising after the birth. 
  • Toiletries. Hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Old underwear, or disposable panties if the hospital doesn't supply them. 

For your baby

  • An infant car seat. Some hospitals won't let you leave by car without one.
  • Outfit for the trip home.
  • Two or three sleepers for baby to wear while you are in hospital.
  • Baby blanket. Take a warm one if the weather is cold.
  • Diapers if the hospital does not supply.
  • One pair of socks or booties. Scratch mitts may come in handy too.
  • Hat