Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

The Great Big Hospital Bag: What to Pack for Your Labor

As a maternity RN I get to meet a lot of interesting people who are experiencing something big in their lives. It is pretty cool forming temporary intense relationships with patients. I have found that some expecting parents bring a lot of stuff to the hospital. After your baby is born are going to be moments when you will want your partner to go home for a bit and this is the perfect time for them to bring back more things for you and for the baby.

Let's start with the basics! You just need a small bag like a tote or a carry on suitcase. You won't be needing a full size gigantic suitcase or huge hockey duffle bag. I would often give a little smile when I'd see the amount of luggage some expecting parents brought with them. It looked like they might be flying away on a fun two week get away. Unfortunately space is usually tight in the hospital room and we don't have any luggage carts to help you move your belongings. Let's move on with what to pack for labor in a hospital.

A sarong is a great option to tie around you as you move around in your labor. If it gets wet it will dry quickly and it can also be tied over your body, around your waist or even just to cover you if you feel exposed in the shower or bath. I didn't use a sarong but before I went off on maternity leave I did a labor with a girl in a beautiful pink sarong and it worked perfectly! Also pack a tank top that is loose so you can quickly pull it up or off when needed.

Next pack a bath towel from home that you wouldn't be too upset if you happened to lose it. Hospitals will usually supply you with towels but I brought my own. It was big and soft and I am glad that I packed it. It felt familiar and was so much better than the small stingy towels that hospitals provide. Don't forget to bring something you can to tie your hair up with and get it off your face. A stretchy headband and some hair elastics will do the trick. Some small travel sized shampoo and soaps for a nice shower after the baby is born is a nice treat. I found something nice about having some fruity smelling products to use after Ben was born. Less hospital and more normal.

Stash away a lip gloss or chapstick and some little mints. All that breathing makes your mouth so dry and so does puffing away on the nitrous oxide! If you can remember to put in a tooth brush and some tooth paste that's a bonus. Have a few snacks for you and your partner. Think granola bars, jelly beans, prepackaged apple sauce, banana, Gatorade.

There are some extra comforts that will may help you feel cozy. Bring some flip flops that you can wear in the shower as you labor and also around your room and the hallways. Also, bring a pillow from home for both of you because hospital pillows are terrible. Take along a blanket that rolls up small to use initially post partum or for your honey to use. Don't bring the cashmere throw but do bring a little something.

Don't forget to make a list of important phone numbers, a calling card or cell phone and some extra coins. If you want to be super cool and make all your nurses happy pre buy a box of chocolates (not Pot of Gold, please) or a Starbucks gift card. We will treat you the same but we might like you a little bit more.


mama duck said...

andrea! what a lovely labour (i am assuming) photo! what hour of laour was it? ;) you look so beautiful and fresh!!

July 20, 2009 at 11:57 PM  
Mama in the City said...

Awe thanks! This was around hour 10 into 36...not too hard yet but feeling things pretty well. The hard part was only for 8 hours at the end and I do have pictures of that thanks to my husband. However, I won't be posting those ones :) The picture of Ben is when he was fresh out of the oven. Maybe 60 seconds old or less. It is one of my favorite pictures of him as a newborn.

July 21, 2009 at 9:18 AM  
Melanie said...

Nice post and good advice.

July 21, 2009 at 10:16 PM  
Guest said...

I have one other suggestion for the hospital bag...a pair of beautiful nursing pajamas. My mom got me a pair of 'Majamas' before I gave birth to Morgan. It was nice to have something pretty (and functional) to wear in the hospital when people were coming to visit. Also a good choice for a product placement Andrea. They're wonderful pajamas.
Love Lesley

July 22, 2009 at 9:50 AM  
Mama in the City said...

Hey Lesley!
That is a great suggestion. Do you remember coming to visit me 7 hours after Ben was born? I was still in my stinky (literally) purple tank top that I wore through my active labor and a hospital gown like a robe. Nice pajamas would have been an excellent idea! You could write a guest post for an upcoming product placement on your pajamas? Can we see you in a picture modeling them?!!

July 22, 2009 at 8:18 PM  
Heather said...

I like your ideas because you have been on both sides. As a mom who gave birth recently and as a nurse helping all of us mothers give birth too.

July 22, 2009 at 8:49 PM  
Tammy said...

Andrea! You are so cool! I have so been enjoying your writng! your advice and experience is insightful and funny... a little late for me in some cases...but helps me to remember!
keep on writing! You Rock Mama!!

p.s. Your pictures are amazing!

July 23, 2009 at 9:41 PM  
jessieeden said...

Your post is pretty illuminating and practical,I completely agree with the above comment. Thanks for the sharing.Will you share more about it? I just want to know more.You are very talented.I guess, this site would be my farorite one. Thank you again!!!

March 22, 2011 at 11:30 PM  

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