Packing For your birth

Preparing a birth bag / kit includes necessary items in order to remain comfortable in a new environment and birthing space, be it at home or birth center / hospital. When in labor, its a good feeling to know you already have everything; imagine getting settled into your room or home birth space and realizing that you have forgotten your phone charger, pool pump or birth affirmations board, you'd need to send a friend / family member out to retrieve it. Often, the focus is on labor getting started and preparing a bag can be done hastily and miss essential items.

 

Ideally, you will want to have your bags packed and ready to go by week 36 of pregnancy, in the event that you go into labor prematurely, or should you require a medically indicated induction. For multiple babies or known pregnancy risks that could cause early induction, maybe planning to be packed up a couple weeks earlier will give you peace of mind.Take a look below and add to this list as necessary!

Your midwife will typically give you a list for your home birth kit, here is a link to the most common prepared kits to make the preparations a little simpler for you:

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Mama's bag

  • ID, Insurance Card. You will present this information at the admissions desk before you head into the triage area.

  • Your Birth Plan. Bringing a couple copies is ideal. One to place in your chart, one for your labor nurse(s) and an extra in case there’s a shift change and it gets misplaced. For a simple birth plan generated based on your answers to easy questions click this link for our recommendation:

  • Portable Bluetooth Speaker, Headphones/Earbuds, & Playlist. HypnoBabies programs may also require that you have something to listen to specific tracks throughout.

  • Childbirth Education Items. Hypnobabies scripts, Flash Cards etc.

  • Comfortable Clothes For Labor - Think light robe, birth gown/skirt, a bra with easy access for skin to skin.

  • Comfortable Clothes For Postpartum. A couple nursing bras/tanks, dark comfy PJs, joggers, tees, slipper socks or another comfy footwear in case your feet and ankles are swollen after the birth. Grippy socks are provided for during birth & postpartum. A comfy outfit for going home, including a jacket or sweater depending on the weather. Make sure you pack enough clothing for a possible extended stay.

  • Pillow & Blanket. Since hospital pillows can be thin and uncomfortable, bringing one of your own is an option. Also bringing familiar items from home may be a simple comfort that brings you peace through the birthing process.

  • Drinks. Bring your favorite reusable water bottle, individual coconut waters, Gatorades, Poweraids, Liquid IV, Nuun Tablets, and so on. Hydration is very important during labor. So if you should choose to self hydrate, these other beverages will be beneficial in addition to plain water.

  • Snacks. Light snacks in case you need nourishment and fuel throughout the process. Most low risk birthing people are encouraged to eat light healthy snacks and in fact it is actually encouraged and an evidence based practice to keep up with the caloric demands of birth.

  • Phone Charger.

  • Lip Balm, Hair Ties & Brush. Something to keep your lips from drying out. Breathing during surges over an extended period of time can cause chapping. Anything to keep your hair back such as a headband or scrunchy will be useful if you use those things.

  • Comfort Measures. This will include all of the items that you plan to use for relaxation, visualization, and coping. Perhaps you will use a T.E.N.S machine, massage oil, rice sock, heating pad, rebozo, eye mask, washrags (for cold during pushing), a handheld fan, affirmation cards, fairy lights, essential oils, ect.

  • Adult Diapers. Although the hospital will provide you with hospital grade pads, and those designer mesh panties, you may feel more comfortable with the coverage something like depends would provide. You can bring your own breathable full coverage panties if you would like. If you would like to use any specific perineal sprays, peri-bottles, herbal sitz baths or other products, you can add them as well.

  • Toiletries. Your favorite soap, oil, face wash, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush/paste, and whatever else you can think of that will make you feel prepared for the first shower after birth. Any skincare and hair products can also be included here.

  • Nipple Cream, belly binder, pain relief herbs/ tinctures, and other postpartum healing items. recommended postpartum kit:

Baby

  • Car Seat(s). Most carseats come with a separate base that you can set up in advance. In most cases, you can run out to the car to grab the carseat(s) when you are ready to be discharged. Staff will want to discharge only when the appropriate carseats are present.

  • Pediatrician’s Contact Info. This will be one of the questions your nurse will ask immediately after birth, so that they can place this in your babies chart. Someone from your pediatrician’s office may be present in the hospital for rounds, so the first visit may actually happen then. If not, your little one(s) may be seen by one of the hospital pediatricians.

  • Going-Home Outfits. Maybe a couple onesies, shirts, or rompers, footies. Cotton pants. Socks. Any specific diapers and/or wipes that you prefer. If you’re looking for a good wipe, Waterwipes are great. Otherwise, the hospital will provide more than enough standard huggies or pampers, wipes, and hospital shirts. Keep in mind what season it will be, and that babies are often born either bigger or smaller than predicted.

  • Baby Arrival Comforts. Things such as swaddlers, muslin blankets, long sleeve body suits, hats.

  • Bottles. If you plan to nurse, and things go well, you shouldn’t need much. But if there’s a point where you should have to pump for any reason, you are going to want at least a couple small bottles to store colostrum or milk. Sometimes the hospital provides these. If you plan to bottle feed and/or formula feed, bring whatever supplies you need including the specific formula and bottles you plan to use. Pacifiers if wanted.

  • Brest Friend or Boppy. These are useful to help prop babies and preserve your posture while nursing. Otherwise you will be playing a game called “where to stack the pillow.”

  • Don't forget snacks / meals / thank you gifts for you birth team, and a bag for dad!

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