Packing Your Labor Bagby Katlyn Joy | June 21, 2010 12:00 AM
Most experts recommend you have your labor and hospital bags packed and ready to go from the eighth month on. There will be some items you have to wait until the last minute to pack, so have a list of those items written and on top of the bags to remind you.
It works best for most couples to have three bags. One for labor. One for after. One for the partner.
The Labor Bag
You will need your hospital papers/pre-registration papers and a copy of your birth plan. You will also need your insurance cards and identification for the hospital. You will want either an address book or list of people to call.
You will want your cell phone and charger, camera and batteries or charger, and iPod or CDs. Bring a variety of music. While you might love Bob Marley's Legend if it's the only music you bring you might come to hate it after 20 hours of labor. The baby's memory book, for recording footprints and such.
For dry lips and mouth, bring lip balm and hard candy or lollipops. Bring a hairbrush, hair ties, and warm socks. For soothing massages, bring tennis balls in a sock, massage oil or lotion, and powder. You can bring your own nightgown from home, but with all clothing items remember they are most likely going to get soiled and stained. You will want slippers that are easy to put on, especially if you find yourself walking and walking around the hospital hallways. A robe is recommended as well.
You might need to pass some time. Bring a deck of cards, a book or magazine, or some crossword books. You might want to bring the baby name book. Even if you believe you have settled on a name. You might just reconsider after the baby appears and he just doesn't look like a Jonathon to you.
Your partner will need a change of clothes, and maybe swim trunks if there is a possibility of helping you labor in the shower or a birthing tub. Definitely a must is change for vending machines, and some snacks. Some reading material might be helpful as well.
While hospitals can provide many of these items, you will most likely prefer your own so plan on bringing shampoo/conditioner, brush and comb, moisturizer, soap, make up, hair necessities, and if you cannot go days without shaving, your razor. Don't forget your prescription medications.
Many nurses recommend bringing a going home outfit that fit you in the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy. Opt for comfort. You might want to bring your own underwear, as hospitals provide a bizarre mesh type thing not known for either style or comfort. However, they will get bled on—a lot. Have a gown or two and robe for seeing visitors, and a couple of nursing bras and plenty of nursing pads.
Bring two going home outfits, just in case. They will also serve as your choices for baby's first picture outfits. You won't need outfits for baby while in the hospital, those will be provided, as will diapers and other supplies. Bring a nice blanket for the ride home and of course the car seat.
Also, make sure the hospital bag has plenty of room for all the freebies and gifts from visitors and the hospital. Some new parents like to bring the announcements and thank you notes to work on while in the hospital. You might not feel quite up to this, and that is perfectly OK. Your first priority is enjoying your first days with your new baby and recovering from birth.Katlyn Joy is a freelance writer, and just graduated with a Master's of Arts in Creative Writing. She is mom to seven children, and lives in Denver, Colorado.
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