What should I bring to the hospital when I give birth? I probably don’t need to list the basics such as clothes for you and baby and of course a toothbrush and toiletries, but I thought I’d share a few of my favourite must-haves for hospital birth that don't usually make it onto everyone's list.
1. “Sac magique” or heating pad
A warm compress can be very helpful to relax tense muscles and wonderful for back labour. Most hospital birthing centers don’t have “sac magique” warm compresses or heating pads for patients, so it’s up to you to bring your own. Many doulas have these in their doula bag
Bring 1-2 extra pillows from home! Some hospitals only give 1 pillow per patient, and let’s be clear it’s a hospital pillow, so yours is probably much more comfy. An extra pillow can be very useful for labour positions, postpartum sleep and breastfeeding.
3. Bathing suit for your partner
A warm shower is often a great way to cope with pain in labour. Make your partner packs a bathing suit, so they can join you in the shower and continue to provide physical and emotional support even while you’re under the warm water.
4. Flip flops for you and your partner
Hospital showers are sanitized between each new patient, but I still suggest bringing a set of flip flops or waterproof sandals for the shower as you would for the gym.
5. Phone charger
As a postpartum nurse, I have been obliged to tell many parents that I don’t have a phone charger to lend them. Please pack at least one phone charger. This way you’ll be able to share your exciting news with all your family and friends and take all those adorable first photos!
6. Lip balm
Hospitals can be quite dry, and labour is hard work. All that good deep breathing can cause dry lips, so be sure to pack your favourite lip balm to keep your lips hydrated.
7. Cream/body lotion
Bring your favourite body lotion so you can benefit from massage techniques during active labour and/or keep your skin hydrated in the dry hospital environment.
You’ll be spending at least 24 hours in the hospital after you give birth, so have a comfortable pair of slippers or slip-on shoes with you so you don’t have to walk around in your socks.
Unless you’re having a scheduled induction or planned C-section, you won’t know the exact day that you will be giving birth. It might just be the only day you don’t have any cash in your wallet! Yes, most businesses will take cards, but have at least 3 days allowance ready to go in your hospital bag as back-up. You never know if your hospital might only take cash to rent a breast pump kit during your stay or a late night take-out meal.
This might seem a little redundant, but make sure to bring enough diapers for your entire hospital stay. Babies may be small, but they have frequent outputs! So bring at least one full pack of newborn diapers for your hospital stay because you’ll go through those diapers faster than you think, and most postpartum units can’t provide you with diapers.
All packed and ready to go? Wherever you're planning to give birth, consider bringing a few things from home that will help make you feel more comfortable and help you own the space, whether it be a special pillow from your bed or a comfy blanket from your couch. These little things can help you feel safe and comfortable in your birthing environment.