Hazel Baby’s comprehensive list of everything you’ll need, want, and crave while you’re in labor
As a music lover, I remember thinking I’d be bouncing around all serene on a giant ball and listening to my favorite tunes while I labored. But after playing a few songs, I realized I couldn’t STAND the music. In fact, it was driving me crazy! All I could do instead was breathe, count and talk to my partner between contractions. But . . . how was I to know? It was my first time in labor, and even if it weren’t, I’ve heard each L&D is different from pregnancy to pregnancy. So here’s a tip:
You aren’t trying to keep your suitcase under 50 pounds for the plane. You’re about to deliver a human (or humans). So, around 34 or 35 weeks (or earlier if you’re having multiples): OVERPACK.
AND make sure you do a tour of the hospital or birthing center where you plan to deliver, and be that annoying person who asks A TON of questions, like do they provide pads, diapers, etc.? A place for your birthing partner to sleep after delivery? If you’re cool with using the stuff they provide, you can cross those items off your list right now.
There are some things you’re definitely going to need, such as a way to get baby home (i.e., a car seat) and clothes for you to wear on your discharge day. But some things you might not know you need until you’re in the moment . . . and then you’ll be SO glad you have them, I promise.
So here is Hazel Baby’s what-to-pack list for all birth attendees, including your little one(s). I compiled items from my own experience and took suggestions from other Jersey City moms, my friends and relatives and a few of the top baby sites out there to make the ultimate list. Print it out and cross off items as you go.
MAMA (all items marked ** are also potentially applicable to your copilot)
- birth plan (bring multiple copies)
- bottles—see the natural glass ones Hazel carries here
- camera and/or video camera**
- cell phone and charger**
- contact case, glasses, and contact lens solution**
- cord blood banking kit
- hospital paperwork
- IDs and insurance cards, credit and debit cards**
- list of who to call**
- trash bag—keep this in the car in case your water breaks on the way to the hospital or birthing center, or stash it in your bag if you’re a city mama like me and don’t have a car and need to Uber!
- your baby’s/babies’ pediatrician info
- bottle with a reusable straw for water, Gatorade or similar drink, coconut water**—solid food might be a no-no during labor, but now most clear liquids (in moderation) have been okayed, and you’ll definitely want it for later! (Be sure to ask your doctor or midwife on the day if anything changes.)
- deodorant** (Our Earth Mama gift set from Hazel Baby includes a variety of natural aids, including a natural deodorant)
- essential oils, massage oils, rosewater, massage ball (or tennis ball)—any or all of these can help promote relaxation and alleviate pain during labor (the Earth Mama gift set also includes belly oil for a nice labor massage)
- hair ties**
- music—which means your phone, but maybe a portable speaker and headphones, too
- sugar-free candy or lozenges, lip balm, face and body lotion—because hospitals are so, so dry and your skin will be too
- blanket/sheets**—in case you just can’t deal with the thin, scratchy ones provided by the hospital or birthing center
- dry shampoo and face wipes**—keep your postpartum hair and face looking and feeling freshly washed, even without a shower (and don’t forget a hairbrush**)
- flip-flops/Crocs** (or any other flat, roomy shoe for walking around the hospital room or wing)
- hand sanitizer**—you’ll be touching baby a lot, so keep your hands (and those of whoever else is in the room with you) germ-free
- nipple cream—whether or not you’re breastfeeding, the stuff rocks, especially this Earth Mama nipple butter brand we love
- non-skid socks—my hospital gave me a pair of these, but just one, so I was glad to have some extras
- nursing bras (one size too big—heard this from a two-time mom and nurse!) and/or sports bras
- nursing pads—breastfeeding or not, these help with leaks
- pajamas** (I went to Aerie around thirty weeks and bought a few of their soft, comfy tanks and baggy pants, which I still wear, because elastic) and a robe
- perineal spray—hospitals will give you a bottle to bring home, but if you want to bring your own, we recommend this spray from Earth Mama
- pillow**—I didn’t bring one (I slept like the dead after my delivery, and one friend recently told me she could have slept on a picket fence, she was so tired!). But if you know you’re particular about your pillows, bring one from home.
- lots of snacks, plus dollar bills/change for vending machines**
- toothbrush and toothpaste**
- underwear or Depends—the hospital or birthing center will most likely give you mesh underwear and pads if you had a vaginal delivery, but if you have underwear you’re more comfortable with—and prepared to potentially ruin—bring those
- white-noise machine**—hospitals are loud! And you want to make sure you get as much sleep as you can. This is probably a good idea especially for those used to sleeping with white noise at home.
- shampoo, face wash, body wash, towel**—I’m going to tell you right now: my hospital stay was a blur and I can’t remember if I showered before the day we left the hospital. But I know I definitely showered that day, and I was grateful to have my toiletries from home (look for a wonderful body wash in our Earth Mama gift set)
- going-home outfit**—one thing I wish I had brought is postpartum leggings—remember, your body was just pregnant, so be gentle with it; whether you delivered vaginally or via C-section, you’ll want comfortable clothes that won’t irritate any sensitive areas
- car seat
- diapers and wipes—remember, your hospital or birthing center will likely give you plenty of both; but if you’re set on a certain brand, feel free to bring your own
- nursing pillow—if you’re nursing, it’s a good idea to use the pillow you plan to have at home, so you can get the hang of positioning; at Hazel, we like this one from Nook
- swaddles—as with your breastfeeding pillow, bring the swaddles you plan to use at home—Hazel carries a number of functional (and beautiful) swaddles
- receiving blanket—these can be used as swaddles, burp cloths, and pretty much anything else you can think of
- going-home outfit—this is a big moment, and that first outfit is one you will remember forever. With newborn skin being so soft, we love the delicate classic rompers from Paige Lauren. They are great for any weather, and timeless. This is one of the softest, most comfy brands for newborns in our store!
- a baby book—like this lovely Welcome, Baby! book available at Hazel Baby. This creates a great special moment for Dad to read to baby while you get some shut eye!
- deck of cards, books and/or magazines, puzzles, handheld electronic games - if you have a long, drawn-out labor, these might prove to be good distractions
- mementos—photos, childhood stuffed animal, etc. can provide comfort
- laptop—I wish I had brought mine; I would have been playing Solitaire between contractions for sure
- big brother(s)/sister(s) gift—toys, clothes . . . we’ve got your sibling gift at Hazel
- gift and/or note for the nurses