Dear Abney, I'm looking for a packing list for items to bring during labor. Any suggestions? Thanks, L
This is not a comprehensive list, and a lot of these suggestions are personal opinion, but here are some things I think are often useful during labor or immediately after.
Things for mom:
Favorite pillow- I'm a well known pillow snob, and I come by it rightly. My parents are pillow snobs, too. So, for me, MY pillow is the ONLY pillow that's good enough to sleep on, rest on, or snuggle with. Plus, sometimes the hospital has a pillow shortage. I'm not even kidding.
Hair ties- or head bands, or bobby pins. Whatever you use to get your hair up and out of your face.
Chapstick- for the dryness on your lips after all of those amazing inhales through your nose and exhales out of your mouth.
Labor clothes- this is really a personal preference. Some women don't like the idea of wearing a hospital gown, so they will wear something of their own (either a hospital gown they have purchased or some ensemble of their own. Several of my clients have worn a roll over skirt and sports bra.) If you decide to bring your own labor clothes, be sure it is something you don't mind throwing away. Birth is a beautiful, but messy business.
Sports bra- or swimsuit top or something that covers your top if you aren't comfortable going au naturel up top while in the shower or tub. (Most women "throw their bras in the air like they just don't care" by that point. But, you know yourself.)
Socks- something to wear around the hospital room or if your feet get cold. I'm, personally, not a sock person, so I'm a fan of flip flops instead.
Robe- again, this is personal preference. I didn't mind wearing the hospital gown, but threw on my own robe over it so I could walk the halls with out my beautiful bodacious behind flapping in the wind. Plus, it came in super handy after the baby was born for visitors. (Another option is to just wear a second hospital gown backward as a robe.)
Honey sticks- I, as a doula, pack my bag with these sticks of awesomeness. I buy in bulk. But, if your doula doesn't have them, you can find them on amazon here in smaller quantities. I've also seen them sold individually at Sprouts.
Heating pad- or rice sock, or something that warms up to put on your lower back. (If you have a doula, she will likely bring something like this.)
Water bottle- you can always get a styrofoam cup with hospital ice (It is a thing. Google it.) and water, but sometimes you just want your own container.
Nursing pillow- A lot of people will just use pillows folded up, etc. But, often a nursing pillow is easier to manipulate while semi-reclining during the period right after birth. (then, again, if you're attempting to try the natural breastfeeding technique, you won't use pillows at all!)
Things for Partner:
Snacks, drinks, etc.- You will get hungry.
Pillow- again, only if you're a pillow snob like me, or you are worried about a pillow shortage- the struggle is real.
Sweatshirt- laboring moms often get really hot. That usually means turning down the thermostat. It can sometimes get a bit chilly for the non-pregnant people in the room.
Camera or video camera
Phone chargers- both of them. She may not remember to bring hers, so you're in charge of both. Phones are usually one the first electronic thing used when baby is born, so you want to make sure it is charged and ready to go!
Change of clothes- labor can take a while, especially the first time. Having a change of clothes goes a long way to feel "refreshed" even when you may not be very "refreshed".
Bathing suit- if you're planning to get in the shower or tub with the laboring woman, this is a good thing to throw in the bag.
Toiletries- tooth brush, tooth paste, eye care items, comb, etc.