What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for a Mindful Labor + Delivery
Your baby’s nursery is decorated, the car seat is installed and you’re now—not so patiently—awaiting the arrival of your little one. As the nesting goes into full gear, now is the perfect time to pack your hospital bag for the big day! Here are some must-haves to help encourage a healthy labor and delivery.
Being in a hospital setting can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Set the scene with a “toolkit” of your go-to relaxation essentials. Pack your favorite essential oils like lavender or peppermint, and consider making a special playlist on Spotify for the big day. You may also want to bring some positive affirmation cards to help with the mindset piece, like this beautiful deck by Mama Natural.
Your Birth Plan
While you don’t have 100 percent control over how your little one choses to enter this world, it can be helpful to have an ideal vision in mind— as long as you’re okay with a little flexibility. A birth plan is a great way to map out your intentions for your support team or hospital staff, like your choices around medication, cord clamping, skin-to-skin contact with your baby and whether or not you choose to encapsulate your placenta. Download a free Visual Birth Plan Template from Mama Natural to get started. Know that it’s also perfectly okay to change your mind once you’re in labor, as it’s your labor after all.
Labor and delivery is not for the faint of heart, and takes a lot of energy! Be sure to have some healthy snacks on hand for before and after, so you’re not confined to hospital food. Grab-and-go snacks such as nuts and nut butters (Justin’s squeeze packs are great), bars (like 88 Acres Craft Seed Bars) and fruit can be especially nutritious and convenient. Got a sweet tooth? Stock up on some lactation cookies from company Mama Needs Milk, which taste delicious and can help with your milk supply. Win, win!
Note that hospitals have different rules as far as solid foods go, and it also depends on whether or not you get an epidural or pain medication. Regardless, you’re likely going to be hungry during the recovery period! And don’t forget to hydrate with water and electrolyte-rich beverages like coconut water.
Your Favorite Nontoxic Toiletries
The hospital will provide your basic toiletries, but you’ll likely want your own nontoxic products so you can feel as comfortable as possible. Pack a toothbrush, natural toothpaste, face wash, natural makeup, shampoo and conditioner (if you don’t want to use the hospital’s) and some moisturizing face wipes like SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Facial Wipes for ease when you don’t feel like getting out of bed.
If you plan on breastfeeding, it may be helpful to have some go-to products on hand for when your colostrum—a creamy liquid packed with nutrients that precedes breast milk—comes in. A comfy nursing tank, nursing bra and organic nipple butter like this one from Earth Mama should do the trick. Nipple creams and butters can provide relief and help moisturize dry skin.
Comfy Clothing For Mom & Baby
Pack comfortable, loose clothing so you’re not restricted to the hospital gown throughout your stay. A delivery/nursing robe (like this pretty pink floral one from Pink Blush), roomy nightgowns and baggy sweats are great choices, as you don’t want anything too tight against your body—especially if you have a C-section. And don’t forget about baby! While the hospital will likely provide a onesie and swaddle blankets, you’ll want to pack a cute coming-home outfit for your sweet pea for when you get discharged.
Looking for more guidance as you enter your third trimester? Check out these five tips for staying sane.