Almost Baby Time: Start Packing Your Bags

It’s that time. You’re 32-35* weeks pregnant, waddling around the house finishing the final preparations before babe makes their grand debut. The nursery is perhaps ready, you’ve made all your freezer meals (or your mom has), and with every little movement or minor contraction you may wonder: “could this be it?” It’s officially an appropriate time to begin the process of packing your hospital bag.

Pregnancy brain has likely set in, and you may be thinking “I can’t remember to put mascara on both eyes in the morning, how will I make sure I have everything I need when it’s go-time?” Yes, the task of packing for the hospital can be overwhelming, but remember, with proper organization and preparation you’ll be squared away.

So, where to start? First, it helps to pack according to the specific ‘stages’ of your time at the hospital or birth center; these stages of needs are for labor, post delivery, and baby. It’s time to rest easy, because the leg -work has been done for you! Let’s get that new Kalea bag hospital-ready.

Labor:

You’ll quickly discover once contractions begin, that your focus will be instantly on bringing your sweet baby safely into the world, and that you really won’t need much to get through labor. The Kalea bag is perfect to pack as your ‘Labor’ bag. It is easy to organize in a way that makes everything easily accessible when you don’t have the energy or brainpower to rustle through a big duffle bag or suitcase to look for a hair tie or tube of Chap Stick. Here are some key items to have prepared to help you through the laboring journey.

Birth Plan: If you’ve been taking childbirth classes, you’re likely familiar with creating a birth plan. Sounds fancy, but all it really is, is a short description of your wishes while you and your baby are being cared for at the hospital (within scope and reason of course). Examples may be wishes for a natural birth, dad gets to cut the umbilical cord, baby stays in mom’s room vs. going to nursery etc. If you and your partner have made a birth plan, print several copies and have those in a plastic folder or protective sleeve. It will fit perfectly in the side pocket of the changing pad that’s included with the Kalea Bag; that way it is accessible for sharing upon arrival and won’t need to be folded.

Having some sort of Entertainment can prove to be extremely helpful in taking your mind off of labor pain, or help pass the time in general. Consider creating a few playlists ahead of time of some of your favorite ‘chill-out’ tunes in order to create a more calming and peaceful environment during labor. Some hospitals these days have labor rooms with a sound system or speaker for this purpose, but it is probably a good idea to bring ear buds or small Bluetooth speaker just in case. Slip a deck of cards, Sudoku Book, tablet, or magazines in the tablet/laptop pocket of your bag to have as an option for distraction. Don’t forget to include any electronic chargers you may need for your choice of entertainment as well. Any form of calming activity can make labor much more tolerable; sure, there will come a point when it’s NOT so calm, so do try to enjoy yourself a little if you can!

Take advantage of one of the small cubes that come with your Kalea bag by utilizing it as Healthy Snack storage. Having easy snacks on hand such as granola bars, honey sticks, or trail mix during labor (and even post delivery) is everything. One thing that no one tells you is that labor makes you hungry! Childbirth is basically an athletic event, and your body may need some sort of fuel to help maintain strength. So, as long as it’s okay with your doc, stock up on non-perishables that will sustain your energy through labor and are easy to snack on in bed while cuddling your newborn.

You’ll definitely want to include a bundle of hair ties and/or a headband to have ready in the outer zipper pocket. The last thing you’ll want during labor (or in post-delivery photos) is sweaty hair in your face, so you’ll be thankful you’ve put these in an easy-to-remember spot. There are so many pretty headbands out there nowadays; it’s possible to even look cute wearing them for post-delivery photos.

Grippy socks or slippers are KEY for laboring. No, they won’t alleviate any pain, but they will keep those tootsies warm and clean while you putter through the hospital halls and around the delivery room. It’s normal to become antsy and anxious between contractions, and often movement is recommended if you’re still able to, to progress the stages of labor. So go ahead, rock those socks and that hospital gown through the halls of the maternity ward!

*32-35 weeks is a general recommendation for when to pack your bag. If you’re experiencing a higher risk pregnancy, or pregnant with multiples you may feel like packing earlier!

***Don’t forget that grab and go toiletry bag!

****See Grab and Go list below

Post delivery:

Packing for the post-delivery bliss is the fun part. Do yourself a favor though, and Keep. It. Simple. Do your best not to stress about this part. It feels great to be prepared, however if there is any oversight, rest assured that either the hospital has you covered, or you can send your partner or a family member on an errand to bring something you may need.

Comfort is going to be your main goal when it comes to packing clothes, so keep things loose and stretchy. Think maternity yoga pants, sweats, and nursing tanks, and a loose cardigan or sweater (depending on the season). Also bring a nursing bra or two, however, you’ll learn quite quickly, that you’ll rarely have a shirt on, as babe will be snuggling close and nursing seemingly non-stop, so a nursing tank under a cardigan is a great new-mom hack to easy access for a hungry newborn. It’s nice to include a going home outfit to make you feel great and confident as you enter the wild world of motherhood. Successful going home outfits consist of maxi dresses, sweater dresses, or anything cozy/chic. Comfort is still key, of course but do remember the camera on your smartphone will be working overtime, and you’ll want to be included in some of those pics with your new bundle!

Hospitals typically provide very lovely (enter sarcasm) disposable underwear and recovery items post delivery. Use their underwear! Do bring a few pairs of maternity underwear if you wish, but you’ll find that the hospital underwear is much more appropriate for your post-delivery needs.

A nursing pillow and nursing support items will be nice to have on hand as you navigate the beautiful, but not always easy, world of breastfeeding. A nursing pillow can help you comfortably nurse without any arms falling asleep, or provide some extra confidence to a new dad or nervous aunt holding your baby for the first time. Other nursing support items include nipple cream for chapped nipples (you guys, it’s a real thing and it hurts. Please get nipple cream), and nursing pads the leakage that will occur when your milk finally comes in.

Lastly, once the adrenaline has died down, you’ve been able to get a little rest, and you’re enjoying all of the snuggles you can handle, you might find a quite moment to write up some thank you cards for the team of nurses and doctors that have taken care of you and your little one during your stay. They will appreciate being appreciated, and a little note to say thanks really goes a long way. If you’re someone who likes to go above and beyond, include donuts. Who doesn’t love getting donuts?

Pack For Baby:

Similarly for mom, hospitals are stocked with much of the baby care items such as shirts, diapers, cream, blankets, and hats. Bring one or two onesies if you wish, but most hospitals do provide very convenient snap shirts with hand mittens for your little one. You might even find that you prefer these to onesies the first few days as you’re getting to know the basics of infant care. Some hospitals offer the opportunity to get newborn photos taken while at the hospital, so if that is something you think you’ll take advantage of, include a special outfit or adorable accessories for your newborn photo shoot.

You can bring your own diapers too, but definitely take advantage of the diapers that the hospital provides and use as many of those as possible; you can even stash some in your going home bag to have more on hand. There is no such thing as having too many diapers!

You may perhaps want to bring your own swaddling blanket for baby. This may sound a bit strange, but consider sleeping with a swaddling blanket or two before packing it in your bag; this way it will smell like you when wrapped around your newborn providing extra comfort. Include a going home outfit for baby as well, and any extra blankets or weather gear for their car seat if you’re delivering in colder winter months.

Think about any miscellaneous items you may want to have. Often a friend or family member may surprise you with a heartfelt or handmade gift for baby ahead of time that you may want to include (sometimes something great for those newborn photos also). So, if great grandma knits the most adorable hat and bootie combo for your little one, then definitely add that to your list to pack for baby!

For Partner:

This is the bonus section for the hyper-organized. If you’re not sure your partner will be as prepared as you are when it is time to beat feet to the hospital, a few key items for them to have ready ahead of time: A change or two of clothes, underwear, a swimsuit. Yes, a swimsuit if your labor room includes a bathtub. Mom’s that choose to labor in the bath tub often want their partner in with them for extra physical support, and some partners might feel uncomfortable with the hospital staff coming and going if they are lounging in the tub in their birthday suit!

Grab and go!!

Now I know what you’re thinking: “What about all of my personal care items that I’ll be using likely up until the minute it’s time to leave?” These items are left for your ‘Grab n Go’ list. Pick one of the cubes that comes with your Kalea bag and go ahead and pack your must have toiletry items such as face wash, moisturizer, toothpaste/toothbrush, chap stick, and mascara. Keep it in your bathroom, or wherever you usually complete your self-care rituals. This way, you can still use it up until you leave for the hospital, but it’s still kept in one spot, already consolidated in a bag ready to be zipped and packed quickly.

Finally, a seemingly random yet important item to have with you upon leaving for the hospital is a water bottle! Stay hydrated girl. Hospitals very dry environments, and you’re going to get your sweat on for sure. Having your own water bottle will be convenient and you won’t have to drink out of Styrofoam!

Labor

  • Birth plan
  • Entertainment (music, card deck, Sudoku, books, magazines etc)
  • Healthy snacks
  • Hair bands/head band
  • Grippy socks/slippers

Post Delivery

  • Nursing bra/tank
  • Maternity underwear
  • Several changes comfy clothes and a ‘going home’ outfit
  • Thank- you cards
  • Nursing pillow
  • Nursing support items (nipple cream, pads, boob-tube)
  • Pre-natal vitamins

For baby:

  • 1-2 onesies
  • Swaddling blanket
  • Special photo outfit/accessories
  • Diapers**
  • Going home outfit
  • Cold weather gear
  • Miscellaneous items (gifts, etc)

Grab n go:

  • Face wash
  • Face cloth
  • Tinted moisturizer
  • Mascara (or any other light makeup items)
  • chapstick
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hair brush
  • Water bottle
  • Phone/electronic charger

For partner:

  • Change of clothes
  • Swimsuit
  • Toiletries