I want to preface this whole thing by saying that I have had more than a few moms come into the hospital just to be checked and end up staying and giving birth having only their purse. Lots of the things you end up needing or wanting can be found and/or fashioned at the hospital. The “Hospital Bag” is not the be and the end all. Also, depending on where you live, you may need or not need different things but this is based loosely on the hospital in my area.
I recommend having a separate bag for labour so that you don’t have to bring so many bags with you at first. Then, once you have moved to the maternity side you can go get the postpartum and baby bags.
For mom in the labour bag
Alberta Personal Health Care Number
Gatorade or juice (hospital does provide apple and OJ but frequently runs out of apple)
Easy to digest snacks- (hospital will make toast and meal trays will sometimes come during the day… but its hospital food)
Chap stick-breathing through the mouth will dry out the lips
Socks in case your feet get cold.
Hair ties or head bands to keep your hair off your face
If you aren’t wanting to wear the hospital clothes -a shorter nightie, dress or long t-shirt is best to labour in. Bottoms will become a pain in the butt very quickly and everything is going to get wet and mucky. Many women end up naked.
Chargers for phones and any other electronics
Lotion or massage oil
Essential oils or other scents you might be wanting to use (remember the hospital is a scent free zone so if the scent you are using offends someone you may be asked to stop using it but so far I haven’t seen this happen)
Pillows- the hospital ones are not great and you usually only get one. Use a brightly coloured case on them to ensure they don’t get mixed in with the hospital ones
Music to help you relax
Books, movies, cards, games anything that could help pass the time if needed-hopefully you wont need it but it is nice to have a few things just in case.
Hot/cold packs- these again can be made by the nurses but especially heat packs are nice to have the ones from home
For the partner
I always advise dressing in layers. Labouring mamas tend to get hot so the room might get pretty cold.
Bring lots of snacks . The hospital will feed mom but not you. Its important for you to stay fed and hydrated too. If you bring Keurig pods there is a machine at the nurses station.
Wear comfortable shoes. You may be on your feet for a long time
Have a change of clothes.
Bring your swimsuit. If mom goes in the shower you can join her and while it is fine for her to be naked it isn’t fine for you to be😉
Change for the parking machine (often the credit card reader doesn’t seem to be working properly) and for vending machines
Pads, the bigger the better. Many women are even going to those adult diapers or the Always disposable underwear to get total coverage.
The hospital will provide you with mesh underwear but if you don’t want to wear those or the disposable undies then you will need several pairs of underwear, preferably ones you don’t care about. You bleed a lot the first little while.
If you are nursing: 2-3 Nursing bras or tanks, breast pads, and nipple cream.
Stool softeners- not laxatives.
I often suggest women bring their own Tylenol and Advil, simply so you don’t have to wait for them to bring you pain relief.
Now baby would be totally fine in a diaper and blanket till it was time to go home but many people want to dress their baby while in hospital.
Undershirts (if wanted during winter)
Blankets- hospital provides some receiving blankets
Diapers, wipes, burp cloths
Socks, hat, booties
Jacket or snowsuit for winter baby-must be approved for carseat if using in carseat
If you plan to formula feed and have a specific formula or type of bottle you want to use, bring it with you.
You can bring a lot more with you or a lot less but these are things I have found to be helpful.