What to Really Pack for the Delivery Room
You have read all the lists about what to pack for the big day. You have outlined every aspect of your birth plan. You have copied, checked and re-checked every list to make sure you have forgotten nothing. Do you really need to pack emery boards and a facial spritzer? How about that tennis ball for lower back pain? Unless you plan to fill a steamer trunk and your luxurious birthing suite accommodates luggage for a 13-day cruise, here are the basics of what you need to have with you at delivery time.
First, and I cannot make this clear enough; pack your "suitcase" ahead of time and put it in the primary car that you drive. I have been in the baby business for six years and I have heard story after story of last minute scrambles and misplaced necessities. You might be going to your 37 week check up getting ready to spend the next 2 to 3 weeks off your feet eating bonbons only to find out your OB nurse has wrangled up a wheel chair with your name on it headed straight for the maternity ward for an unscheduled inducement. Having the bag in the car can save precious moments in a hectic situation.
Everyone envisions a peaceful and glowing birth with operatic angels singing a welcome aria in the tranquil birthing suite. Reality? Childbirth is unpredictable. Prioritizing your needs and wants is critical. Preserving the experience on video or film is a must for most first timers. Not everyone enjoys the thought of putting their body on display for the videographer, but if you would like to relive the experience, pack a video camera with extra media and a back up battery in the bag. You would not want to miss a picture of your babys first few minutes. A still camera with extra media and a back up battery is a must have as well.
If you are enjoying the benefits of an epidural, something to pass the time is important. This may be friends and family to cheer you on through the peaks of contractions or a magazine or book if you are progressing slowly.
If the hospital policy allows for music (and most major hospitals now supply CD players in the delivery suites) a special CD or compilation will help keep your mind busy and may serve as a soundtrack that will always bring back memories of the most courageous, beautiful and miraculous experience you may ever have.
You will need socks for your entire stay so pack several pairs. Most people forget the socks and the hospital offers little help for cold feet. Skip the pricey cashmere versions just in case you cannot imagine parting ways with socks that have been through the ringer in the hospital.
Post delivery the nurses will be tending to your physical recovery so this is when the comforts of home become necessary. No doubt you will have visitors and even though everyone will be celebrating the arrival of the baby, your friends and family will congratulate you on your magnificent accomplishment. Why not look your best? You dont need a full face of make up and blow out to look good. A hairbrush, toothbrush, a face towel and some lipgloss will make you feel amazing. Speaking of blow out, if you need a hairdryer make sure to bring one with you. Bring a special set of pajamas and a robe (prepare in advance if you plan to breastfeed as there are special clothes, including bras, designed to make breastfeeding simple to do without completely disrobing every time). Whether you deliver the old fashion way or via c-section, you should pack some large pads. If you plan to recover for several days at the hospital, do not forget shampoo, conditioner and lotion. The hospital can certainly be nice, but it is not the Four Seasons.
Between feedings and visits you may have time to call or email friends and family. Pack along important contact names and numbers. Have a calling card ready just in case cell phones are prohibited and the phones are for local calls only.
Dads or partners should bring along essentials that include a change of clothes for day and night, a kit with hygiene necessities, cell phone, a laptop if the hospital allows, snacks and cameras. Most hospitals allow for the partner to spend the entire time with the recovering mother, but they offer few amenities.
You will need to prepare very few things for your new baby. The hospital supplies many of the necessities you need so take advantage of those items. However, nothing is more important than a car seat for the drive home. The car seat should be installed correctly and adjusted to fit the new baby. You will also need a few outfits and some soft receiving blankets. If you plan to bottle feed, bring along pre-mixed formula in the brand you prefer.
For your trip home you should have a comfortable set of clothes. Since your body will change very little from birth to the ride home it is safe to use maternity clothes for the trip. Bringing pre-pregnancy clothes is simply unrealistic not to mention discouraging.
You may have other creature comforts not mentioned here, but be judicious about what you pack. Again, pack early and keep a suitcase in the car at all times. Being prepared could remove unneeded stress during this wonderfully life changing event.