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7 Essentials For Your Hospital Bag

Find out what you need for birth and what you should leave home.

7 Essentials For Your Hospital Bag
Are you getting ready to meet you little bundle of joy? If so, now is the time to gather all the essentials for the birth and your hospital stay. Whether you are birthing in a hospital or birth center, having your bag ready from about 37 weeks is a good idea since you may need to go unexpectedly. That said, there will be things that you won't be able to put in the bag right away. So keep a list of the things you need to add with your bag so you can can quickly grab them on your way out the door. Here are 7 things you need in your hospital bag, along with the things that you can leave behind. 1. All the paperwork! If you have medical records, test results, or other papers your care provider told you to bring, make sure you have those. Do not forget your driver's license or picture ID, your birth plan or preferences (if you have one), your insurance card, your marriage certificate (if you are married but have different last names, or are a same sex couple — this is for paternity/second parent on the birth certificate), your health care proxy (especially for unmarried couples or single parents), and any other legal materials as needed (such as adoption paperwork).

2. Your Toiletries! Labor is tough enough, you definitely do not want to have to do it without your basic supplies like a toothbrush and toothpaste, chap stick (all that breathing during labor will dry your lips out), hair ties or head bands. Lotion is super helpful if an epidural makes you itchy, and Tums, if you have been taking them, can continue to relieve you until the heartburn goes away, which shouldn't be long after birth. Finally, make sure to bring any and all everyday toiletries and personal care essentials you or your partner need: glasses or contacts, prescription medications, and pain medicine in case your partner gets headache.

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3. Provisions! Most hospitals will let you have clear fluids during labor so bring plenty of those (water, coconut water, juice boxes, seltzer, electrolyte drinks, etc). Your partner might also appreciate some middle-of-the-night energy, like a coffee drink, energy drink, or soda. You should pack snacks. Many hospitals do not allow eating during labor, but you can eat once you give birth, and you even might be very hungry! Non-perishables like granola or protein bars, crackers, nuts, cookies, and dried fruit are popular options.

4. Your Electronics! Make sure you have your phones, a camera (if separate from your phone), a speaker for music (if desired), and anything else you need for entertainment or communication, like a tablet, a laptop, or an eReader. You'll be at the hospital for a couple of days, so don't forget your cords, cables, batteries, and chargers. Also, a short extension cord can come in handy! The outlets are frequently in inconvenient places, and an extension cord can make it possible for you to have your phone near you in bed even when it is charging.

5. Your Clothes! Hospitals (and some birth centers) provide gowns for you to labor in. But you can bring your own clothing — a tank and skirt, a sleeveless nightgown, or a labor gown of your own. Whatever you bring, anticipate that it might get heavily soiled and thrown away. So don't bring your favorite nightwear. You will need clothing for afterwards. Make sure to keep it comfortable: shirts, yoga pants/pajama pants/leggings, a hoodie or sweatshirt, a robe if you’d like. The first couple of days, you will be bleeding so bring items you're okay soiling. Your partner should also have a change of clothes and a hoodie or sweater. Remember your body will still be pregnant-looking postpartum, so anticipate needing outfits that would have fit at 6 or 7 months pregnant. If you plan on breastfeeding, favor button-down shirts and gowns or nursing clothes.

6. Optional Comfort Items! Do you want to get extra comfy to help you stay relax throughout labor? Massage oils, aromatherapy, heating pad and hot water bottle, electric candles, a picture or image, music, yoga ball, peanut ball, wash cloths, a hand held fan and straws are all great things to consider adding to your birthing artillery. If you have a doula, ask her what she will be bringing and what your hospital or birth center already stocks. You might also want flip flops or slipper, though hospitals usually provide non-slip socks in abundance. Hospitals also have towels, but they are small. So you might want your own, along with a cozy blanket and one or two pillows. If you don't want the hospital to swipe your towels and blankets with theirs, opt for colors that stand out. And, if you are bringing home your placenta, make sure you have gallon sized zip lock bags and a soft cooler to transport it in.

7. Baby's Going-Home Essentials! You will need a car seat to bring your baby home in and an outfit with legs so your baby can be safely secured with the 5-point harness. Bring seasonally appropriate accessories, including a blanket for the ride home. Ideally these things can be left at home and brought in by a friend or family member later if you’re in the hospital for a couple of days. Want to keep your birth load as light as possible? What NOT to Bring! The hospital or birth center should have an abundance of pads, disposable underwear for labor and postpartum. They also have diapers. They should have a breast pump as well as stock formula and bottles. They usually supply hats, shirts, and blankets for your baby so you don't have to bring more than one or two outfits. They have peri bottles and sitz baths for you to take home. You should not need a breastfeeding pillow or breast pads during your short stay. Don't bring your heavy labor and birth books, and don't bring work! The only work you'll be doing while you are giving birth is, well, giving birth and enjoying that beautiful baby of yours once he or she is earth side. Congrats!

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    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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