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Your best birth: Don’t leave for the hospital without these 9 must-haves

Whether you’re having a hypnobirth or a planned epidural, here’s what you should bring to the hospital.  

Your best birth: Don’t leave for the hospital without these 9 must-haves

Here at Motherly, we are all for anything that will make our mamas more comfortable, especially during labor + delivery.


From hypnobirth to a planned epidural, or an emergency C-section to vaginal delivery, we realize there’s nothing that’s magically going to take away your pain—but we’re confident that our picks below will help you cope and contribute to a positive birth experience.

Tested and loved by our own mamas in labor, pack these in your hospital bag for birth + beyond.

1. Birth ball

A birth ball has so many uses, both during your pregnancy and on the actual day of your birth. It’s perfect for a gentle pregnancy workout, practicing various labor positions, and helping you work through your contractions on delivery day.

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During labor, you can sit and rock from side to side on your ball, or kneel on it with your chest draped on top. Make sure to practice with your ball during your pregnancy- it will help your hips and back now, and will make the movements come more naturally in labor.

Black Mountain Stability Ball (with pump)
$14.31, Amazon

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2. To help you feel beautiful

Hospital gowns leave a little to be desired in the, ahem, style department. You may not be feeling your best post-birth, but at least you’ll look amazing in this gorgeous robe.

Made of super soft featherweight cotton and available in tons of to-die-for patterns, these robes will help any new mama look and feel her best. We’ve found these robes tend to run small, so we recommend sizing up.

Knee Length Kimono Robe
Plum Pretty Sugar, $60.00

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3. So you don’t have to touch the hospital floor (ick!)

No one—we repeat, no one—wants to walk around barefoot on a hospital floor. These flip-flops may not be the most glamorous, but they’re a favorite among Motherly mamas for their affordability, comfort and assortment of adorable colors and patterns.

They’re perfect for getting around your room and for your first (glorious!) postpartum shower. And at under $3 a pair, you won’t feel bad if you’d like to throw them out after your hospital stay is over.

Classic Flip-Flops
Old Navy, $2.50

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4 + 5. For the girls

If you decide that nursing is right for you and your little one, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your nursing bra. Keeping that in mind, we’ve chosen two bras that are not only super functional, but aren’t too rough on the eyes, either.

The Bamboobies Yoga Nursing Bra is made with super soft, eco-friendly bamboo rayon fabric, which means it’s breathable and moisture-wicking. It’s got enough support for a walk in the park, but is comfy enough for a marathon nursing session on the couch.

It features nursing clasps and drop down cups for easy-access breastfeeding, and has a seamless design that will stretch to fit your changing postpartum body. It also comes with bra extenders for the back so you can use it as your body changes throughout pregnancy and nursing.

Yoga Nursing Brahhh
$29.99, Bamboobies

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For a little more support—but still lots of style—Cake Lingerie’s Cotton Candy Seamless Sleep & Yoga Nursing Bra is a double layered sleep and yoga bra that helps your girls feel supported without feeling restricted.

It has a T-back design that ensures a snug fit and comes in a ton of cute colors so you won’t mind if your straps peek out. It also features adjustable hooks and eyes so you can buy it before you have your baby and not need to worry about getting a fitting right after you give birth.

Cake Lingerie Cotton Candy Seamless Nursing Bra
$53.00, Nordstrom

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6. A nursing wardrobe must-have

Consider yourself warned: you’re going to want one of these in every color! This tank is a nursing mom staple: the organic cotton fabric is silky, stretchy, and fast-drying, they provide great support—and they’re cute enough to wear during and after pregnancy. (So. Many. Great. Colors!)

We also like that instead of pulling the straps down to nurse, these tanks feature a panel that you simply lift up.

Boob Maternity Organic Cotton Tank
$10.52, Amazon

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7. Delivery day essentials

There’s so much new mama goodness packed into this innovative kit! You’ll have your hospital stay covered with products from some of the top brands in the maternity and beauty industry including disposable nursing pads, alcohol-free hand sanitizer, shea butter cream, a lactation bar, and even hair ties and a mini cell phone charger! And best of all it comes bundled in a chic, reusable canvas and leather pouch.

Belly Bandit Ultimate Labor and Delivery Kit
$69.95, Amazon

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8. To capture that once-in-a-lifetime pic



We don’t claim to be professional photographers, so we’ll leave the nitty-gritty tech details to someone with more expertise, but what we can promise you is that a DSLR camera is a game-changer and is totally worthy of your adorable new bundle.

Newsflash: Babies move around a LOT. (So do crawlers, and walkers, and toddlers, and preschoolers and...you get the idea.) Say goodbye to blurry phone photos and hello to capturing every step of your baby’s journey in crisp, beautiful detail and unbelievably vibrant color.

Even the most amateur photogs can easily snap frame-worthy pics with this amazing camera. The price point on these can be a bit steep, so consider asking friends or family to chip in if you know they’re looking for a high-ticket item.

Canon EOS Rebel T6
$549.00, Amazon

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9. For comfort down under

Just because you gave birth doesn’t mean you have to rock the granny panties. We realize everyone can be pretty particular about their undies, which is why we love these from Gap Body.

The high-rise waist and full back coverage mean they won’t move around too much and are perfect for holding a maxi pad or pantyliner in place, and the vibrant colors and patterns means you won’t get bored wearing them.

Breathe High-Rise Bikini
$12.50, Gap

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    When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

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    Minimize smoke exposure.

    Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

    Do your best to filter the air.

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    Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

    Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

    Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

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