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What to Pack in Your Hospital or Birthing Center Bag

Thank you to Americord for sponsoring the following post. All opinions are my own.

What to Pack in Your Hospital or Birthing Center Bag

While I gave birth to both my babies through preplanned homebirths with a midwife, many moms-to-be feel more comfortable welcoming their babies into the world in a hospital or at a birthing center. If you are planning a birth outside the home, do not wait until you experience that first contraction or your water breaks to pack your bag. If you’ve not created a birth plan yet, you might want to take an online child birth class to help you decide where you’ll feel most comfortable giving birth.

Paperwork

  • Birth plan: A birth plan is a document that tells your birth team your preferences for the birth of your child. For example, you may not want pain relief such as an epidural unless medically necessary. Your birth plan can also outline plans such as cord blood banking from Americord.
  • Other important documents: In addition to your birth plan, also be sure to bring your insurance or medical card, photo ID, and any hospital documents that you already filled out. If you are planning on blood or tissue banking, you will need your collection kit including any necessary documents.

Clothing

  • For mom: You should pack a few basic items of clothing for yourself but do not go overboard. You are having a baby, not going on a sightseeing adventure across the world. Mom should plan to bring two front-opening nightgowns, nursing bras, breast pads, warm socks, slippers, bathrobe, underwear, and a comfortable outfit to go home in.
  • For baby: What you pack for baby will depend on the season and weather. Plan to bring a few pajamas that close in the front as well as a going-home outfit. If the weather is colder, pack a hat and mittens as well as a blanket or two. If you plan to cloth diaper, baby will also need some made especially for a newborn. Whether you choose cord blood banking or not, your baby will have an umbilical cord stump that needs to heal into a cute little belly button.

Other Items

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  • Toiletries: While the hospital or birthing center will provide you with many basic toiletries such as hand soap and postpartum pads, plan to bring your own as well including lip balm, body lotion, and nipple cream. But do leave the huge beauty kits at home. Some moms may want to put on a little makeup upon going home, but you probably will not have the energy to get all glammed up after brining your little one into the world.
  • Camera and phone: You definitely want to capture the first moments in your new baby’s life. Be sure to have extra batteries and/or chargers so that you do not miss any photo ops. You may also want to listen to music or play on your phone at the beginning of labor.
  • Collection kit: If you are planning on cord blood, cord tissue or placenta tissue banking, you will need your Americord 3-in-1 Collection Kit. The Americord 3-in-1 Collection Kit is made with parents-to-be in mind — as well as medical professionals — so that they can receive premium, flexible care. With the kit, you get everything needed for cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta tissue banking. The kit includes a sterile exterior cord blood collection bag that is the only one on the market that is FDA-approved for all births. Directions are easy to follow so that your health care provider can easily collect what is necessary. The box to ship your collection to the Americord lab is included with the phone number of the medical courier.

If you happen to forget your collection kit due to an early or unexpected delivery, Americord offers emergency collection kits through the Americord Rush service. Strategically located 3-in-1 Collection Kits are easy to access near hospitals for same-day delivery, which means mothers in labor can obtain one in only hours. Americord Rush currently serves all 50 states plus Puerto Rico.

  • Car seat: Most hospitals and birth centers will not allow your baby to leave without a car seat. Also be sure that the car seat is properly installed in your vehicle before you take baby home.

What did you pack in your hospital bag? What did you wish you had brought? Did you pack anything that you did not need?

Image Credits

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What to Pack in Your Hospital or Birthing Center Bag: https://www.flickr.com/photos/seandreilinger/5766629527/ (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) and https://www.flickr.com/photos/megnut/631399663/ (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cats. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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