Posted on November 04 2015
When you start getting close to your estimated due date, most women start nesting and getting everything ready for their new baby’s arrival. The nursery or sleeping space is cleaned, organized and set up perfectly... All of baby’s clothing is washed, folded and put away... All of baby’s bath items are set up in the bathroom, and you feel ready for the birth to commence! But what about your Labor bag? Packing what you need and want to take with you when it’s time to birth your baby is just as important as all of the other preparations you have already made. Not only do you want to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible at the hospital or birth center, but there are certain things that you can pack that just may make your labor experience easier and more enjoyable! Here is a list of something things you might consider putting into your Labor Bag:
- Your most comfortable clothing. This may seem obvious (and it is), but it in the mad whirlwind of prepping for your baby’s arrival, it’s easy to overlook things (and let’s not forget the very real Pregnancy Brain). When you have had your baby and can simply rest and enjoy that time to bond with him or her, you are going to want to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Not only will your womb likely be sore, but your breasts may be sensitive, your muscles may ache from the effort of pushing and/or from cesarean, and you may have trouble regulating your temperature for a short while. Bring a robe or over-sized shirt for nighttime/bath time, soft, loose-fitting pants, warm socks, your favorite cozy sweater (in the cold months), and extra underwear.
- Clothing for your baby. Your baby may not need much but a simple night gown or a kimono-style shirt and socks or footed pants while in the hospital or birthing center, but you’ll want to make sure to bring a “coming home” outfit for him/her. Especially in the colder months, your baby will need help regulating their body temperature. Make sure you bring a receiving blanket, and a warm hat for cold months or a cotton hat for warmer months.
- Your own toiletries. Travel sized shampoo, conditioner, and soap from the hospital may work in a pinch, but the sterile, unfamiliar smell and feel of these products have the potential to make you feel a little anxious about being away from home. Bring your own toiletries: hair products, toothbrush and toothpaste, salves or balms, even your own towel and washcloth if you need to, and you’ll feel a little bit closer to home.
- A CD or mp3 player containing some of your favorite songs. Now, I’m not talking about “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera or anything (unless you think that’ll work for you), but songs that make you feel peaceful, uplifted, empowered, and strong. Instrumental music that can help put you in a meditative or trance state are often invaluable tools when moving through the most challenging parts of birthing your baby.
- Essential oils or other aromatherapy tools. Essential oils have seemingly become a trend, but with good reason: they contain physically and mentally healing properties that - when used safely - can calm your nerves, uplift your mood, and assist with healing physical wounds caused by birthing. Lavender is a very common calming oil, as is chamomile and Geranium... Helichrysum and Yarrow are very good for minor cuts and bruises, and Peppermint or Lemon can give you a mood boost. *Note: If you are not familiar with how to use essential oils, please ask a certified practitioner and do your research! Essential oils can be dangerous if not used properly.
- Artwork, special small items that carry good energy and/or beautiful photos. When I birthed our second daughter, I set up an altar of sorts in our birthing room that contained beautiful stones, small gifts that friends had made, a drawing that I created in a birthing class to help me have something to focus on, and candles for soft lighting. Just knowing that it was there soothed me. As it happened, I barely looked at it because my labor lasted a whopping 2.5 hours from start to finish, but many other women find similar set-ups to assist in getting to that “trance-like” stage of labor.
- Your favorite healthy snacks (and maybe some indulgent ones, too). Shimmying down to the nearest vending machine isn’t exactly satisfying - or convenient - when you’re looking for something to nibble on. Homemade baked goods, some dark chocolate, whatever your favorite treats are, bring some just in the off chance that you get a hankering for something other than hospital fare.
- Don’t forget important names and numbers! Not only might you want to let everyone know when your Little One is born, but you may also need to call and ask someone to bring you a home-cooked meal if the hospital food happens to be especially awful. ;)
- A little cash and some change. Maybe you actually DO want to get something from the vending machine. Or maybe you want to stroll down to the gift shop and pick up a little something for your new bundle (or yourself!). It just feels good to know that if you need cash for something, you’ve got it.
- And finally, bring a phone charger! It’s really frustrating to be somewhere and not have a functioning phone.