When they are having a baby, most moms have about nine months to prepare, so they spend months pouring over research on strollers and cribs and bottles and such. Then they complete a registry and get a lot of help in stocking up on baby supplies.
But moms also need to get ready for the big moment when the baby is born. And they might be surprised to find that there are a number of items that can help in that labor and delivery experience. When it comes time to pack the hospital bag, the list goes beyond a change of clothes for mom and a car seat to bring home the baby. This isn't a typical hospital stay, so the comforts of home are even more important. And even if it means packing a little more, it's worth it to have the things that mom may need when she is going through hours of contractions.
Make some room in the bag for change for the vending machine, a pair of flip flops and some massage oil for a downstairs massage. They don't take up a lot of room, but they can make a big difference. Don't worry about overpacking — mom is more likely to regret what she doesn't have than what she does.
Here are 20 unexpected things moms need to have to prepare for delivery.
20 Flip Flops For Mom's Feet
Hospital floors are cold and gross, so moms need something for their feet, especially if they plan to walk, which helps labor to progress. Some women prefer socks or slippers, but we think those might be better for later on. During labor, women can get pretty swollen, and their feet are the worst, that means that closed shoes can feel confining. So pack a pair of cheap flip flops in case you need them.
Another problem with socks and slippers is that moms can get really hot during labor, especially during transition. Many women don't want anything that can make them even hotter, and that includes socks. Flips flops work well because they can breathe while also protecting her feet.
19 TP Since The Hospital's Is So Scratchy
A woman's area down there is pretty sensitive when she is about to have a baby. But before the baby's arrival, a mom-to-be is likely to to use the toilet more than once. Diarrhea can happen, especially during early labor, and that is a good thing since it can clear the colon and keep you from going No. 2 on the delivery table.
The problem is that the hospital's toilet paper is super scratchy. It's definitely a good idea to bring a roll of your own, since you might have to make use of it a lot. After the birth, don't try it — you'll use a squirt bottle if you had a vaginal delivery. But your partner will thank you for putting a roll in the hospital bag.
18 Phone Charger Is Must
These days, a cell phone is a must have for pretty much every event. It's especially useful when you are having a baby. It can take texts and calls and social media to keep friends and family up-to-date on what is going on. And games can help pass the time during labor. After the birth, moms can't wait to take a few photos with your camera phone. But you can use your phone so much that it is sure to drain the battery. Moms might want to buy an extra charger to pack in the hospital bag so it doesn't get forgotten. It's a must when you are preparing for the delivery.
Some people still use cameras to capture their memories, and having a baby is definitely one to consider the higher resolution. But if you pack a camera, be sure to have extra batteries and an extra memory card. You would hate to run out of storage or power at the most important moments, although if your phone is charged, you can take some snaps with it.
17 Hair Bands And Scrunchies
At some point, a mom-to-be will want to look cute, but at another moment, she'll realize that nothing may matter more than getting your hair out of your eyes. Labor is difficult, and while it might start out manageable, the closer that a woman gets to giving birth, the more she will sweat and not care too much about her hair.
A mom definitely needs a hairband and some scrunchies in her hospital bag. She may not bring them out right away, but she will be upset if she doesn't have them. It can help you get through delivery, as well as the long first few days after the birth. New moms might want to clean themselves up for pictures, but in the middle of transition, all she will want is something to tie back her hair.
16 Change For The Snack Machine
Hospital food might not be the most appetizing meals you have ever eaten, but when you are preparing for the birth of the baby, you need to remember that you will have to get some food during your time in the hospital. Mom will get to have a meal or two after the birth, and some hospitals provide a fancy one for mom and dad. But after you give birth, eating three square meals a day just isn't enough. You will need snacks.
Dads might have to miss several meals during labor if they don't have some change to go to the snack machine or a friend bringing them some food from the cafeteria or a nearby restaurant. Some people bring some snacks, but if you don't have room in the hospital bag, make sure that you have change ready so you don't go hungry.
15 Massage Oil
Many people might think that massage oil is the last thing that you need when you are about to have a baby, but it's a good idea to pack it in the hospital bag because if you time during labor, a little massage can go a long way. We aren't talking about back massages, although that can be nice. There's an area down below that needs a little attention when you are laboring.
Many moms swear by perineal massage, which can loosen up the area between the vagina and the rectum to stretch to let the baby out. That area is the one that is most likely to stretch and tear during the delivery, which is just as painful as it sounds. The massage might be able to keep that area intact, and that is worth putting some oil in the bag.
14 Mom's Notepad To Make Lists
Never underestimate the need for a pencil and paper. We guess that some techies love to make lists on their phone, but when you are having a baby, you might not want to keep it in your hand for fear of being tempted to throw it across the room or dropping it. It's better to just put the phone down and focus on the task at hand.
But when you have a baby, there is something about the experience that causes you to remember the big moments and forget everything else. That's why you want to have something to make lists. Lots of people are kind enough to bring presents for the baby, so having the ability to make a list can come in handy. And if you haven't decided on the the name or change your mind, a notepad can really help. It doesn't take up much room, so it's a good thing to make a list.
13 Big Ol' Underwear
When you have a baby, there are a lot of weird things that go on with your wardrobe. It can be culture shock when the nurse hands over a pair of mesh underwear after the birth, so if you want to avoid having see-through underwear underneath a hospital gown with an open back, we recommend that you pack your own grannie panties to help with the situation.
Women are likely going to have to go up a couple of sizes compared to their pre-baby undies, even after they have given birth, but you might want to make it three to make sure they are super comfy. These underwear will likely need to be thrown away after a couple of wears, so don't spend a lot, but some women might feel better if they have some of their own underwear at this moment in life.
12 Chapstick To Get Ready To Kiss The Baby
When you go through labor and delivery, some strange things happen to your body in some places you wouldn't expect. One thing that is great to have on hand is some chapstick. You could be surprised how dry your lips can get, especially considering you can't have much more than a little bit of ice in the final stages of labor.
When you meet your little one, you don't want to have dry lips. Your little one deserves only the softest little kisses, but moms have to be prepared to make that happen. Chapstick takes up just a tiny bit of space, yet at the hospital gift shop it costs three times what it does at local drug store, so we suggest you pack it in the hospital bag.
11 Baby Clothes In A Few Sizes
The baby doesn't need a lot of clothes in the hospital. For the most part, a blanket will do. But mom probably does want to include a special outfit for coming home from the hospital — and it might be nice to have it in a few sizes. Even with the doctor's best estimate before the birth, a baby can be a pound or two bigger or smaller than expected, and that can mean his outfit might not fit.
Some little ones might need preemie clothes, but the majority will fit into a newborn outfit. But these days, it isn't uncommon for a baby to be born at nine pounds, which means that he's already outgrown the newborn sizes. You might want to sneak in a three-month size just in case the baby is big at birth.
10 Massage Rollers Or Tennis Balls
As we've mentioned before, massage can actually help during the labor process. It's a technique known to help a woman manage her pain if she is trying to get through labor without medications. That is especially true if she has back labor, which happens if the baby is turned toward the mom's stomach and not her back. But it can help in every situation to help a mom-to-be relax and try to breathe through her contractions.
Many women swear by massage rollers, which can help put pressure on the skin. It's also possible to put tennis balls in a sock and use that to give a massage. It's all about what the mom and her partner prefer, but it's a good idea to figure it out before labor begins and get prepared for the hard part.
9 Baby Socks and Mittens
Moms don't have to worry about packing a lot of baby clothes in the hospital bag, especially since the baby will spend so much time wrapped up in a blanket or skin-to-skin on mom or dad. But there are a couple of tiny treasures that it would be a good idea to pack for the little one. Those are baby socks and mittens.
It's possible that the baby could be born with some pretty long finger and toe nails. It's pretty scary to cut a baby's nails, so we certainly wouldn't want to do it in the first days of life. Having socks and mittens can keep the baby and the parents from receiving cuts from those sharp talons.
8 Your Own Towel and Toiletries
Hospitals aren't always the most comfortable place for people, but we want new moms to know that they can make their hospital experience even better by bringing a few supplies from home. For example, the hospital will provide towels and toiletries, but they aren't the best quality and might work well for some.
Some moms like to spend time in the water during labor, and they definitely want to clean up afterward. So a comfy towel is definitely an item that can help her to feel even better. For toiletries, we recommend buying some smaller sizes and packing them in the hospital bag so you don't have to remember them when the labor begins. Having your own soap can bring an aromatic comfort as well, so it's worth the extra space in the bag.
7 Pads And Special Bra Or Tank
Whether you plan to breastfeed or not, a new mom's breasts go through changes right after a birth. It's unavoidable, so it's best to be prepared. That is why we recommend that women put a few breast pads in their hospital bag. Usually it can take a few days for the mom's milk to come in, but if she is delayed in going home, she'll want those pads so that she doesn't have to constantly change her shirt.
For those who do plan to nurse, it's important to have a special bra or tank for breastfeeding, which allows for support while also giving quick access. Don't buy too many of these before the birth because some women grow to another size in the first week or two after having a baby, but it's nice to have one on hand at the hospital.
6 Social Media Plan Or Phone Numbers
Once the baby arrives, many parents are ready to start spreading the joy. That means that they need to have a plan for how things should go, since some family members and friends could get upset if they find out on social media. Many times, the dad is the one making the phone calls, even though the numbers might be in mom's phone, so they need to make sure that they have a list and a plan.
Some friends and family can get so excited that they want to post the news on their social media, so it's a good idea to set a guide that mom and dad want to announce first. If you already have an idea of what you want to say and the type of picture you want to use, that can help make the process go smoother too.
5 Warm Socks For Later
We mentioned earlier that footwear can be important when you are in the hospital. You might want to start off with flip flops when you are hot and sweaty during labor, but afterward, it's nice to have socks on hand for the time in the hospital after the birth.
Most women stay in the hospital 24 to 48 hours after they have their baby and some have to spend several more days. Slippers are nice, but since a lot of the time is spent in bed, comfy socks are even nicer. The hospital has some socks if you forgot yours, but we promise that you'll feel more comfortable if you bring your own favorite fuzzy ones.
4 Fun Sign For the Door
This one isn't a must, but it's a fun thing to do to prepare for the baby, and it really comes in handy. A fun sign for the hospital room door can help greet family and friends and help the room feel a little bit more like home. If you know ahead of time if the baby is a boy or a girl and have decided on a name, you can personalize it.
A good thing to add to the sign is something that flips to let people know if they can come right in or if mom or baby are indisposed. It's handy to have something to let people know if you are in the middle of a nursing session, so it can take the stress off of the situation and help the mom to relax a little more. Plus, it's a great keepsake. You can hang it on your front door when you get home to celebrate for a while too.
3 Cleansing Wipes and Dry Shampoo
We've talked about how your own toiletries and a towel can help a woman feel a little better after giving birth, and we still think that's true. But there are some new moms who might not be able to be up and about as quickly as they would hope. Whether it's because of a complication or extra exhaustion, it can help to have some cleansing wipes and dry shampoo to let her clean up a little, especially if she is expecting company.
A shower might not seem like a priority after giving birth, but getting cleaned up can go a long way to making a mom feel a little more normal and back to her old self. It can help ward off a little bit of the baby blues, although that situation is hormonal. Anything that can lift a new mom's mood is worth it, though, so it's good to prepare a few wipes and dry shampoo just in case.
2 Adult Sized Diapers Because Mom Needs Them Too
The baby isn't the only one who needs diaper after giving birth. Mom will also need some extra protection down there because she can't control the stuff coming out of her. Whether she has a vaginal delivery or a C-section, the birth will trigger the release of the thick bloody tissue in the uterine lining. It's called lochia, and it can come out like a period but last for weeks.
The hospital provides extra-large pads, along with ice packs, but some people prefer to just go with adult-sized diapers, especially since it can be hard to control your bladder right after the birth too. You will definitely need either some Depends or some pads when you get home, so it's good to be prepared and stock up.
1 Extra Bags To Bring Things Home
Most moms have a hard time limiting their hospital bag before they go to the hospital, but it'll be even harder on the way home. So we recommend you fold up a couple of empty reusable shopping bags to help you pack up all of the things that you accumulate in the short stay in the hospital.
A lot of people bring presents when they visit the mom and baby, so those will have to go home. Plus, the hospital will allow the parents to take all of the supplies that were given to the baby, including the nose aspirator, the thermometer and diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream. And then there are the extra mesh undies, ice packs and pads that can be taken home. All of the bags usually require a couple of trips to the car, but the mom will be careful if she has some more bags to pack things in.