Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Labor Bag Must Haves

What's in your labor bag?

I mean, really....what all do you need to bring to a fully equipped hospital or birth center? When it comes down to the last minute planning, many moms and dads-to-be feel more than just a little overwhelmed. Here's a simple list with options for those who want to do-it-all, plan-it-all, pack-it-all.

  • Skid proof footwear, preferably something that slips on easily and can take some unwanted fluids. Crocs, anyone?
  • Labor/birth gown. Keep the neckline low and the hemline high. You can always cover up with a hospital gown or robe when walking the halls. But for easy nursing access for baby, and less to fuss with below the waist during labor, think skimpy and short. (Hydrogen peroxide gets out most blood spots/stains.)
  • Lip balm. Keeps your mouth moist from all those focused belly breaths.
  • Hair ties. Think work out strategy for your hair.
  • Snacks for you and your dedicated partner. Simple, easily digested foods are best. Yogurt, fruit, soft cheese, peanut butter, honey all travel easily and go down smooth. (Although don't be surprised if you bring it back up later in labor, that's not uncommon.)
  • Water bottle filled with labor aid or red raspberry tea. 
  • Body lotion, lightly scented. Many women find that their senses are more acute during labor and aromas that they previously found refreshing are over powering. 
  • Rechargers/batteries for electronic devices (i.e. cameras, phones, laptop, etc)
  • Extra clothes for going home.
  • Baby blanket and outfit.
  • Baby book for footprints.
  • Tennis balls for back rubs. (Put two tennis balls in a clean sock. Tie it off. Makes a nice massage tool for rubbing moms back, legs, shoulders during labor.) 
  • Overnight toiletries ( toothbrush, comb, deodorant, etc.) 
  • Infant car seat. (You can go to the Police Department in most communities for assistance in proper installation beforehand.)
For those who want to make the labor room even more personal:

  • MP3 player with labor playlist.
  • Your own pillow.
  • Swim trunks for dad. (In case he offers support while you're in the shower).
  • Hand held fan.
  • Rice bags for warm counter pressure on low back. (Put 2 cups of uncooked rice in a clean, long sock. Tie it off. Warm in microwave.) 
 Prepare for an overnight stay for both you and your partner. Keep a list of last minute things to pack or do before leaving the house. (Do you have pets to crate?)

A little planning goes a long way. But, your baby will be born regardless of the things you remembered to pack (or not). Remember to keep things simple, listen to your heart and your own intuition. Don't worry if you didn't pack everything, you will have just what you need.