Packing a bag for your hospital stay when having a baby can be a challenging task—there are so many options and so many temptations to pack everything and the kitchen sink! There’s nothing more I love to do than helping my clients so to answer this question I sat down with Haley Elise Stewart of Tranquility by Hehe, a birthing doula who serves clients all around the Boston area, in order to compile the ultimate list for packing your hospital bag. And this isn’t just any ordinary list! This list will have you look to your five senses to help you pack a more efficient and meaningful hospital bag!
1) Pack for your sense of sight – Hospitals are by nature very sterile and bleak, Hehe recommends that you bring things from home that are comforting: “this can be pillows, pictures of loved ones, your own clothes, your favorite blanket, your robe and your slippers.”
2) Pack for your sense of Sound – Depending on where you plan to deliver your baby, whether it’s in a bustling city or your local neighborhood, the noise level will of your hospital room will vary greatly. Ear buds are a great item to keep handy if you need to keep your room quiet. However, Hehe advices that “some people find music encouraging and this ranges from “Eye of the Tiger” to calm relaxing classical music. Some laboring parents prefer earbuds so it can be louder and intense like the contractions.”
3) Pack for your sense of Taste – Your time in the delivery room can be a long one, and when you’re in the middle of painful contractions, food may be the last thing on your mind but Hehe still recommends that you pack snacks anyway “anything that can be eaten with one hand such as pretzel sticks, cheese sticks, granola bars, and fruit. Both, you and our partner will want snacks to help keep your energy up” she advises.
4) Pack for your sense of Touch – Hospital rooms are notoriously cold, and to top it off you are constantly being picked and prodded by cold hands and medical devices. So to help your sense of touch, Hehe recommends that you pack items that will provide you with physical comfort such as “lotion for massage, back massagers, a rebozo (a Mexican shawl-like garment used for pain relief), and heat packs, and ice packs.”
5) Pack for your sense of Smell – I won’t get into the nitty and gritty detail of the way birth can smell but if your sense of smell is extra sharp and you are regularly bothered by unique scents, then Hehe advices that you pack for this sense as well. While most hospitals do not allow you to spray perfume, like candles, or use air fresheners. Some hospitals will allow you to use battery operated diffusers for short amounts of time to make the room smell more relaxing. “For hospitals that don’t allow diffusers, place a few drops of the essential oil on a paper towel and hold it close to birthing parent’s face. Have the laboring parent take deep breaths” she advises.
6) Don’t forget the essentials! Everyday items such as phone chargers, eyeglasses, and medications, change of clothes, toothbrushes, and deodorant are staples in the ultimate hospital bag.
7) Keep it simple for baby – Hospitals will provide everything your baby will need during your hospital stay so it’s advisable to only pack items you’ll need to take baby home in – your car seat, a blanket, an outfit, and a hat. And if you’ve book a photographer to capture your sweet and adorable baby a quick call to them before you leave the hospital is ideal!
If you’re a veteran parent, what did you pack in your hospital bag that you found very helpful? Leave a comment below to help new parents!
Thank you to Haley Elise Stewart for her help and guidance in compiling this list. To learn more about her Maternity Concierge services please visit https://tranquilitybyhehe.com/ or come by to the studio in Peabody to grab a helpful info packet!