Remember, you could walk in and have your baby without bringing any of the stuff listed below! But many moms like to know what essentials to bring to the hospital, and get packed when they’re about eight months pregnant. Keep the bags where you can grab them quick!

For Labor

  • Eyeglasses, if you wear them. Most people wear their contacts, but if you had a cesarean you’d need to take them out, and you’d want to be able to see your baby.
  • Toiletries: Pack a few personal items, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, a brush and comb, makeup, and a hair band or barrettes. We’ve got soap, lotion, and shampoo – but I bet your shampoo is nicer than ours!
  • Something to wear during labor. Or – We can provide a hospital gown and ugly robe. Some moms feel more comfortable in their own clothes. It doesn’t have to be a nightgown either! A lot of moms walk the halls – slippers or sandals are great for that.
  • Something to wear in the tub unless you won’t mind being naked. Moms use the tub both ways; some people wear sports bras and bikini bottoms, others wear a tee. Also – flip flops for the shower??
  • Whatever will help you relax. Your own pillow (use a colorful pillowcase so it doesn’t get mixed up with the hospital’s pillows), music and something to play it on, a picture of someone/something you love, anything you find reassuring. If you’re going to be induced, think about bringing reading material because it may be a while before labor is underway. Or a scrabble board or cribbage board – or your tablet or laptop!

For Your Partner or Support Person

  • A camera or smartphone for taking pictures.
  • Toiletries – because nothing says I love you like freshly brushed teeth the morning after!
  • Comfortable shoes and a few changes of comfortable clothes.
  • Snacks – put a label on and stash in the fridge.
  • Small amount of cash for vending machines, and for food in the cafeteria.
  • A bathing suit. If you want to take a bath or shower during labor, you may want your partner to get in with you to support you or rub your back.

After the Birth

  • A fresh nightgown, if you prefer to wear your own. And a couple days of clothes for the first days in the hospital.
  • A list of people to call and their phone numbers, your cell phone and charger or, if you’ll be using the hospital phone, a prepaid phone card. Bring a list of everyone you’ll want to contact so you don’t forget someone important when you’re exhausted after delivery.
  • Tablet or laptop – BMH has free guest wireless.
  • Snacks! After many hours of labor, you’re likely to be pretty hungry, and you may not want to rely solely on hospital food. So feel free to bring your own – crackers, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, or whatever you think you’ll enjoy.
  • Comfortable nursing bras or regular bras. Whether or not you breastfeed, your breasts are likely to be tender and swollen when your milk comes in, which can happen anytime after about 36-hours after the birth. A good bra can provide comfort, and breast pads can be added to help absorb leaks.
  • Several pairs of maternity underwear. Some women love the mesh underwear we provide, but others don’t. You can’t go wrong with your own roomy cotton underpants. The hospital will provide sanitary pads because you’ll bleed after delivery. Make sure you have a supply of heavy-duty pads waiting at home!
  • Photos of your other children. When they come to visit, they’ll see that you haven’t forgotten them.
  • Gifts for older siblings. Some parents bring gifts for the new baby to “give” to big brothers and sisters.
  • A notepad or journal and pen or pencil. Write down questions you have for the nurse, note what the pediatrician tells you, jot down memories of your baby’s first day, and so on. Some people bring a baby book so they can record the birth details right away. (The nurses will be glad to do footprints in the baby book for you – MUCH easier than trying to do it at home, believe me!)
  • A going-home outfit. Bring something roomy and easy to get into (believe it or not, you’ll probably still look 5 or 6 months pregnant) and a pair of comfortable shoes.

For Your Baby

  • Nail clippers or emery board, to take care of baby’s nails. The nurses don’t have them, and you need to do it yourself!
  • A car seat. You can’t drive your baby home without one! Have the seat properly installed ahead of time and know how to buckle your baby in correctly. Call Rescue Inc to get the seat checked at 802-257-7679 – they check carseats on Mondays from 3-6 PM by appointment.
  • A going-home outfit. Your baby will need an outfit to go home in, including socks or booties if the clothing doesn’t have feet. Make sure the legs on your baby’s clothes are separate so the car seat strap can fit between them.
  • A receiving blanket. The hospital will provide blankets for baby while you’re here, but bring your own to tuck around your baby in the car seat for the ride home. Make it a heavy one if the weather’s cold.

What Not to Bring

  • Jewelry – and if your wedding ring doesn’t fit well, leave it home! Wedding rings are really easy to lose when they are not on your finger.
  • Lots of cash or other valuables.
  • Medications, including vitamins. Let your doctor or midwife know whether you’re on any medications. The hospital will provide them for you if your doctor agrees that you should continue to take them while you’re there.
  • Diapers. We will provide disposable diapers, you can leave your supply home.
  • Breast pump. If you end up needing a breast pump for any reason, the hospital can provide one.