Deciding where you give birth is an important and personal decision. Whether at your home, birthing center, or hospital, you need to be prepared with a labor bag! Here’s my top ten things to have in your labor bag, with some bonus items.
- Snacks: Can you imagine running a marathon and never eating or hydrating yourself? My labors from start to finish were an average of 14.5 hours. I am so thankful I had some nutrition to keep me going! While I didn’t want to eat a huge meal, I did snack a lot and often, especially early on to give me energy. I found having nuts, bars, smoothies, honey sticks, banana and peanut butter and other high protein goodies on hand to be helpful. Technically you aren’t allowed to eat or drink once you enter the hospital, so make sure you fuel up before you leave home! Having a few munchies packed in your bag can be helpful for the ride if your destination is away from home.
- Drinks: Drink up, Mama! You need to stay hydrated for yourself and baby! Water in a bottle with a straw was easy access for me to sip in between contractions. I also craved Coconut water in labor!
- Essential Oils: I love me some calming lavender. Putting a few drops in the diffuser helped soothe the environment and made it smell yummy! Clary sage is known to help induce labor, so be cautious in using this essential oil until its close to your due date!
- Tunes and Headphones: I got in the birthing zone pretty quickly with both babies…and stayed there for the majority of my labor. Having some good tunes to listen to helped me focus. I love, love, love Childbirth in the Glory soundtrack! This is a series of instrumental music and speaking life over Mama, baby, and the birthing process. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, do it right now! I listened to it the week before I gave birth and wish I had it sooner.
- Clothing for Mama: Comfy clothes for Mama during the early stages of labor. But let’s keep it real, those clothes get stripped off quickly when it gets intense. I liked wearing a bathing suit top for my first birth when I used a birthing tub. Nursing bras, flip flops for shower, and a cute comfortable outfit to go home in. Key word here is comfort. You aren’t going to squeeze back into your pre pregnancy clothes right away, so keep things loose and airy.
- Robe: This item of clothing gets it own category. I didn’t have a robe with my first birth, and I wish I did! I walked around with a blanket wrapped around me, so silly! I bought this super cute robe from TJMaxx and continue to use it. This is great for immediately after giving birth, because you can keep baby skin to skin without you or baby getting chilled.
- Big Undies/Depends and Pads: Let’s be real, Mama. Your female part down there goes through trauma while giving birth. It needs to heal, and can’t do that with tight panties or a thong. I purchased undies a size larger than I would normally wear, along with (ahem) depends. I am not ashamed to admit it. You will bleed after giving birth Mama, as your body just did something so miraculous, you brought a baby into the world! From my experience, I wore depends the first couple days and then switched to pads with the bigger undies until the bleeding stopped around 4-6 weeks post pardum.
- Baby stuff: Baby clothes, newborn diapers, wipes. The hospital provides a lot of these things, but if you are delivering at a birthing center or at home, you want to be stocked up. Also, if you plan on taking newborn photos, be sure to have those cute outfits ready!
- Toxic free toiletries for Baby and Mama: I didn’t give either of my kiddos a bath until they were at least a week old. I rubbed their vernix in and let their baby skin soak it up. However, I did thoroughly enjoy a quick shower after giving birth. My friends say it’s nice to have their toiletries on hand if they are away from home. I use Pure Haven* toiletries for myself, and they have a fantastic baby line. Currently I use Earth Mama Angel Baby body wash and lotion for my kiddos.
- Nursing Pillow: I used a nursing pillow early on, and eventually graduated to not needing it. This was also a helpful tool when my son wanted to hold his baby sister. Aren’t they the cutest?
Hospital Bonus Items:
Motrin and Colace stool softener. The hospital will overcharge you for everything. Bringing these items could save you a couple hundred dollars. You might want motrin for pain, because, you might experience a little pain after giving birth. And Colace stool softener because, you need to poop eventually. Subconsciously I did NOT want anything else coming out of me after I gave birth with my second child. When my midwife asked me if I had pooped 24 hours later, she recommended taking something if I didn’t drop a deuce in the next few hours. Thankfully nature took it’s course without any assistance.
Home birth Bonus Items:
Padsickles, peri bottle, and sitz bath. You can make your own padsickles by freezing witch hazel onto pads. Ahhhh relief. Prior to giving birth, I purchased sitz bath and had my husband brew it up and put a big batch in a pitcher in the fridge. I kept the sitz bath in peri bottles in every bathroom. Whenever I did any kind of business on the toilet, I would squirt some down there and it helped ease the tenderness.
That’s my top ten with a few bonus items. What was in your labor bag, Mama?