Updated: Nov 14, 2020
One of the things us expectant mothers wonder about most is what to pack in our hospital bag. It is usually a topic of excitement. Packing all those little things we will get to use as we welcome our baby into this world! I remember being super excited about the hospital bag. Putting outfits together, gathering my favorite oils, choosing comfi clothes, ... It was actually fun!
This time, it feels different. For us mommies giving birth during times of Corona, this matter has become a more serious one. And I would dare saying, a not so pleasant one...
Hospitals now are restricting the number of birth partners to 1. Or even none at all! Our partner may be allowed to be with us during labor and birth, but once the baby is born, he or she may be sent home and only be allowed to come back to the hospital to pick us up.
What does this mean?
That we need to plan ahead all the things we might possibly need during our stay at the hospital, and avoid forgetting anything. This time, we cannot bring our partner up to bring us whatever it is we forgot during his or her next visit. In many cases, that is no longer an option. I must admit, I can personally feel the pressure of it all.
Call your hospital as your EDD (Estimated Date of Delivery) approaches to ask about regulations in place.
Call the hospital before you leave the house to be aware of any possible change, and things you may need you had not thought of.
Some hospitals are actually advising to pack less. This is due to the fact healthy moms and healthy babies are being discharged faster than usual. Which means your stay at the hospital may be shorter than in the past. If you ask me, I'd rather pack too much than too little, but that's just me!
So, What to Pack?
Rather than a list of items to pack, this blog entry is aimed to help you decide what you might need during your stay at the hospital. If you'd like to have a list of actual items to pack, scroll down towards the end of this text, and you will find a free printable I've prepared for all of us.
Gadgets: These are odd times we live in! You may need to stay in the hospital in complete isolation and, having the possibility to talk to family and friends or watch a good Netflix show, or why not, do some comfort online shopping, may be at the top of your priorities. Oh, don't forget all the cables, plugs and even a portable battery bank. You never know! I'd suggest packing an e-book reader or a paper book too.
Ok, let me get serious now:
Comfy clothes for you: During my first delivery, I really was not aware of how big my belly would still be after giving birth. I'd say I was the size back when I was at 6 months pregnant. So, pack some maternity or large clothes because chances are you are not going back to your "normal size" just yet. And that is ok!
Comfy clothes for baby: You can use small cloth travel bags and label them such as: Day 1, Outfit 1, etc. You can also use zip-lock bags, or any bags you have at home. In each packet I had a combination of a onezie, a pijama, a hat, a bib, socks and mittens. You may want to throw in a pacifier if you are planning to use one. As an NCS I do not recommend using pacifiers until breastfeeding has been stablished, or until you decide you are not going to breastfeed.
Toiletries: this is an easy one because most of us are used to traveling (gel, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush BUT remember to add sanitary pads, baby wipes, and even toilet paper and towels if you go to a public hospital in Hungary. Oh, add flip-flops to take a shower with!
Comfort essentials: such as pillows, blankets, hot/cold packs, slippers...
Snacks: My suggestions are fruits (apples, bananas, oranges, ...), nuts, chocolate, muesli bars, ... Again, think you may be stuck in your hospital room for a few days, without visitors being able to bring anything. Of course, you'll be fed by the hospital but think about all the food you might be craving, and pack it.
Because I can't live without aromatherapy, I am planning to take my difusor (which is also a humidifier) and my favorite oils. If you'd like to learn more about Oils during Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum read my blog entry: Pregnancy with Oils.
As always you know yourself and your family better than anyone. This list is intended to help you get your hospital bag ready, and I hope you find it useful! If you use these suggestions, I'd love to hear from you.
Because I didn't want to make this blog entry never ending, I have created a free printout you can download and use: My Birth Story Abroad - Hospital Bag Essentials. In it, you have a more extensive list of items, and also an empty sheet to write down your own Hospital Bag checklist.
Also, don't forget to check out My Birth Story Abroad project, a community of support I am building for moms living outside of their home countries. And if you live in Budapest, we have a support Whatsapp group. Reach out, we'd love to welcome you! Mamas support mamas.
Are you currently getting your hospital bag ready? Would you include anything else in your hospital bag?