Are you about to give birth and want everything to go smoothly? Preparing your hospital bag will help you have a positive experience.
Planning: a key for future mothers
The family is growing? To live the precious moments before your delivery in complete serenity, why not prepare your suitcase for the hospital or birth centre well in advance? It is often impossible to predict when your baby will emerge! A well-packed suitcase can give you more peace of mind.
In addition to a suitcase for you, you also have to think of a suitcase for the baby and for your companion. Why not include an action plan to ensure that daily activities are well managed while you are away? This may be especially relevant if loved ones, such as other children or pets, will not be able to accompany you to the hospital and will require attention and care during this crucial time.
The essentials for the mother
Remember to pack clothing and items that will make you feel warm, comfortable and cozy. Soft and warm fabrics, a plush pillow, your favourite blanket, everything to make you feel good during and after this great effort! You should also bring lighter clothes because you could be very warm!
Remember to pack the following items in your suitcase:
- nightgown or short-sleeved shirt that you don't mind staining during labour
- socks (light and warm)
- a few pairs of pajamas
- comfortable and suitable underwear
- maximum absorbency sanitary napkins
- loose-fitting clothing for a few days (it may take some time for your tummy to return to normal)
- comfortable sandals
- beauty or body care products:
- facial cleanser
- lip balm
- dental floss
- contact lens products
- eyeglass cleaner and case (if you wear them)
- hair care products (e.g., shampoo, brush or comb)
- massage oil
Many of these items should be packed for your companion as well.
If you plan to breastfeed, don't forget to include the following:
- nursing pillow
- suitable bra
- absorbent breast pads
- anti-chafing product (ask your pharmacist for advice on this)
The essentials for your companion
Your life partner or the person who will accompany you during the birth will play a very important role. To help them help you, it is important to ensure the best conditions of well-being and comfort. This will allow them to maintain their energy and use it to take good care of you. Additionally, this person may want to take care of other important aspects such as capturing these unforgettable moments.
Thus, it would be a good idea to consider taking the following items with you:
- a change of clothes
- comfortable shoes and slippers
- a plush pillow or blanket
- a travel pillow (such as the ones used on an airplane)
- a device to take pictures or record videos
- choice of entertainment (tablet, magazines, Sudoku, music player, etc.)
- ear plugs
- non-perishable healthy snacks
- water bottle
- change for snacks, coffee or parking, etc.
The essentials for baby
When your baby comes into the world, he or she will likely be greeted with a wave of love and tenderness, and will also need to be cared for in a variety of ways to ensure their physical and emotional well-being. Again, being well prepared will help you feel that you are giving your baby the best.
Here's what you can plan for him or her:
- newborn size pajamas and also 0-3 month size pajamas (you never know exactly what size your child will be!)
- newborn size diapers
- cleansing wipes
- small washcloths for babies
- clothes to leave the hospital or centre adapted to the weather
- small bonnets that cover the head and ears
- mittens to prevent scratching
- swaddling blankets (some lighter, some warmer)
- a pacifier if desired
- carrier cover for winter babies
Develop your birth plan with your life partner or companion and your health care provider, and take it with you. It should clearly and briefly describe your ideal birth, but also what you want and what you will accept if things don't go as desired. Whichever you choose, remember that a good birth plan is beneficial. Attach it to your health card and hospital card, if applicable.
Finally, the infant car seat is an essential part of transporting your newborn from the hospital to your home. The infant car seat (also called a baby carrier) is to be used from birth until your baby weighs at least 10 kg (22 lbs). You'll need to bring it into the room so you can place the baby inside when the time comes.
Don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist for additional information about the care to provide to mothers-to-be and their babies.