In my work as a doula, new moms (and dads) ask me all the time about hospital bag essentials. Thankfully, because I’ve been at so many births, I was able to design my own hospital bag. So, what do I see as hospital bag essentials? Let’s dive in quickly.
Lavender: This is a soothing smell. Lavender oil is also known for anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. This is why I always toss it on the hospital bag essentials list. New moms need that, whether it’s Child No. 1 or Child No. 5.
Essential Oils: I include a lot of essential oils among my hospital bag essentials. I typically provide mothers with peppermint and wild orange essential oils, as well as a guide to using essential oils during pregnancy (plus a safety guide). Via this post, there are close to 101 different benefits to using essential oils. There is some concern around the safe use of essential oils during pregnancy, and this is a good primer if you have concerns there.
Birth Affirmation Cards: I include these in my primary birth bag as hospital bag essentials. Why? Because let’s be honest: birth, and labor, are ultimately physical acts. That’s true to the Nth degree. But … birth and labor are also extremely emotional in context. Labor can last a long time, and both parties — the mother and the partner — need affirmation around what’s happening. That affirmative need honestly only grows once the baby is born. New parents often think they’re doing everything wrong. (They’re not.) I try to set up a culture of affirmation as part of my hospital bag essentials, because that culture needs to carry through the child’s life. Where better to start than the child’s actual entry point into the world?
Motherlove products: I’m a big fan of Motherlove. In my birth bag, I have their sitz bath spray, nipple cream, rhoid balm, pregnant belly salve, and diaper rash and thrush cream. They make great products for new moms and pregnancy in general — and a big plus is that it’s all organic. I know sometimes new moms can go overboard on how organic things need to be (that’s been a subject of many skits and stand-up routines), but organic and healthy is important as part of your hospital bag essentials. That’s part of why I go with Motherlove for a portion of my bag.
Education: The products and the base needs (hair ties, Chapstick, etc.) are hospital bag essentials, yes. But we sometimes forget the ‘education’ aspect.
Along with all of the wonderful relaxation tools for birth, my bag comes with a 20 page booklet packed with information on how to prep your body for birth. Easy to use handouts for reference throughout your pregnancy; My Birth Plan Template, Hospital Bag Checklist, Comfort Measures for Birth, Tips for Partners, Tips for turning a breech baby, preparing for a VBAC guide and How to use your Pregnancy Brain- a guide to making informed decisions and the A-Z Guide for Postpartum Wellness.
What would you women (and men) list as hospital bag essentials?