Here on the westside, we’ve got some pretty cushy hospitals to deliver our babies in. In the months and weeks before giving birth, I incessantly googled what to pack in my labor bag and was totally led astray by watching videos or reading blogs from moms in other parts of the country or even the world (health care might be free in Canada, but you don’t get 24-hour room service or a stockpile of free diapers with that). In consulting with my friends who delivered at UCLA Santa Monica, UCLA Westwood, St. John’s Santa Monica and Cedars Sinai to get their opinions, I’ve compiled a list of some important items for any westside of LA mommy to bring in her hospital bag(s).
Pyjamas that open at the front for easy boobie access. I got this relatively inexpensive, yet SO COMFY set from Victoria’s Secret that I brought to the hospital and loved so much that I bought a second pair and wore almost every night for the first 6 months.
Robe. Optional, I didn’t bring one, but could see the need if you brought short pajamas.
Nursing bra. Obviously optional if you’re not breastfeeding (you do you, mama!)
Toiletries. The hospital provides these, but it’s always nice to have your own shampoo for that first, amazing shower after delivery.
Extra long phone charger. You never know how far from your bed the outlets will be.
Outfit for baby to wear home. Duh.
Outfit for you to wear home. I’ve heard people say you’ll look about 5-months pregnant when you leave the hospital, but that was not my situation. I looked about 8.5 months pregnant. I would also suggest something with a tight band around your belly to make it feel like your organs aren’t sloshing around inside your empty abdomen every time you stand up.
Makeup bag. Maybe you’ll feel like putting on makeup, maybe you won’t. Nice to have for some hospital photos.
Another bag. Something like a Longchamp bag that folds up would have been super helpful. On the day we checked out, our nurse encouraged us to take all the extra supplies in the room (diapers, wipes, baby blankets, perineal bottle, tucks pads, cold packs, mesh underwear) because they throw everything out after you leave. Also, UCLA Westwood gave us a nice goodie pack filled with UCLA and Honest paraphernalia.
Some super optional stuff that might come in handy:
Bluetooth speaker. Plus a curated playlist of your favorite “having a baby” tunes. Once I started pushing, the delivery room was kind of boring and quiet between pushes (seriously), a little music really lightened the mood.
Tons of chapstick. It’s dry in those hospitals
Baby nail clippers or file. My baby was born with a fierce set of talons and the hospital wouldn’t give us nail clippers or cut her nails (apparently this is a liability).
Pacifier. Some people will disagree with me on this, but if you’re a breastfeeding mama and things are going well in the first couple of days, a pacifier will help you get some rest. I breastfeed for 4 hours straight (not even exaggerating) on her 3rd day of life and almost cried when our baby nurse arrived for the first night and told me that she was using me for comfort and I could just give her a pacifier.
Labor snacks. Ugh, they won’t feed you once you’re admitted and are in labor. I was in labor for hours at home and totally uninterested in eating, but once I got an epidural and had a nap, I asked literally every person who walked into my room if I could have some food.
If you're lucky enough to still be wearing your rings by the time you head to the hospital, leave them at home. You will very likely get some IV fluids that will swell you up beyond recognition. I wish I took this advice when it was given to me.
Don't buy a "labor gown". Whatever you are wearing during delivery will likely never ever be salvaged (trust us on this one), just wear a hospital gown and let them deal with it.
Tell your husband to bring a pair of super comfy slippers.