I gave birth at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, BC. I had done quite a bit of research prior to giving birth on what to pack in my hospital bag, and I ended up only using perhaps 30% of what I brought. So for those woman giving birth at RCH, read on to see what I recommend for your birth!
Other than personal toiletries, I felt that RCH provided me with most of the basic necessities. I was given many incontinence pads, mesh disposable underwear, frozen pantyliners, squirt bottle for washing, hospital gown (one for labor, and a new one provided in the maternity room afterwards too), pain killers Tylenol and Advil, and a few diapers for the baby as well.
RCH is very supportive of breastfeeding. The nurses brought us a Medela symphony pump that very night and I was able to start pumping right away. This is an awesome pump, do use it! They will supply you with all the things you need including clean flanges and Snappies containers. These containers are awesome! I was able to grab a new bag (of 10 snappies) every day when Chichi was in the hospital, so that I can pump and bring her milk. They have accurate markings for measurement, completely leak proof and the hospital feeds them directly from the Snappie because it will fit most standard size nipples. They also fit directly onto the breast pump so you don’t have to pour and clean so many bottles. I was able to take some home with me and found them extremely convenient for going out because they’re so small and can fit in a small Thermos with hot water for heating up.
One tip for those who are thinking of purchasing a breast pump but have not yet purchased one, you can purchase a breast pump from the lactation consultation at RCH! They only had the Ameda Purely Yours double electric breast pump, which they sell AT COST. I was able to buy mine there for only $170!.
For my hospital bag, I packed 2 separate bags. One for me to take to the labor room, one I left in the car for after the birth which contains my overnight items as well as baby things. I also brought along my purse. Make sure you bring your medical card, insurance cards, cell phone.
For my labor bag, I packed:
- Lip balm: VERY IMPORTANT! Your lips get uncomfortably dry when you are continuously huffing and puffing through labor. This was actually the only thing I used out of my labor bag!
- Massage supplies: I bought 2 tennis balls, and put them in a sock, with a knot tied in the middle. This may be helpful particularly if you have a lot of back labor. The two balls will rest nicely on your back, and the knot will prevent it from rubbing on your spine.
- Something to pass time: We brought a deck of cards for hubby: We didn’t end up using this because we just played with our phones in early labor. Some people might prefer a book, or you can just take naps when you can.
- Pair of black socks: Hospital gets quite cold, and the black will help conceal any blood
- A camera: We just ended up taking pictures from our phones. But if you want to bring a camera, make sure you its fully charged before you go, and the memory card too!
- Snacks for hubby
- Bathing suits in case we got to use a tub for labor. Didn’t happen, didn’t even see a tub at RCH.
- Basic makeup kit: To make yourself look somewhat presentable after the birth, for picture taking purposes. Hairbrush, lipstick etc
- A timer/watch for timing contractions
- Your birth plan
- Hair tie
Some woman might prefer to have their own things to be more comfortable like your own robe, or pillow. Just keep in mind that you may have to throw these items away after birth, as it can become very messy and dirty.
For the Overnight bag, I packed
- Toiletries: Travel sizes of shampoo, conditioner, body soap, hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste etc. My own fluffy bath towel. One of the things I really wanted to do after birth was to take a shower, but I didn’t because I couldn’t stand up by myself for more than 1 minute. So I didn’t end up using any of this. None of this is provided at RCH.
- Robe/PJ’s: RCH provides you with a hospital gown during labor, and also a new one after in the maternity room. I preferred to use the hospital gown for labor because it gets really dirty, but afterwards having your own robe is really nice. I do recommend a robe that has either buttons down the front or some sort of easy access for breastfeeding purposes.
- Flip flops: preferred over slippers because you can wear these to the shower if you want to
- Going home outfit: I went home in the same clothes I went into the hospital in. Yes, they fit.
- A clean outfit for hubby
- Nursing bra and breast pads
- The most granny underwear you can find, or just use the mesh underwear the hospital provides. You will have a very thick layer of pads in your underwear, so your sexy thongs aren’t gonna cut it. At one point I had 3 layers of pads in my underwear. No joke.
- A combination lock for the locker in the room. The door to your room does not lock, and you will want to have a safe place to put your things if you are away.
- phone charger
Also for the baby:
- Car seat
- A couple of outfits. Take the newborn outfit and the 3-6 month outfit, just in case the baby is too big for the newborn size.
- A going home super cute outfit
- Extra diapers. RCH did provide this, but I heard they would charge extra if you needed extra.
- Wipes, diaper cream, burp cloth
- Swaddle blanket, or baby sleep sack
- Baby mittens or baby nail clippers/filing board.
Most first time moms will over pack. Just remember that you will be coming home with a lot more things than you went to the hospital with!
Tip: Wet some pantyliners, and put them in the freezer before you are due. That way they will be ready for you when you come home!
Pack your bags at least 1 month, if not 2 months, before your due date. Last minute scrambling is no fun, especially if your water breaks at home!