7 Budget-Friendly Essentials to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
Are you expecting? Congratulations! You must be overflowing with excitement over the coming birth of your little one. But along with all that excitement, you’re likely feeling a little overwhelmed as well.
At Babyish Hub, we know that planning for labor and delivery can be stressful, especially if you’re on a tight budget! Packing your hospital bag early and having it ready to go with all of the supplies you need can offer some peace of mind. Plus, planning ahead will help you keep your bag simple and affordable.
When it comes to packing for labor and delivery, first-time moms often feel the need to bring everything but the kitchen sink. The truth is, you don’t need to bring much to the hospital. The hospital will provide anything you and your baby need for a safe and comfortable stay.
Still, packing some familiar things from home—and just a few new items—can go a long way toward helping you feel human in the clinical and impersonal environment of the hospital.
1. A Going-Home Outfit
Treating yourself to comfortable, high-quality clothing will make all the difference in how you feel during your stay at the hospital. Some stylish clothes can help you feel beautiful, confident, and ready to take on the demands of your new role as a mother.
You don’t have to spend a lot on this. Look around online for some affordable new clothes from retailers like Old Navy or Kohl’s.
You might even be able to find some Kohl’s coupons to stretch your budget a little further! Keep in mind that your pregnancy body will hang around for a little while, so you may want to stick with loose, comfortable clothes for your going-home outfit.
2. Your Own Birthing Gown
The hospital will provide a birthing gown for you to wear during labor and delivery. However, this gown can be thin, scratchy, and incredibly unflattering. You will feel a lot more at home in a birthing gown of your own. Don’t spend a lot of money on this—it will probably get a little messy during childbirth.
Find a cheap birthing gown online, sew your own, or just bring an old nightdress! If you plan on having more children, you can reuse your birth gown for future deliveries, so buying one new might be a worthwhile investment.
3. A Birth Plan
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Packing a birth plan will help you keep your hospital bill under budget. As Parents.com explains, the purpose of a birth plan is to communicate your wishes to doctors and other care providers during your delivery.
Some of the choices you include in your birth plan, like whether or not to have an epidural, can help you reduce additional costs at the hospital.
Research the birthing process and make sure you understand your options going into the delivery so you can avoid added expenses for tests and procedures that you do not want.
4. A Doula
While you cannot pack a doula in your hospital bag, bringing this trained companion along to the hospital can help you save even more money. When you’re in the throes of labor, your doula will be your advocate, communicating with doctors and nurses about your birth plan.
This can help you avoid unnecessary procedures and the costs that come with them. In fact, research shows that having a doula present during birth decreases the rate of C-sections by 50%, the use of oxytocin by 40%, requests for an epidural by 60%, and the length of labor by 25%.
5. Your Insurance Information
Be sure to also bring your insurance details to the hospital. You don’t want to be left footing the bill for services covered by your policy! Before your delivery, call your insurance provider and find out exactly what they will and will not cover.
Check which procedures and tests are covered and how many days you can stay in the hospital. Also, make sure your preferred hospital or birthing center falls within your coverage network before confirming your birth plan!
6. Snacks and Drinks
Bringing snacks and drinks along to the hospital will help you and your partner avoid purchasing food from the cafeteria or perusing overpriced vending machines. And you just can’t count on the quality of hospital food!
Pack along energizing snacks like homemade granola bars, trail mix, muffins, yogurt, cheese sticks, jerky, and veggies with hummus.
Keep in mind that your practitioner may not want you to eat during labor. In this case, save the snacks for your postpartum recovery—you’ll be hungry after all that hard work!
7. Supplies for Your Baby
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Last but certainly not least, remember to pack a few supplies for your newborn! The most important thing to remember is an infant car seat—the hospital won’t let you take your baby home without one. If you’re looking to save money on a car seat, buying used is not a great idea for safety reasons. Go with a brand-new model that fits within your budget.
You will also want to pack a going-home outfit for your little one. Remember to consider the weather when picking out an outfit for your baby to wear on the ride home! If you’re having a winter birth, you may want to include a knit cap and a blanket.
The hospital should provide everything else you need, including newborn diapers, receiving blankets, baby wipes, and baby lotion, so don’t feel the need to bring these yourself unless you want to.
The Bottom Line
Preparing for your trip to the hospital can be very exciting, but also stressful. What if you forget something essential at home? The truth is that no matter what you pack in your hospital bag, your labor and delivery experience is bound to come with a few surprises. Try to relax and know that your birthing team will be there to support you no matter what!