In honor of having a handful of prego friends around me, many of which are first time moms-to-be, I’m inspired to share my top 5 favorite things to pack for your hospital stay during labor and delivery.

Now, I’m not going to get into the obvious things like camera, cell phone, toothbrush…there are tons and tons of checklists available on the ‘net already that will cover all the basics.

This list covers all the things that I adored the very most during labor and delivery. Each labor was a little different for me, so this list is a comprehensive list between all 3 times I popped:

  1. Music Playlist Specifically Created for Labor. Music to me instantly changes my mood and creating a playlist for labor helped me get into the mood I wanted to have through the contractions and into delivery. Don’t make your playlist too early; within a couple weeks of your due date is ideal. This way you can go with your vibe at the time. Each time was different for me: With my first labor, I wanted it to be super tranquil, so I had music on my playlist that helped me feel calm and zen out. With my second, I was listening to workout music that was super upbeat and I was dancing and moving through my contractions. With my third, I was listening to hip hop and letting out my goofy side by blasting stuff like “Push it”. Go with your mood and how you want to embrace labor. I personally used Spotify. I was listening to my playlists from when the contractions started at home, in the car and at the hospital during labor.
  2. Robe and loose flannel pajama pants. The hospital supplied a gown, but I just didn’t enjoy wearing the hospital gear longer than necessary. Having a light, cottonish robe was convenient since I was breastfeeding every couple of hours. I’m picky about the material I wear, so if you’re like me, then stick to materials you enjoy. I was tempted to buy a silk/ floral kimono because it would be cute in pictures but I knew I wouldn’t dig the material. I picked mine up from Target a lot like this kimono style one. I bought one size up from my non-prego size. It was a bit snug but it did the job and I can still wear it. Win-win. Flannel pants were awesome because they were loose, kept me warm, I didn’t care if they got beat up, and did I mention they were loose? There is so much going on waist down, that having some loose comfy pants was the best. Think Christmas morning and you just got the most amazing gift ever. My flannel pants were actually my husband’s flannel pants…details details. They’re mine now.
  3. Nursing bras and a Nursing Tank. If you plan on nursing, then definitely take some nursing bras with you. In fact, I just started wearing mine during pregnancy. I bought a size up from what fit me perfectly during pregnancy to keep extra real estate for when my milk came in. If you are not going to nurse, still take a comfortable, supportive bra. I have been happy with this wireless full-coverage nursing bra made by Motherhood Maternity. And it’s on sale right now, guys. Woohoo! I also got use out of my nursing tank at the hospital when I didn’t feel like wearing a robe.
  4. Exercise Ball. So, no I didn’t pack this but I did find out from the hospital beforehand if they would have one I could use for labor. I started sitting on this every day during my late night TV binging in the last month of my pregnancy. It is comfortable to sit on and also is a great way to stretch. Having it during labor was very handy in order to get into a comfortable position when I didn’t want to stand. I could sit on the ball and crouch over the hospital bed and get some relief. Hubbers did a great job applying pressure to my lower back through my contractions when I had “back labor” the first time around. Having the ball helped me reach my goal before surrendering to the epidural. Oh, epidural..how I loved thee.
  5. Snacks. I didn’t realize how starving I would be getting my first go around. Luckily, the hospital I delivered at provided 24 hour dining (it wasn’t as bougie as I just made it sound) which was surprisingly decent. I delivered at a different hospital the second time and their food is probably where the saying, “It tastes like hospital food” came from. Yuck. And the little food they provided was only during certain hours. For this reason, pack snacks that you can munch on when other food is not available. If you’re lucky like I was, you will have family that can bring you some food too. A girl has to eat, right? Especially after an extreme workout sesh like popping out a baby!

A few other tips for your labor hospital stay are listed below because, well, I just have a lot to say:

-A going home outfit for baby appropriate for the weather. Remember, baby needs one extra layer than we do.

-A going home outfit for you. You will still look about 6 months pregnant, so plan accordingly.

-Car-seat properly installed. If this is your first time, your local fire department can install it for you free of charge and make sure it is done correctly.

-Toiletries. Think staycation. If you’re picky about your shampoo, take your shampoo.

-Prenatal vitamins. The hospital will supply this as well, but I wanted to stick to what I was already taking.

-Cameras, phones and CHARGERS. Clear out memory cards beforehand so you have enough storage space.

-Gifts “from the baby” to older siblings when they visit. Preparing older siblings is something we began quite early on in the pregnancies.

-A bag of essentials for husband or your delivery teammate that may be staying overnight with you.

-Coconut oil. I didn’t do this, but my doctor mentioned that some women bring it for lubrication during delivery. If you’re into that, don’t forget it.

-Breast pump. The hospital will supply this as well, but if you have questions on yours, you can take it and get some tips from a lactation consultant. Remember, most health plans provide a free breastpump via Affordable Care Act that passed a few years ago. Oh, how I miss our old President but I won’t get into politics.

Happy Laboring, ladies! What did you take that was helpful to you for labor? Leave a comment below for other soon-to-be Mommies!