As I have recently been packing my hospital bag ready for our second arrival, I thought I would write a quick post about what to pack in your hospital bag as a hopefully helpful guide for other mums to be- remember to sign up to grab yourself a free printable checklist at the end of the post.
What to pack in your hospital bag- For you/Mama
- Maternity pads– you will almost certainly need more of these than you think depending on how long you are in the hospital for. My advice would be to stock up on these, take a large packet to the hospital with you and keep the rest at home for later on.
- Something to wear in labour– I’ve packed a loose fitting cheap black nightie that I brought from Primark to wear in labour. That way if it gets ruined I’ll just bin it afterward.
- Bikini/tankini top– I’ve packed this in the hope of going in the birthing pool, but obviously, if you don’t have any intention of going in the pool then don’t bother with this.
- Breast pads– you might not need these whilst in the hospital as it normally takes a couple of days for your milk to come in, but good to pack just in case as you don’t know how long you’ll be there for. Personally, I find the ones that have a sticky strip to hold in place in your bra are the better.
- Giant cotton knickers– lots of websites recommend plastic disposal type knickers to wear, but to be honest a pack of giant cotton knickers (Bridget Jones style!) from Primark or the supermarket are a similar price to the disposables and a damn sight more comfortable. The way I see it is, I’ve been uncomfortable for 9 bloody months already, let’s opt for the most comfortable option!
- Nursing bras– Again needed for breastfeeding and to accommodate your increasing bosom as your milk comes in.
- Nipple Cream– This will be your new best friend. Lansinoh brand is great, but it is quite expensive. When you first start breastfeeding it can be painful, and your nipples can quickly become chapped and sore. I recommend using this regularly before and after feeding (it has no effect on feeding so its fine to do this). Note: my husband also says its great for chapped lips after trying it out during our last hospital stay!
- Socks– nice fluffy ones! It might seem a bit strange but often your feet can get very cold during labour, and if not always nice for afterward.
- Dressing gown– mainly for use afterward to keep you warm and your modesty (what’s left of it! 😉) covered up whilst walking around the ward.
- PJs/nightgown– once baby is born, you will want to have a shower and change into some clean clothes. Loose fitting comfortable cotton PJs are perfect for this, or a nightgown if you prefer.
- Slippers/flip-flops– easily slip on slippers are best so you can traipse around the ward, not in your bare feet.
- Hairbrush and hair bands– it’s likely that if you have long hair you will want it tied back at some point during labour.
- Clothes– to wear for going home, you again want to go for comfort here. I’ve packed my trusty black leggings (maternity still as tummy unlikely to have shrunk back to normal instantly! Sadly) and a nursing top and cardigan.
- Lip balm– hospitals are often very drying/humid places, combined with a lengthy labour and not drinking as much likely to lead to very dry chapped lips.
- Mini toiletries– I’ve got a packet of mini toiletries to take including; deodorant, wipes, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and toothbrush.
- Tens machine– I used my tens machine throughout my first labour for pain relief so will endeavor to use it again. You can rent or buy these.
- Book/magazines– useful to have some reading material either if your being induced and it’s a bit of a waiting game or for after baby is born.
- Phone charger– essential these days, our phones are often our lifeline to the outside world!
- Snacks/bottle drink– you are unlikely to want to eat anything during labour, more likely to feel nauseous but if it’s a long labour it’s good to try something even if it’s just a sports drink to keep your energy levels up. I have also packed much-needed chocolate treat for afterward.
- Towel– the hospital will, of course, provide you with a towel (or 2 if you are lucky!) but they are often small, white, and not particularly soft. After being in labour for 15 hours last time and then going to theatre, when I finally had a shower I wanted a nice big soft towel, I also chose a dark colour because you are likely to be bleeding still.
- Plastic bag– I’ve packed this to put my soiled/dirty clothes in.
- Maternity notes– pretty essential to take these with you to the hospital.
- Pillow– again yes hospitals will, of course, provide you with a pillow, but likely just the one and not a comfortable one, I recommend taking a V-shaped pillow with you, good for sleeping but also with breastfeeding support.
- Birthing ball– some hospitals will have these for you to use and almost all midwife-led birthing centres but not all so good to check beforehand. I used the ball a lot during my first labour as couldn’t sit/lay still but didn’t or couldn’t always stand.
- Cash– always a good idea for you/your partner to have some cash/loose change with you (seems a bit crazy in this age of contactless, but often hospitals still stuck in the 90s when it comes to technology, so good for car parking and vending machines etc.
What to pack in your hospital bag- For Baby
- Nappies– I’ve packed size 1 (as pretty sure he won’t be teeny tiny size)
- Cotton wool/water wipes– for cleaning/changing nappies traditionally use cotton wool and warm water as a newborns skin is very sensitive but can water wipes that are completely natural can be used instead from birth.
- Nappy bags– baby poo stinks! Scented nappy bags are essential to mask the smell!
- Blanket– I have a beautiful grandma knitted family baby blanket to wrap up new baby in and absorb that incredible new baby smell! It’s the same one we used for Hayden. Blanket to keep baby warm and cover when sleeping (baby grow bags/sleeping bags generally not suitable for newborn babies, to begin with)
- Muslins– several of these packed, including some extra large ones. Used for most things, baby vomit, burping to protect t clothes from said vomit, extra large ones for breastfeeding coverall or for swaddling/light blanket.
- Small cuddly toy– this is mostly for sentimental reasons and for the baby photos, not actually essential!
- Clothes for baby– vests/socks/babygrows/Hats- I have packed 3-4 of each of these in a slight variation of size. By that I mean they are all labelled as newborn size but different brands/shops will vary widely and it’s impossible to know what size baby will be when they arrive.
- All in one coat/star blanket– if it’s winter or just cold then a good idea to pack some sort of all in one coat, but note: it should be removed before being in car seat in the car (risk of overheating) I love the star blankets from tuppence and crumble instead of an all in one which is a bit fiddly to get a newborn into!
- Car seat– this is essential, make sure that it is fitted into the car properly beforehand and you and your partner have practiced with the straps/fastening etc.
What to pack in your hospital bag- For Your Partner
Whilst it’s not essential that your partner bag their own bag, I would recommend them taking a few things with them including;
- Flip flops/shorts/T-shirt– This may sound very strange, but hospitals never turn their heating off! and the delivery room can often get very overheated for partners. We were advised the first time around by the midwives to bring in a shorts/t-shirt change of clothes (as it was December so Mike was obviously wearing more than this on our arrival!)
- Snacks for them– Although you in labour are unlikely to be hungry, your other half may have many hours in the delivery room without a meal, so packing some snacks is a good idea. We all know what men are like when they’re hungry!
- Reading material– This may not be needed or appropriate in all cases but no harm in packing them a book/or kindle too in case of any long waits.
So I think that’s pretty much everything I have packed, it can be difficult to get a balance between taking too much stuff or not enough, but essentially for me, I’d rather take too much rather than not enough, and Mike can always go and dump some stuff in the car if there is too much.
Hope this list is helpful to you.
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