You’re almost at the finish line! You’re in your third trimester and the reality of giving birth and at last meeting your precious baby for the first time is quickly approaching. Now that you’ve probably done most of your essential baby wardrobe shopping and are likely putting together the finishing touches on your baby’s nursery (if they have their own room), it’s a good idea to think about your hospital bag.
Kiindred Mothercraft Expert, Chris Minogue, suggests having your hospital bag packed by the 36-week mark, in case of an early arrival (don’t worry, if you’re past 36 weeks, you still have time!). This is also a great way to start mentally preparing for bringing a precious newborn home – and, if you are already in the final days of your pregnancy, hospital bag packing will probably provide a welcome distraction!
While everyone will have personal needs when it comes to the nitty-gritty, there are definitely some must-have items we recommend you include in your hospital bag. In partnership with H&M, we’re sharing 15 essential things to pack in your hospital bag.
1. Birth Plan (if you have one)
We’ve heard of parents leaving their birth plan at home or in the glove box in the car that’s parked several floors and buildings away at the hospital. To avoid any additional panic when you first arrive at the hospital, make sure you pack your birth plan in your hospital bag in advance.
Birthing Tip: If things appear to be veering from your birth plan, due to the sheer unpredictability of childbirth, remember that your birth plan is just that: a plan. And sometimes plans change! But also don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself – or prepare your partner or birth companion to do so for you.
2. A few changes of clothing
You will need to pack comfortable and moveable birthing clothing. Also consider appropriate birthing footwear, such as thongs, slides or flip flops for a (potentially) wet floor. Pack several pairs of maternity underwear, anticipating leakage (you can expect to bleed for several days to weeks after birth) and nursing bras or crop tops.
A few pairs of roomy and comfortable pyjamas along with soft, moveable and cozy cotton clothing for your postpartum time in the hospital are essential. Socks and slippers or slides for this post-birth hospital time would be a good idea too. Be mindful that if you agree to have visitors on the days you’re in hospital, post-birth, you might want to look semi-presentable!
3. Baby clothes
After your baby is born, a time will come in the hospital to dress them in clothes. It’s likely they will have a belly button clamp attached to their umbilical cord stump which will naturally fall off sometime during their first week earth-side. So, we recommend that you pack a few 2-piece organic cotton sets for your baby’s comfort. That way your newborn’s belly button clamp won’t get irritated by being repeatedly rubbed or caught in a button or zip.
It’s also a good idea to pack a couple of newborn onesies, a newborn singlet and a set of clothes to bring baby home in.
4. Newborn nappies & wipes
Some hospitals provide you with these, but just in case, we recommend you pack a handful of newborn nappies and a packet of baby wipes.
5. Lip balm
Childbirth and being stuck in a hospital postpartum is the LAST time/place you want to be without lip balm. And not to mention that hospital air-con can dry you out… priorities, ladies!
6. Phone and phone charger
After you’ve given birth and have had your first sacred moments with bub in your arms (hopefully skin-to-skin), you will undoubtedly be moved to take bucket-loads of pics of your beautiful newborn. And you’ll probably want to message some of them to your nearest and dearest. So, don’t forget to pack your phone and charger!
7. Antenatal card + Medicare card
Although your partner or birth companion will probably take the lead on the hospital check-in logistics on the day (or night!), it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got all your admin ducks in a row prior to the event.
Labour can be a long process. Hospital food is pretty grim. So, pack snacks and drinks for labour and post labour. Sugar lollies, jelly beans and nut and protein bars are all snacks to consider including. You never know when you might get a craving!
9. Playlist (and speakers)
This may be a virtual item to tick off the list as it probably lives in your phone. You’ve likely given thought to the kind of relaxing (and motivating) music you would like to labour to; relaxation and meditation tracks can also be useful guidance during labour, and, if you’re a calm birth and/or hypnobirthing mum, you’ll probably have your favourites. Make sure to get this playlist organised before your big day.
For some people, labour can stretch out over days, and childbirth is… um… messy. Regardless of the length of your labour, you’ll most certainly want your toiletry basics on-call post-childbirth. So, remember to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, tooth floss, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, facial cleanser, moisturiser and eye cream (if you have one). Thank us later.
11. Hairdryer and hairbrush
It’s all about the hair, baby! And your hair will probably feel fried after childbirth. After a shower and a hair wash, a hairbrush and hairdryer will feel like the cherry on top ☺
12. Nursing pads
Expect leakage in the early days of breastfeeding – especially when your milk is coming in. Disposable nursing pads are great for your time in hospital, and you can transition reusable alternatives once you’re settled at home.
13. Nipple cream
Breastfeeding can be really uncomfortable in the beginning when your baby is learning to latch properly and your (delicate) nipples are toughening up to their new utilitarian purpose.
14. Baby wrap/swaddle
Many hospitals provide a swaddle/wrap for your baby, but just in case, we recommend you pack one.
15. Laundry bag/plastic bag
Although the most boring item on the list, both you and baby will likely go through some clothing changes in hospital, and with your leaking boobs and nether regions (!!) and baby’s potential accidents, it would be a good idea to pack a laundry bag (a placcy bag will do!)
While this list might feel extensive, if you use it as a checklist and plan well ahead of your big day, when the moment comes (waters break, contractions start or accelerate, scheduled induction, etc.), that bag will be your partner-in-crime.
This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x H&M