Pregnancy is quite an adventure, isn’t it? You’re probably feeling a mix of excitement, anticipation, and let’s be honest, a healthy dose of exhaustion. It’s like getting ready for the most important journey of your life, and trust me, a well-packed hospital bag can be a game-changer.
So, picture this: you, on the brink of the most exciting moment of your life, reaching for your hospital bag like a seasoned explorer grabbing their trusty backpack before heading into the unknown.
Well, consider us your seasoned travel companions, because we are here to guide you through the art of packing the perfect hospital bag. We’ll help you navigate the uncharted territory of labour and delivery with confidence. From the must-haves to those little extras that can make a big difference (hello, mesh underwear!), we’ve got you covered. Our goal? To ensure both you and your baby have a comfy and stress-free experience during your hospital stay.
When to have your hospital bag packed
Packing your hospital bag is like preparing for a mini-vacation, but with a tiny passenger in tow. Knowing when to start packing is key, so let’s dive into that first.
Most experts recommend having your hospital bag ready by the 36th week of pregnancy. This gives you enough time to gather everything you need without feeling rushed. It’s also a smart move because, well, babies have their own schedules, and they don’t always stick to their due date!
Hospital bag essentials for mum
- Comfy Clothing: Think loose-fitting, breathable, and easy to put on. Trust me; you won’t want anything constricting during labour. You might also want to pack a going-home outfit for yourself – but again, we’d recommend something pretty comfy to wear home from the hospital.
- A gown and slippers/socks: You may want to be walking the halls of the hospital between contractions or getting your body up after your c-section. Having a comfy gown (because let’s be real – a hospital gown is not where it’s at) and slip-on shoes or non-slip socks will make you feel less exposed.
- A Nursing Bra (or three!): If you plan to breastfeed, nursing bras are a game-changer. They provide comfort and easy access for feeding.
- Nursing Pads: This is also a game changer for breastfeeding mums who don’t want to leak onto their clothes! The ones that have an adhesive side help to keep them in place.
- Nipple Cream: If you are planning on breastfeeding, you will want to have some of this handy when you start out.
- Maternity Sanitary Pads: You’ll need these post-birth. They’re a bit bulkier than your usual pads, but they’re a lifesaver. Actually, the bulkier the better – trust us on this. You may also want to pack a couple of adult diapers…just in case!
- Nursing Pillow: This may save you from a sore neck and back while you are getting the breastfeeding thing down.
- Own Toiletries: Pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, shampoo (or dry shampoo!), conditioner, shower gel, face wash and any other personal care items you can’t do without.
- Hair Ties: Keep your hair out of your face during birthing and out of the baby’s face when you are feeding them after.
- Snacks: Labour can be long, and you’ll need energy. Pack some healthy snacks like nuts, granola bars, and dried fruit. After all, hospital food is not exactly known for its Michelin rating now, is it and you can’t guarantee the hospital vending machines will have a healthy variety.
- Water, water and more water: Between nerves and labour, dry lips and mouths can be a thing. A reusable water bottle will also be your best friend – along with the aforementioned lip balm.
- Phone Charger: You’ll want to capture those precious first moments after the baby arrives and be able to contact friends and family to share the good news. An adapter may also be needed!
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Nice-to-Have Items for Mum
- Music or Podcasts: Create a calming playlist or download some engaging podcasts to keep your mind occupied.
- Pillow: Hospital pillows aren’t always the comfiest. Bringing your own can make a big difference.
- Eye Mask and Earplugs: Hospitals can be noisy, so these can help you catch some much-needed rest.
- Magazines or Books: For those quiet moments between contractions, or when baby sleeps and you can’t.
Items for Partner or Support Person That Should be in Your Hospital Bag
- Change of Clothes: Labour can be messy. Your partner should pack a change of clothes, just in case. They may also be staying the night, so their own toiletries and a pillow would also be a must. If you are planning to have a water birth – and your hospital accommodates them – they could also bring a bathing suit. They can also bring something comfortable to wear home if they are planning (and able) to stay with you the whole time.
- Snacks and Drinks: Childbirth is hard work for both of you, so don’t forget to pack some refreshments.
- Entertainment: Urge your partner to bring something to the hospital to keep them occupied during the waiting game.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby
Now that Mum’s essentials are sorted, let’s focus on what your newborn will need for their grand entrance into the world. Here’s your hospital bag checklist for your new bundle of joy:
- Clothes: Pack baby gear such as a few onesies, sleepers, and tiny socks. Opt for soft, comfortable fabrics. Don’t forget a cute going-home outfit!
- Toiletries: Depending on what the hospital supplies, consider packing things like cotton buds, cotton balls, baby soap and cream.
- Swaddling Blankets: These cosy wraps help your baby feel secure and warm.
- Diapers and Wipes: Stock up on newborn-sized diapers and plenty of wipes. Most hospitals provide these, but it’s good to have some extras.
- Nappy Rash Cream: It is important to start using this from the start so that they don’t have to deal with any rashes.
- Hat and Mittens: Newborns can be a bit chilly, so a newborn hat and mittens are a must.
- Burp Cloth: Feeding can get a little messy, too – these are great to throw over your shoulder when burping baby or wiping up feed messes.
- Car Seat: A car seat is non-negotiable. You won’t be allowed to leave the hospital without a properly installed car seat so make sure you buy and install one well before your expected due date.
- Baby Blanket: A soft, cuddly blanket can make your baby feel at home. You might also want to pack a bath towel for them too.
Nice-to-Have Items for Baby
- Dummy: Some babies find comfort in a dummy/pacifier.
- Baby Book: Start recording those precious first moments early.
- Stuffed Animal: A cute, soft friend can be a source of comfort.
Covering C-Sections and Natural Birth
Whether you’re planning a vaginal birth or a C-section, your hospital bag needs to be prepared for both scenarios. For mums having a C-section, consider packing comfortable high-waisted underwear that won’t irritate the incision area. Additionally, loose-fitting clothing is essential, as well as abdominal support bands if recommended by your healthcare provider.
While admin may be the last thing on your mind – there are a few admin items you should keep in your hospital bag:
- Hospital Forms: Ensure you have your pre-registration forms and picture ID readily accessible. Try to fill out any necessary paperwork ahead of time so you don’t need to be worried about it once you’re admitted.
- Contact List: Have a list of phone numbers for friends and family you’d like to notify after the birth.
- Insurance Information: Keep a copy of your insurance card handy.
- Birth Plan: If you have a birth plan, ensure it’s packed and ready to be discussed with your healthcare team.
Hospital Bag Packing for Multiples
Expectant parents who are preparing for twins or more have unique needs when it comes to their hospital bag. They should consider doubling up on essentials like baby clothes, nappies, and blankets. Organisation is key, so packing each baby’s items in separate, labelled bags can simplify things during a hectic hospital stay. Don’t forget to include extra feeding supplies if you plan to breastfeed, such as a breast pump and storage containers. Additionally, having a support system in place for after delivery, such as family or friends to assist with childcare, can be invaluable when there are multiple newborns to care for.
Comfort Measures During Labour
Labour can be an intense experience, and having comfort measures at hand can make a world of difference. Consider packing massage tools like a handheld massager or massage oil to ease tension during contractions. Essential oils with soothing scents like lavender or peppermint can help create a calming atmosphere in the delivery room. Your favourite pillow or cushion can provide much-needed comfort in hospital, especially during prolonged labour. Additionally, practising relaxation techniques like deep breathing and visualisation can be immensely helpful for managing pain and anxiety during labour.
Hospital Bag Packing for High-Risk Pregnancies
High-risk pregnancies require extra preparation in case of unexpected complications. In addition to the standard items, it’s advisable to include any medical records, test results, or documentation related to the high-risk condition. Make sure you have a list of emergency contacts and healthcare providers, as communication is crucial. If bed rest is a possibility, consider packing items to make your hospital room feel more like home, such as photos, books, or a tablet for entertainment. Be prepared to discuss your plan and any specific concerns with the hospital staff, and have a clear understanding of the hospital’s facilities and capabilities for high-risk pregnancies.
So, there you have it, the ultimate hospital bag checklist to make your delivery day and stay smoother. With all the essentials and a few creature comforts, you’ll be well-prepared to welcome your little one into the world.
So, now you’ve got your hospital bag packed, there’s just one thing left to do…let’s go have a baby!