When it comes to packing your hospital bag you may think you don’t need any tips, it seems so obvious, doesn’t it? You just need some ugly underwear, PJ and maternity pads for yourself all the baby staff for your newborn. But you would be surprised how long that list will get once you start writing it all down. In fact, you will probably decide you need 2 separate bags.
That’s why it’s handy to have a checklist before you pack all the essentials since pregnancy can make you so absent- minded and forgetful (I actually almost forgot to pack pampers).
To make it easy for you I prepared a list of things you should put in your hospital bag for labour.
When shall I start packing?
It’s always good to be prepared just in case your baby decides to arrive earlier. Once you reach 36 weeks of your pregnancy, that’s when you should have your bag ready. (However if it’s your first pregnancy and you didn’t have any complications it’s most likely you won’t need it for at least next couple of weeks).
Your ‘labour’ bag
THINGS you will need before the delivery include:
1) Your maternity notes including your birth plan. It should be like the Holy Bible for you.
2) A nightdress or a longer T-shirt for labour. Don’t bring anything new or expensive as it will get dirty and you’ll most likely want to throw it away afterwards.
3) Dressing gown and slippers. These will be great if you have to walk around the hospital in early labor. It won’t be much of a catwalk out there as you probably expect… I mean how can you look fabulous and graceful with a massive watermelon ready to pop out any time?! That’s why it’s best to take a lightweight, darker dressing gown as the hospitals can be warm and the dark colour will cover any stains (plus black makes you look slimmer! just kidding). Slippers should be easy to slip on and off, also flip-flops will do (you don’t want to be bending right after delivery).
4) Socks. Fun fact: your feet might actually get cold during labour! Although I had a friend who got pedicure right before her due date just to look at them during the pushing stage, swearing it made her feel a bit more confident (isn’t that crazy?).
5) Hair bands. You will sweat during delivery a LOT and the last thing you need is your wet hair on your wet face blurring your vision.
6) Lip balm. Very useful little thing- your lips will get very dry, especially if you decide to use gas &air.
7) Pillow. Don’t count on the hospital pillows, they’re quite frankly rubbish. If you want to feel a bit more comfortable, bring your own favourite pillow. Also, it’s a really good idea to take some nice essential oil, such as lavender oil- and put few drops on your pillow; it gives you that calming effect you are yearning for.
8) Massage oil/ lotion. That’s a must-have I’m telling you! I can’t thank my partner enough for massaging my back during these worse contractions, it really helped me to reduce the pain. Again, if you have an essential oil, such as almond or coconut oil, it will only improve the whole process.
9) Snacks and drinks. I guess there’s no need to comment on the fact how horrible the hospital food is.
10) Book, magazine/ tablet, music device. Bring anything that will distract you from hours of waiting… And don’t forget the charger to any electronic device.
12) Birthing ball. Only necessary if your hospital doesn’t provide one so make sure you ask first. If they don’t have a birthing ball it’s worth to buy one for yourself as it can speed up the arrival of your baby. Don’t forget to bring a pump.
What will I need after the birth?
- Maternity pads. Bring at least two packs-even though at the hospital they should give you a couple of them right after the delivery, the nurses will be reluctant to give you extra ones on the postnatal ward (I ran out of my maternity pads and had to literally steal few more from the hall when nobody was looking!).
- Maternity bra & nursing pads– you’ll need them even if you won’t be breastfeeding as your breasts will still naturally produce milk after you give birth
- Pyjamas/nightdress-make sure it has a front-opening – it’s super handy for breastfeeding.
- Nipple cream. You may need it in those first days of breastfeeding (if you have to stay in the hospital for longer). It really does wonders.
- Cosmetics& toiletries. To save space take smaller bottles of unscented (or mildly scented) toiletries so your baby can get used to your natural smell such as shampoo, shower gel, moisturizer etc. The hospital should provide you with a towel but you might want to take your own with you, unless you’re already short on space. Don’t forget about a hairbrush and a foundation (trust me, you won’t look super fresh days after the delivery as you will be on your feet most of the time). These will make you feel better when taking those first pictures of you and your baby and when it’s time to leave the hospital and take your new family member home.
- Some plastic bags to put your dirty clothes in.
- Old pants or disposable pants. Bring a cheap pair of pants as they will get messy. If you are having a c-section it’s best to take big cotton (disposable) pants as they won’t affect your wound.
- Eye mask and earplugs (don’t worry, you’ll still manage to hear your crying newborn, I can guarantee you that!). They will help you to sleep especially when you want to rest during the day (and it will be bright and noisy on the ward).
- Clothes to change. When it’s time to go home you’ll want to have some comfy, loose clothes with you (it may take some time for your belly to down).
- A notebook & a pen. So you could write down any questions you may have and anything important your doctor and the midwives will tell you. It’s also useful to bring a bigger envelope or a folder for all the information and documents you will be given (about breastfeeding, postnatal recovery, your baby’s registration process etc).
Your baby’s bag
- Pampers. The most obvious item and yet you still have to get used to having them around on a daily basis(yes, I’m trying to make excuses for myself for almost forgetting to pack them!).
- Cotton wool. They are recommended with a warm water to clean your newborn’s sensitive skin over the wipes (at least for the first few weeks). But if you decide to use wipes make sure they’re alcohol and fragrance free. You may want to check out the water wipes. These are great- very gentle for your newborns’ skin (contain 99.9% water).
- Baby clothes for the hospital stay and ‘going home’ outfit. A couple of bodysuits will be the best, most comfortable choice for you and your baby. When leaving the hospital consider the weather conditions and dress accordingly; don’t forget a hat for your newborn, even when it’s warm outside.
- A blanket. Essential for the ride home and inside of the hospital for swaddling. You may want to bring a special swaddle wrap.
- Muslin squares. Must-have for winding and cleaning up your baby.
And there’s a third bag to pack for your partner…
But you know what? Let him worry about that, you have enough on your plate already!
Hope you don’t feel dizzy from all the things I listed above but remember, you have time to prepare yourself and pack so don’t stress out. Just don’t leave anything for the last minute and you can sleep safe and sound.
Do you want to double check if you have all the essentials ready at home for the arrival of your baby? Take a look at my post here.
Hold tight mamas!