If you’re like me and like to be prepared in advance, you’ve probably had yours and baby’s hospital bags packed since 36 weeks…or maybe even earlier!
Chances are you won’t be running out the door in a panicked rush (hopefully!) and you’ll have time to pack a few extra bits…or maybe even start from scratch. But if only for the sake of your own peace of mind, it’s a great idea to have those bags ready to go.
When I was researching what I needed to pack, I found all the different lists very overwhelming, and to be honest, completely over the top.
At the start of my pregnancy I downloaded and printed the Baby Bunting Baby Checklist Booklet and used it as a guide. It’s a great starting point for what you need to buy for baby, but as my pregnancy progressed I was able to differentiate between what was actually necessary and what could be left on the “wait and see until after baby arrives” list.
The Hospital Checklist in the booklet is extremely extensive. For mum it includes things like books/magazines, a hairdryer (no, just no), massage oil etc., and for baby, basically every piece of baby clothing under the sun, all the toiletries and grosuits. To fit everything in you’d need a suitcase!
I also referred to What to Expect When You’re Expecting (pages 352-353) and my hospital pregnancy record (all expecting mums should have one of these), which included a basic list.
In the end, here’s what I ended up packing…and whether I actually needed it.
Baby’s bag – Use your nappy bag
- 6 bodysuits (full-length, with feet and hands – negates the need for socks and mittens).
- 6 singlets.
- A beanie/hat.
- Nappies and wet wipes – don’t expect your hospital to provide these.
- 3 muslin wraps – warm wraps may be provided by the hospital but if you would prefer your own, they are a nice to have.
- A blanket – not essential unless it’s cold or the air-con is on overdrive.
For a two-night stay at the hospital after birth, I only used three of the bodysuits/singlets and the hat stayed on for all of two minutes.
Don’t worry too much about toiletries for bub, including towels… the bathing areas should be fully equipped with these supplies.
- Labour clothing/underwear. Be sensible about this…depending on the situation they may need to cut your clothes and underwear off so be prepared to part with it. I ended up in a gown straight away so my “labour clothing” ended up being pointless.
- Toiletries – body wash/soap, shampoo/conditioner (even though the last thing you have energy to do is wash your hair), toothbrush and toothpaste, comb/brush, cleansing/face wipes, moisturiser and make-up (if you’re up to it!). If you pack your bag weeks in advance, make sure you place any liquid items in plastic zip lock bags, particularly in summer, to avoid any leakages throughout your entire bag – rookie mistake on my part!
- PJs and day clothes (not that it matters what you’re wearing around the maternity ward), including clothes to go home in – think comfort, not style.
- Dressing gown/robe – so you can wear your PJs all day!
- Thongs or slippers…for the many toilet trips, bath time, walks around the ward etc.
- Maternity bras and underwear.
- Maternity pads – an ABSOLUTE MUST if you had a vaginal birth.
- Breast pads – even though it takes a few days for your milk to come in it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Nipple cream – your breasts, particularly your nipples, are in for a shock so any help to soothe the pain is a bonus.
- Support pillow – if you plan on using a support pillow to breastfeed, like a Boppy pillow, make sure you bring it with you. When the midwives and/or lactation consultants are helping you learn how to breastfeed you’ll want them to show you how to best position your bub on it.
- A notepad and pen – the volume of information the hospital staff feed you can go in one ear and out the other, so jot it down as a back-up (an easy job for your partner).
Of course, every birth and hospital stay is different, but this list is what worked for me.
Feel free to comment any other suggestions you found essential 🙂
C Buzz x