At least once a week I am asked “what should I pack in my hospital bag?”. Rather than typing the same list over and over again I thought I would just write a quick blog post.
* This list is suitable if you are planning on staying in hospital for up to 48 hours, adjust quantities for longer stays.
Have these packed in a separate or easily identifiable part of the bag so that you aren’t pulling things out everywhere in the delivery room.
- Your prenatal records
- Two copies of your birth plan
- A pair of comfy socks
- A singlet that is easily removed in case you want to take it off quickly during labour
- A crop top. Some women find that they don’t feel comfortable being completely naked, especially if their breasts are tender and a crop top is usually light but also supportive enough.
- Massage oil if you are wanting your partner to provide hands on comfort measures
- Heat pack (check if your hospital has a microwave for heating it up)
- Ipod or other mp3 player and speakers/earphones. Have a few playlists of different types of music
- Hair bands
- Lip balm
- Any comfort measure items you are wanting to use such a massage tool, TENS machine, tennis balls for rolling your back
- Most delivery rooms have a birth ball you can use but its always wise to check ahead of time that they will definitely have one for you
- A dressing gown or shirt you can wear if you get cold
- Slippers or other comfortable footwear for walking around halls if needed
- Plastic bags for dirty or wet clothes
- A change of clothes for your partner. It is fairly common for partners clothes to get wet or messy and a change of clothes is very handy
- A camera with a spare battery. Make sure your memory card is cleared and the batteries are fully charged
- Cash for vending machines and parking. Most machines have credit card facilities these days but it’s a good idea to have $20 in cash just in case
- Plenty of snacks for both you and your partner for during labour. Also bring some chocolate or something sweet, you will deserve a treat after giving birth
- Drinks such as juice or sports drinks and a water bottle
For after your baby is born
- Daily toiletries such as toothbrush & toothpaste, soap, deodorant, make up, hair brush, moisturizer, shampoo and conditioner
- A roll of nice soft toilet paper. You want the most luxurious toilet paper for your nether regions after pushing a baby out. Some hospitals have decent toilet paper but others don't and its worth taking a roll of your own to gently care for any tender bits
- 1 large pack of maternity pads. You will need to change your pad approximately every two-four hours for the first day so you will go through a lot. If you are planning on staying longer than 48 hours bring two packets. The hospital will supply you with any should you run out but they aren’t always the type you would have chosen. Some women swear by using incontinence disposable underwear to use for the first couple of days
- 1 packet of breast pads
- 2 nursing bras or nursing singlets
- 2-3 pairs of dark coloured underwear for each day. It is not uncommon to leak and its better to have too many than not enough fresh pairs
- If you are planning a caesarean birth buy some black high waisted granny undies. Higher is better, trust me!
- 2 pairs of super comfy pants. Some women like yoga or tracksuit pants. Other prefer leggings. Just make sure they are soft and the waistband isn’t too restrictive
- 2 pairs of pyjamas
- 2 shirts that allow for easy breastfeeding or skin to skin. Low cut shirts or button up ones are great
- 1 jumper or cardigan, hospital air conditioning can be a bit cool for some people
- Phone charger (I didn’t bother specifying the phone because really, who goes anywhere without their phone anymore?)
- Your own pillow
- Ural. It will make your wee less stingy and stingy wee is the last thing you want post-birth
- A sauce squeeze bottle to fill with warm water and squirt on your perineum while weeing if you have any tears or stitches
- Arnica tablets. Arnica is a natural anti-inflammatory and promotes healing. You can pick it up health food stores or some chemists.
For your baby
- 3 onesies in either 00000 or 0000 sizes
- 3 singlets
- 1 pack of newborn nappies (some hospitals will provide nappies but check first and BYO if not sure)
- 1 pack of nappy wipes
- 1 outfit for going home
- 1 baby blanket
- 2 muslin wraps
- 1 hat
- Socks or booties
- 1 warm jumper if its winter so that when you leave you can keep your baby warm
- A stretchy wrap for baby wearing
- Make sure your car is fitted with an Australian Standard Approved baby seat by 36 weeks.
- Bottles and formula if you are planning on bottle feeding
- Baby nail scissors. Babies can be born with long scratchy fingernails and can scratch themselves or you
Things you wont need
- Books or magazines, you will not have time or energy for any reading in the early days. Books and magazines take up room, are heavy and wont be used. Most women find their phones are enough to keep them busy during down time
- Baby mittens. Babies need to have their fingers free to explore their new world. Touch is their primary sense at this age and it is important that they can touch your skin often. Unless you live in Antarctica they don’t need them
- Stopwatch for timing contractions. You can download an app for your phone for timing contractions now
- Breast pump. The hospital will have the highest grade pumps to use if needed
- Bottles or formula if you are going to be breastfeeding
- Lots of cash, jewelry or valuables. The risk of theft is low because maternity wards usually have restricted access in Australia but the risk of losing something is possible. Leave your valuables at home
- Any white clothes. Just don’t.