So you know that you need to pack your hospital bag, but what will you actually need? Well, actually quite a lot! We’ve put together a list of things you should pack in your bag for both your labour, your time in hospital and your baby.
It's an extensive list and I have put it together based on my own personal experience with labour and time in hospital. From a mother, with love!
- Hairbands. Hands up if you hate having your hair in your face when you exercise (woman with hand up emoji*). If your hand is in the air then you will hate having your hair in your face while you are in labour. Pack a whole packet of hairbands so that if you lose one or it breaks, you have plenty more to fall back on.
- Water Bottle. You’ll be drinking lots of water during labour, so make sure you have a large water bottle packed in your bag so that you don’t have the keep refiling it. The little cups you get in hospitals are usually one mouthful so a large water bottle means your birth partner can assist you during labour, rather than just be your water boy.
- Lip balm. Not to be confused with lipstick (Unless a bold red lip during labour is your bag!). It’s just nice to have something to sooth the lips. They can get chapped or uncomfortable and licking is only going to make it worse.
- A washer/ hand towel. You get REAL hot when pushing, and so a cold washer on the back of the neck between pushes was an absolute must have for me during labour. Pack one from home so you don’t have to use the paper hand towel in the bathrooms.
- Music. Be sure to find out what music system is in the labour wards (iPhone docs, CD player etc) and take some of your favourite tunes. You never know if you will want to listen to them or not (I was not in the mood for music!) but it’s always nice to have the option, right?
- A spare outfit to labour in. All sorts of bodily fluids come out at different periods of labour, so make sure you have something else to throw on that is super comfortable. An old nighty or a large t-shirt is perfect (I used my husbands tshirt so I didn't ruin mine).
- Entertainment. If you plan to have an epidural, pack something to entertain you. I had an epidural when I birthed the twins, and while I was waiting to be fully dilated my husband and I watched episodes of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ on his phone. We waited 5 hours from epidural to pushing… You need something to pass the time because staring at the stark white walls of the delivery room isn’t exactly fun. River, on the other hand, was completely drug free so by the time I was in the hospital there were nothing that could distract me from the contractions.
- Snacks. You might eat them. You might not. They are handy to have on hand though. It’s important to have some there for your birth partner as well because it’s such hard, exhausting work being a hand holder/ water fetcher/ verbal punching bag.
- Dressing gown/ comfy jacket/ cardigan knit. You might be pacing the corridors and it’s nice to cover up while doing so.
- Slip on shoes or slip on slippers. Again, for pacing the corridors. You really don’t want to have to fuss around with putting your shoes on. Even ballet flats would be totally frustrating. Trust me. I didn’t listen the first time. It was ANNOYING.
- Camera. Either your phone or a digital. I honestly wish that I had more photos of me during labour, pushing, and holding my babies when they were totally fresh. Unfortunately for me a multi birth and a single baby born unable to breath meant that I have very few photos as my husband was super busy (which is completely understandable given the circumstances) but the few photos that I do have I completely cherish. I would never, in a million years, have thought I would want those photos, so give future you the option to cherish or delete.
For your stay in hospital.
Breastfeeding friendly clothes. I’m not talking about having to go and buy clothing specifically designed for breastfeeding (although there are some lovely brands popping up these days. A few of my favourite are Bae the Label, Feedlife and Passengerwear). I just mean clothes that give you easy access to your boobs. Shirts were a staple for me, especially when I was learning to breastfeed. The buttons down the middle meant it was super easy to get the boobs out, but I was also able to remain a little covered for modesty sake. Jokes, all modesty was out the window, but they still worked well.
Pyjamas. Again, make these breastfeeding friendly, so button up shirts or nightie is the way to go! You may even find that you just stay in your Pyjamas your whole stay, so pack a couple of pairs (also sometimes you leak blood so it’s good to have spare pairs anyway).
Maternity pads. While we’re talking about blood… don’t scrimp on maternity pads. Buy the best ones you can possibly afford. From my experience, overnight pads are not sufficient for the first couple of days after birth. I recommend the maternity pads by New Beginnings. I used supermarket bought ones the first time and it was a disaster. DISASTER. Blood EVERYWHERE. ALL THE TIME.
- Disposable undies/panties. Even the very best maternity pads don’t hold all the blood so these mesh disposable undies from New Beginnings were the best. They were super stretchy so very comfortable. They kept the maternity pad in place so there was less leakage. They were awesome. If I did leak, I took them off and chucked them out. Amazing. Writing this I feel a little bad about the environmental waste but I feel like if you can justify it at any point in your life, it's when you have just pushed a watermelon our of your vajayjay.
- Breastfeeding Bras. You know, the ones with the clips up the top so you can expose your breast. Just get cheap ones for your hospital stay because you will have no idea what size boobs you will have once your milk settles. Save the sexy maternity bras (I love the Silent Arrow Warrior Mama Bra) for later! Also, pack a few bras. You leak breastmilk all the time, and a fresh bra makes you feel more human, less diary cow.
- Breasfeeding Pads. You stick these in your bra to catch as much of the leaking milk as you can. It’s worth getting a few different brands to find the one you feel is most comfortable. I finally settled on the ones by Pigeon, but everyone is different.
Toiletries. Shampoo and conditioner. I couldn’t wait to wash my hair after labour- so weird, right? Tooth brush and tooth paste. Your own body wash as the hospital ones aren’t very good. I took my whole skincare routine with me because all the hormones sent my skin crazy. It felt good to wash my face and moisturise while my husband watched the baby. I took mascara and BB cream but not once did I use them. Probably should have looking back at photos. haha! Hair brush, moisturiser etc etc.
- Nipple cream. Those poor little nipples will be in a world of pain if you choose to breastfeed. Some people will tell you that if you have good technique when breastfeeding your nipples won’t hurt. I call bullshit. My technique was fine and my nipples still cracked and bled. Get yourself some nipple cream or even pawpaw cream and apply to your nipples after each feed. It helps. A little.
Snacks. snacks, snacks. Breastfeeding makes you hungry. Eat all the snacks.
A heat pack. If this is your second pregnancy, you’re probably going to experience some pretty horrible after pains. I found a heat pack to be extremely helpful to ease the pain while I cursed the universe for punishing me so much after I had just experienced the pain of childbirth. Does the burden of being a woman ever end? The answer to that is no, I pee'd myself at the gym yesterday.
Phone Charger. Obviously. Thought I better include it though.
- Fluffy Socks. Even in summer, fluffy socks feel so damn comforting.
For your baby.
Jumpsuits. Lots of them. Your new precious bundle of joy is going to vomit, poo, wee and dribble all over themselves so don’t bother with beautiful knits and fussy clothes. You want stretchy, easy to get on and off jumpsuits. Their little hands and feet get really cold when they are first born, so I do love the bonds ones because the feet and hands can be covered with them. Socks and mittens just fall off. Get an all in one and you’ll never look back. You’ll probably go through at least 3 a day for the first few weeks… maybe even more. So pack heaps for the hospital.
A blanket. You won’t need one in hospital (their blanket are the best blankets!) but you will need one for the car journey home. If it’s a hot day I can recommend these beautiful wraps by Mama Maya. They are gorgeous and they have the same charity partner as we do, Birthing Kit Foundation Australia.
A hat. You’ll want to keep their little noggins warm plus they look SUPER cute.
Nappies. Some hospitals provide them and some don’t, so just check with your midwife. If you do need to bring your own nappies you will need at least 12 a day. You may not use them all, but you definitely don’t want to be stuck with no nappies.
- Baby wipes. They’ll be a staple in your house forever more.
And this, my friends, is why you don’t leave it to pack your hospital bag until you go into labour. With a huge belly and no energy it will take you about a week to pack all of these things!
Ladies who have done this all before, have a left anything off? What are the other ‘must haves’ for your hospital bag?
Click here to check out our gorgeous range of nappy bags!
*Brooklyn 99 reference and not an editing oversight.