What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
The last few weeks of pregnancy… what an incredible, exciting and… slightly terrifying time!
As you go through the last points on your “baby checklist”, giving the finishing touches to your little one’s nursery, getting your hospital bag ready might become one of your priorities.
And rightly so!
Whilst mums who have already gone through this experience might not feel like much “prep work” is needed, if this is your first baby you want to be ready and get your hospital bag ready approximately three weeks prior to your due date.
This will alleviate any added stress and allow you to relax, secure in the knowledge that you are prepared for any eventuality… including an early arrival.
When preparing your hospital bag, keep comfort and familiarity in mind, it will make all the difference when baby arrives.
To help you prepare, we have compiled a list of the top ten items that should be included in your hospital bag.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag: 1. Medical Records and Birth Plan
As a crucial yet uninteresting aspect of preparation, it is imperative that you remember to bring your medical records and birth plan, if applicable, to present to the midwife upon arrival at the hospital.
2. Mobile phone (and charger!)
I know what you are thinking…
Likely, your charger is an item you use daily and you don’t really want to pack it in your bag. But trust me, the last thing you want to do when your waters break is go around the house looking for your charger!
So my recommendation would be to purchase an additional one you can keep ready in your hospital bag for when the time comes.
Amazon.co.uk is the perfect place to find spare once at a reasonable price, and make sure the provided cable is long enough (at least 2 meters)
3. Personal Hygiene Supplies
To ensure that you are equipped with the essential items, it is advisable to pack a toiletry bag that contains your toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, face wipes, a flannel, and moisturizer. To save space and minimize the weight of your bag, opt for miniature versions of your preferred toiletries.
Additionally, it may be beneficial to include a moisturizing lip balm, as it is common for lips to become dry and chapped during labour, particularly when utilizing gas and air.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag: 4. Clothing For Yourself
During your hospital stay, you will likely spend most of your time in nightwear or pyjamas.
To facilitate breastfeeding, it is recommended to choose nightwear that opens at the front, such as a shirt, as it allows for skin-to-skin contact with your newborn. Additionally, it is suggested to pack a pair of slip-on footwear, such as flip-flops or slippers, for ease of mobility while navigating the hospital and using the restroom.
Moreover, as it is common for women to experience cold feet during labour, it may be beneficial to pack warm socks to ensure your feet remain comfortable throughout your stay. Furthermore, remember to pack a comfortable and loose-fitting outfit for your return home.
5. Baby Clothing
To ensure your newborn is appropriately outfitted, pack clothing in newborn sizes, such as vests and sleepsuits. Additionally, I would highly recommend including a hat and extra blanket for protection and warmth when taking your baby home.
Essential items for your baby’s hygiene, such as nappies and water-based wipes, should also be packed.
To keep things organised, have a plastic bag handy to separate any soiled clothing in the event of a leaky nappy or other such occurrences.
6. Hair Accessories
The last thing you want is your hair getting in the way when you’re in the middle of labour and you’re trying to focus on your breathing. It can also get pretty hot and sweaty.
So, pack a few hair ties or headbands to keep your hair out of your face.
7. Postpartum Hygiene
In the event of vaginal birth, it is normal to experience heavy bleeding after delivery. Therefore, new mothers should pack a sufficient supply of maternity pads, which are more absorbent than traditional sanitary towels, and plan to change them every couple of hours.
As bleeding will start to decrease after a week or so, you may switch to normal pads. Additionally, you should also pack a few pairs of large, dark-coloured undergarments that you do not mind getting soiled.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag: 8. Nursing Apparel and Breast Care
If you intend to breastfeed, it is advisable to pack a few well-fitting nursing bras. On the other hand, if you do not plan to breastfeed, you can proceed with packing your most comfortable and supportive bras, as your breasts will likely be larger than usual.
Regardless of your breastfeeding plans, it is recommended to pack a supply of breast pads to manage any milk products that may occur post-birth.
9. Feeding Equipment and Formula
Despite your intentions to breastfeed, you must pack a sterilized feeding bottle and a bottle of ready-made formula as a precaution, as it is common to encounter difficulties with breastfeeding in the initial stages.
This will ensure that your newborn does not go hungry in case of any complications.
10. Leisure Items
There might be possibilities of you having prolonged labour, there may be periods of inactivity, thus it is advisable to pack a book or magazine, as well as headphones or earphones to listen to music on your phone to pass the time.
Hopefully this won’t be the case for you… but sometime the wait can be long and (as incredible as it sounds) not very eventful!
11. Food and Beverages
To maintain energy levels during labour and post-birth, go on with packing non-carbonated isotonic sports drinks to stay hydrated, and healthy snacks such as bananas and cereal bars to keep you nourished.
Additionally, getting some of your preferred treats such as chocolate and crisps as a reward for your efforts can also be helpful.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag: Ready?
Other than the above-mentioned considerations, remember that your birthing partner should also pack a hospital bag that may include:
- A change of clothing
- A travel pillow and blanket, if they plan to stay with you during the hospital stay
- Cash for parking and vending machine expenses
- A book or magazine for leisure
Finally, don’t forget to leave your packed hospital bag (or bags) by the front door for easy access in case of a sudden hospital visit… and to help your partner find it in the midst of what could be quite an exciting (and stressful) moment.
And for those who want to be truly prepared… ask your partner to ensure that your vehicle is equipped with a properly installed car seat for your newborn, and refuelled!
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