03 Jun What to pack in your Hospital Bag.
Packing your hospital bag is the most exciting yet overwhelming moment during your pregnancy. Your wondering whether you’ve got everything you need, whether you’ve under packed; you’ve left it too late, you’ve packed 7 months early or You’ve repacked 2,3 or 4 times already. In my scenario I fell into the category of packing 6 months before my due date as I was anxious and eager. I ended up repacking over 5 times to make sure I had everything! However, I am glad to say I packed everything I actually needed and used. For that reason I wish to share my hospital bag list with expectant mama’s and I hope you will find it useful.
I understand that everybody is different so it’s ok if you decide to tweak this list, there’s no right or wrong thing to pack as everybody has different needs, birthing plans or delivery methods which they will need to consider when packing.
1. Birthing Plan – this should be completed before your due date. Normally your midwife will discuss this with you. (Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog post on creating your Birth Plan).
2. Night wear – unfortunately no body knows when your little bundle of joy will come. It may be during the day or during the night. But packing comfy nightwear preferably a dress would be most useful as midwifes will be coming to examine you quite often. You could pair it up with a light robe for added comfort or warmth. You may want to pack 2 pairs if your staying more than one night.
3. Oversized old T-Shirt – you may want to use this when you give birth as it can get really messy.
4. Nursing Bras – very useful when it comes to breastfeeding, a pair should be enough.
5. Breast pads – As your breasts start to fill with milk it’s normal to experience leaks so you will most definitely need some pads to prevent soaked clothing.
6. Lanolin nipple cream – luckily for me I didn’t suffer with cracked sore nipples but it helped to stimulate a let down of colostrum (first milk).
7. Maternity sanitary pads – After birth you will experience bleeding which will last for some weeks so you will need to come with a few. If you know beforehand that you will be staying longer a pack of pads will suffice as it’s hard to predict how heavy your bleeding will be.
8. TENS Machine – this is optional, but it was one of my options for pain relief. Might I say this was very useful during the early and active stages of labour. The machine works by sending mild electrical impulses to the affected area of your body. I can translate the feeling to be a tingling sensation which helps to relax my muscles. I bought mine from Mothercare however you can hire one from Mothercare, Babycare Tens and a few other sites.
9. Going Home Clothes – you will need a new change of clothes when your are discharged from the hospital. Something comfy and breast feeding friendly so you can whip out those band boys when your lil one needs a feed. An ideal outfit would be a pair of leggings and a nursing/tank top or a dress. (Check our Maternity & Postpartum page for some great options).
10. Hair bands – you definitely want long hair out of the way as you may get really hot sweaty.
11. Portable fan / Energising face spray – These are great in helping you cool down, a wet flannel works perfectly well if you have neither. For sprays I recommend Body Shop Vitamin C Face Spritz or Avene Thermal Water Spray which provide a calming mist of coolness.
12. Lip Balm – wow your lips really do get dry! It was definitely one of my go to. My sister was always on cue to help me apply some. I used Palmers original which was really hydrating and kept my lips from drying out quickly.
13. Toiletries – this will vary from person to person, I didn’t pack much apart from face wipes, lipgloss, foundation, mascara and eyeliner. I wanted to leave the hospital feeling fresh faced and reasonably looking to the eye! I also packed a hair brush. Some ladies may wish to have a shower at the hospital which I didn’t intend on doing. I just thought hospital shower!? Ewww! It would unclean and unsightly. But looking back now I would recommend it, as it was not as bad as I imagined it to be.
Please permit my rawness – but you will be covered in blood and vernix so having a shower or a quick wipe down with soap would really help. So if you do decide to shower at the hospital make sure to pack travel sized shower gel, sponge and towel. Unlucky for me I had none of these at hand, I had given birth to my son early hours in the morning so no shops were open the hospital had ran out of these supplies. So let’s just say I had to make do with what I had. Where there is a will there is a way!
14. Flip Flops – this was great as I was walking around quite a bit and I appreciated how comfy it was. I just bought cheap ones from Primark which I later threw away. A tip is that you could use these in the shower if you hate the idea of being barefoot in a hospital shower.
15. Socks – it is normal to experience cold feet during labour so a pair of socks will come in handy.
16. Phone & Phone charger – you’ll want to call family after the arrival of your little one or to take photos. If you have one you could take your camera.
17. Snacks – I’m glad I packed these as I became overwhelmingly hungry and thirsty during labour and especially after birth. I had small bites of a Granola Bar (Nature Valley Peanut Butter & Chocolate bars) to keep my energy levels up. I had sips of Lucozade orange sports drink which were soooo helpful! After my son arrived I ate 3 more bars which I had brought with me! Don’t judge me!
18. Money (change) – if you are driving to the hospital you will need some coins for the meter this can be organised by your partner.
19. Music – I created a birthing play list prior which had calming, inspirational music which helped me channel positive energy and a conducive environment. This was played from my phone.
20. Nursing pillow – to use whilst breast feeding if this is not available you could just prop up some pillows.
I packed all these items in a small suitcase which was easy to move around. Inside my suitcase I had sub-divided my items into see through labeled wallets which made it easy for my husband or sister to get certain items I needed when I asked them.
Other items that I did not bring but may be great to have are magazines, books or movies that you can occupy or distract yourself with whilst waiting obviously not during labour! Massage oils which can be really calming or incense – not all hospitals allow this so you should ask whether this is permitted.
Hopefully this was a useful we would also love to hear your thoughts about the list and whether you would add anything else that I may have missed. Be sure to read our second blog ‘What to pack for your Newborn.’