What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
So, are your bags packed?
Forget what your due date is, a baby is considered full term at 37 weeks and so midwives recommend you have your hospital bag packed and ready from 36 weeks, so you are prepared for any early arrivals. Even if you are planning on having a home birth you should have a bag packed, just in case anything changes on the day. Keep it somewhere where it is easy to grab when needed- and ensure your birth partner knows where it is too. And remember if you are travelling anywhere too far from home at any time after 36 weeks always take your bag with you, just in case.
Here are some suggestions on what you may like to pack for you and for your baby, to make sure you have everything you need. To make it easier to find things you may want to pack one bag for you, one bag for your baby.
For the birth:
Your hospital notes
Your birth wish list. Print off a few copies, and ensure your birth partner is familiar with everything in it well in advance, in case there is anything you need to talk through
Old t-shirt or loose fitting top to wear during labour. Bear in mind it might get stained so nothing special, and that hospitals can be incredibly hot- so think breathable cotton to keep you cool and comfortable
Water bottle. Sports bottles are easy to drink from during labour, and bendy straws are also useful so someone can hold the bottle for you to sip hands free
Hair bands to keep you hair up and off your face. Wide head bands or head scarves are great if you have a heavy fringe or long hair
Snacks for you and your birth partner. Sandwiches, bananas, granola bars and dried fruit are often popular. Think high energy and easy to eat
Dressing gown or something similar to throw on if you end up pacing the corridors, or if you spend some time in hospital after the birth
Slippers or shoes which are comfortable and easy to take on and off
Facial spritzes are great for keeping cool and refreshed during labour
Book, magazine or tablet in case you need to pass the time and try and relax
Your own pillow. Hospital pillows can be a bit uncomfortable, or you may prefer to sleep with more than one. Use a coloured or patterned pillow case so you can distinguish it from the others when it’s time to pack up and go home
Music and headphones. Some people like to make a playlist to use during labour- either to calm or energise, or you can download some hypnobirthing tracks, birth affirmations or guided meditations
For after the birth:
Loose, soft button down nightdress for if you plan to try breastfeeding, and for skin to skin time
Several pairs of big, loose comfortable cotton pants. Size up (so that you can wear maternity pads, as well as feel comfortable), and don’t bring any that you don’t mind throwing away
Loose fitting clothes (nothing with a waist band which digs in), and trainers/flat shoes to wear home
Breast pads in case your milk comes in while you’re still in hospital
Eye mask and ear plugs- hospital wards can be busy, bright and noisy, day and night
Phone and charger- for all the precious photos and sharing the happy news!
Flips flops to wear in the shower
Spare clothes for you and your birth partner, in case you need to stay for a couple of days
For the baby:
Nappies (more than you think- newborns tend to poo after every feed)
Front fastening sleepsuits (with feet) and vests
Mittens (or buy sleepsuits that have them built in)
Blanket (choose a cellular one rather than one of made of fleece)
Cotton wool. It’s recommended to use cotton wool and water to clean newborns’s delicate skin for the first few weeks, although you can buy water-based baby wipes
Muslins (you’ll never leave home without one once your baby’s here!)
Jacket or snowsuit for winter babies when you leave the hospital
Pack your bag, and then unpack it and repack it with your birth partner. Because when it’s all happening and you’re busy birthing a baby or resting with your newborn it will be them that will need to know what, and where everything is. It will save you trying to *CALMLY* explain which pocket of your bag your hair band/ favourite lip balm/ packet of jelly babies is mid way through contractions!