I’ve had my hospital bags packed for a couple of weeks now (mostly because people freaked me out about early labour so I made sure they were packed and ready when we headed off on our babymoon a couple of weeks ago) and I spent a bit of time reading up about what to take so I could be prepared.
I thought I would share with you what I’ve decided to take with me in my hospital bag, to help out any mums-to-be and to get some advice from the mums that have been there on what to take that I might have missed!
I’m a chronic overpacker so I’ve probably taken a lot more than some people would, and a fair bit of what I’m taking it determined by my hospital (for instance, a lot of packing lists don’t include nappies but our hospital asks that you bring them) so this is what I’m taking based on what I think I will need for my labour and hospital stay. I should probably also add that my hospital recommend staying between 3 and 5 days after the birth (basically until breastfeeding is established and you feel comfortable to leave), whereas I know a lot of people leave within 1 or 2 days which will impact on how much you take with you.
I’ve got two bags I’m taking: a small suitcase with wheels (which I normally use as carryon luggage when travelling) and my nappy bag. I’ll also have my handbag with me and some extra things in the car.
So, what’s in my bags?
- Dressing gown – I’m planning on wearing either this or a hospital gown during labour (or wearing nothing, depending on how it goes!). I just picked up a cheap but comfortable dressing gown from Target so I won’t be upset if I end up getting it dirty.
- Slippers – for wearing during labour if I want to walk around and for during my hospital stay.
- Bed socks – my circulation is terrible so my feet are almost always cold. These are mostly for the couple of days post-birth.
- Pyjamas – again I picked up some cheap but comfy (and dark coloured) pjs from Target that I won’t be precious about. These are actually maternity pjs so will allow for the extra tummy I’ll still have post-birth and the top has a wrap front top for easy feeding.
- Black yoga pants (specifically these ones) – because I’ll be in hospital for a few days we’re expecting that family will want to come see the baby while I’m still there. Depending on how I’m going I might want to be dressed in more than pjs so these are a good option because they are stretchy, comfortable and are maternity pants so will definitely fit post-birth.
- Blanqi leggings – as an alternative to my yoga pants and the support panel of the leggings will most likely be very welcome after birth! I’ve lived in these during my pregnancy and I think it will be the same post-birth.
- Nursing singlets – I picked up a couple of these Hot Milk nursing tanks as they are comfortable, provide easy feeding access and eliminate the need to wear a bra. I’ll wear these with the yoga pants if I want to be ‘dressed’ for visitors.
- Zip up hoodie – for warmth in the hospital over my nursing singlet and to give me an option to cover up a bit more for visitors.
- Nursing dress – another ‘dressed’ option with easy nursing access. I feel like this dress will also feature heavily in my early weeks at home when visitors pop around. It’s actually a nightie, but the fabric is really lovely and substantial enough to wear it as a dress on its own. I may end up wearing this home from the hospital with my leggings.
- Belly Bandit – I’ve been told that wrapping/compressing your tummy post-birth can be really helpful with helping your stomach muscles to move back together and reduce any gap as well as providing some much needed support so I’ve packed my Belly Bandit in case I manage to fit into it while I’m still in hospital.
- Underwear – on the advice of the internets, I have purchased some large, black undies from Target to wear for the first week postpartum. I don’t care if I have to throw these out due to postpartum bleeding and they are big enough to fit my maternity pads. (Also on advice I have packed a couple of pairs of ‘Depends’ disposable underwear, just in case the bleeding is particularly bad).
- Sleep bras (including this one) and a nursing bra (this one) – I don’t think this one needs explaining!
- Maternity pads – based on the advice of several people, I’ve opted for the TOMs brand of maternity pads. I’ve packed two packs because I’m not really sure how many I will need.
- Nursing pads – I’ve seen lots of lists that say not to bother packing these because you leave hospital before your milk comes in but because my hospital prefers you to stay until breastfeeding is established I will no doubt be needing these! I’ve packed some disposables, but I have some washable nursing pads I plan on using at home.
- Lanolin cream – Lansinoh is a highly recommended staple of almost every hospital bag list I’ve seen, and it definitely is coming with me!
- Hydrogel breast discs – I’ve heard these are a lifesaver for those early breastfeeding days so I’ve packed a few in case I need them. These, my nursing pads and my lanolin cream are all in a ziplock bag labelled ‘nursing’ for ease of reference for my husband (who will no doubt be the one rifling through the bag to find what I need).
- Other ‘medical’ supplies – I’ve picked up some Ural (on the advice of friends) which apparently takes some of the sting out when you’re going to the bathroom post-birth. I’ve also got some Hydrolyte which has been my go-to for rehydrating for a long time and I hear that labour is exhausting work!
- Toiletry bag – my ready to go travel toiletry bag (that I wrote about in this post) is filled with all the toiletries (and makeup if I can be bothered) I’ll need and is able to just sit in my bag without having to worry about packing anything last minute.
- Snacks – I’ve packed some snacks for both Stu and me as I’m not sure how long the labour will be and Stu might get peckish. I also have heard that post-birth hunger is something you don’t want to mess with and I want to make sure I have easy access to food if I want it. I’ve got some chips and pretzels, some muesli bars and some dried fruit. I’ve also got some mints in here.
All the baby’s things are in the nappy bag to keep it all separate and easy to access (except for all the nappies, as you can tell from the above pic. They take up a lot of room!). The nappy bag I bought is the Storksak Noa nappy bag in Navy which I love and bought for a couple of reasons, but I’ll save the details of the nappy bag for another post. In the nappy bag I’ve got:
- Nappies – I’ve been told to bring some nappies for bubba along with me to the hospital so I’ve got a stash of Huggies newborn size nappies in my bag, and I’ll have some extras in the car just in case.
- Clothes for baby – not knowing what size baby will be when she’s born, I’ve packed a variety of sizes! I’ve got 2 singlet onesies and 2 full length onesies each in 00000, 0000 and 000 sizes. I’ve put the same sized clothes in a ziplock bag and labelled with the size on the front to keep things organised. The hospital provide gowns for baby while she is there so these outfits will be for any photos I want in her own clothes and the trip home with a backup in case of any accidents. (I don’t have any special ‘going home’ outfit).
- Cardigan – it’ll still be quite cold when baby arrives so I have a cardigan just in case. It’s actually a cardigan my aunty made for my baby, and it’s the same pattern as one she made for me when I was born so it’s a bit special!
- Beanies, socks/booties and mittens – I’ve got a little ziplock bag with some beanies, socks/booties and mittens in case I choose to use them while we’re there and definitely for the trip home. A couple of these were knitted by my aunty as well so are extra special.
- Muslin blanket – I’ve bought some Aden and Anais muslin swaddles (on recommendation of everyone it seems!) so I’ve packed one. The hospital provides blankets for baby but I thought it would be nice to have a pretty background for some photos and to learn how to actually swaddle!
- Velcro swaddle – in case I suck at swaddling using a blanket to start with, I’ve packed one of the velcro swaddles we have so I can make sure I get some practice using it with some professional supervision.
- General nappy bag supplies – I’ve packed most of my nappy bag as I would for everyday use (and especially because you never know what might happen in the 20 minutes between leaving the hospital and getting home!) so I’ve got nappies, wipes, changing mat, nappy disposal bags, hand sanitiser, burp cloth etc.
- Hand and footprint kit – I bought a little hand and footprint kit that has special wipes and paper so it is ink-free and hopefully easy to wrangle bubba’s hands and feet to get some sweet little prints.
In my handbag
- Wallet with my health insurance details – we’re going through a public hospital as private patients so I’ll need our health insurance details with us.
- iPhone and charger
- DSLR camera – for capturing those early days
- My ante-natal health card – can’t forget this!! It’s been living in my handbag since my first appointment so I wouldn’t forget it for any of my appointments.
In the car
- Car seat – you can’t leave hospital without one! I had this installed in the car when I was 37 weeks so it’s all ready to go, we ended up hiring a capsule to use for the first 6 months (a MaxiCosi Mico AP if anyone is curious) as it ended up being much cheaper, and then we can buy a carseat at 6 months that will be usable until bubba doesn’t need a carseat anymore.
- A jacket for baby – just in case it is a particularly cold day when we take her home
- Blanket for baby – a nice fluffy warm blanket to keep baby warm in the capsule on the drive home
- Extra supplies – extra nappies and maternity pads, just in case.
It might seem like a lot of stuff but I’m surprised at how little space it actually takes up. The bags are currently sitting in our study waiting to be put in the car when we head to the hospital.
I’ll do an update post after the birth to see what I used, what I didn’t and what I wish I had while I was there. (Update: you can check out that post here! I’ve got all the details of what I used, didn’t really need and what I really wish I had taken with me!)
What were your hospital bag essentials? Have I missed anything?
Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT (I blog on Tuesdays)
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