The best bit of advise I can give this week is to pack your hospital bag well in advance. Anywhere from 32 weeks onward is sound advice. With my daughter I hadn’t packed anything and my waters broke at 34 weeks – cue mindless panic in the middle of the night. The second time around with my son I cautiously packed my hospital bag at 30 weeks and thankfully we didn’t need it until I was 35 weeks.
But what items do you really need?
It’s so easy to overload with countless unnecessary items that you don’t actually need at all and bloody typical to forget the essential items you’ll be kicking yourself for not packing. Though who really knows the first time around what to expect and what you’ll need, other than maybe essential items for baby. So many of us ladies forget to pack for ourselves. Having a baby is bloody hard work and you’re going to at least want a few items to make your stay in hospital that little bit more comfortable and the last thing you need is to realise you’ve forgotten a crucial item.
So below is my Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for you, dad and baby.
- Maternity Notes and Birthing Plan if you have made one.
- Dressing Gown – a lightweight dark coloured dressing gown is going to be your best option. I spent five days in my PJ’s before I left the hospital so pack something comfortable and make it your new best friend.
- Slippers for all those walks to the tea room ( you’ll drink a lot of tea )
- Flip flops (trust me on this one; you’re going to want these when you shower unless you have the luxury of your own room. You are likely to be sharing with other women and things can get pretty messy after you’ve given birth.
- A nightdress or old t-shirt for when you’re in labour. Its going to get messy and you’ll never wear it again so grab the cheapest one you can find.
- Snacks, drinks (high energy drinks) plus water and magazines, a Tablet or a good book as there can be a lot of waiting around prior to giving birth. The same goes for your birthing partner.
- Socks – I never spent any time in labour as both were born by cesarean birth but I’ve been told by many ladies that your feet can get very cold during labour.
- Your own pillows – hospital pillows are not comfy and in my opinion they never have enough.
- Phone and phone charger.
- Maternity pads; although the hospital will provide you with these. You may want to take your own. The bigger the better.
- At least five pairs of maternity briefs or over-size cheap pants that you’ll never want to see or wear again (Think Bridget Jones / big granny pants; the ones that go right up past your belly button) this is an absolute essential if you’ have a cesarean birth)
- Lip balm.
- Water Spray (for your birthing partner to spritz you during labour, you may also want to take a handheld fan)
- Toiletries; dry shampoo, moisturiser, make up, hair brush, hair ties, deodorant, shower gel, toothpaste, toothbrush.
- Nursing Bras
- Breast Pads
- Spare Towel
- Going home outfit. Your tummy will take a few days to go down so you’ll probably need your maternity clothes. My feet doubled in size after my birth. I’m talking giant clown feet and the shoes I entered the hospital in didn’t actually fit me after I’d given birth so be aware of this.
- A lot of tissues -I sobbed my eyes out leaving the hospital and cried the whole way home making my husband stop every ten minutes to check our son was okay
For your birthing partner
- A change of clothes. Showers are only for the use of mums so it may be a while before they can get a chance to freshen up.
- Comfy shoes for all the pacing up and down the corridor they’ll be doing.
- Swimming trunks if they want to join you in the birthing pool. I’m pretty sure skinny dipping is frowned upon during labour.
- Mobile phone and charger.
- Snacks; because if your partner is anything like my husband; they need feeding regularly (a bit like a newborn baby )
- Digital camera
What should I pack for my baby?
- Two or three sleep suits and vests.
- A blanket for baby. Hospitals tend to supply blankets but you may need one for the trip home if it is cold when you leave.
- Newborn nappies. Your newborn will go through as many as ten a day, sometimes more.
- Three Muslin Squares for all the milk your baby will bring up, you’ll be surprised just how much a small baby can bring up.
- A pair of socks and/ or booties plus scratch mittens.
- A hat.
- An outfit for the drive home; the sleep-suits are the easiest.
- Baby car seat, some hospitals won’t let you leave by car without one
- Jacket or snowsuit for winter babies; although you’ll need to remove before putting your baby in the car.