The time has come, your baby is nearly here and it’s time to pack your hospital bag, but what do you pack?
One thing you must not forget is your purple pregnancy booklet, this will have your birthing plan in and all the essential notes. That will then be handed in and you will be given a little red book once baby is born. Don’t get too stressed out about packing, start it off and gradually put things together in your bag. Try starting to pack your bag anytime from 30/32 weeks just so you know its defiantly going to be packed and ready.
Here are a few things I found useful to pack and some helpful tips which I hope could help out others.
- Pj’s & Slippers
Maybe go one or two sizes up from your usual size as the last thing you want is tight fitted clothing, nice flowing baggy pj’s I found were a lot more comfortable. Also a pair of slippers, I ended up leaving the hospital in sling back slippers with fur inside because my feet were that swollen with fluid but it felt like I was walking on clouds once leaving. I ended up just buying some cheap slippers and pj’s from Primark, they were extremely comfortable to walk round in and weren’t too restricting. A dressing gown is also good to pack if you need to go for a walk around when in labour or if you do stay in hospital.
- Spare Underwear & Clothes
You never know if you’re going to end up needing to stay in hospital so always take extra underwear, comfortable bras with no underwire and comfortable pants. Maybe get a pair one size too big to accommodate those lovely maternity pads once you’ve given birth. Take a few spare sets of clothing just in case you do need to stay in hospital, always better to make sure you have enough. Again I’d suggest baggy, loose type clothing. If you plan on breastfeeding make sure to take your nursing bras, I didn’t breastfeed but I still had soft nursing bras that I could unclip when my boobs started to swell and become extremely uncomfortable, it was just nice every now and then to just unclip and let them be free for a while. I also planned on giving birth in the birthing pool, I didn’t end up giving birth in there due to certain things happening during labour but the times I did get in I just wore my nursing bra. If you do plan on going in the birthing pool take a bikini top with you if you feel more comfortable.
Nope, this isn’t to wash your face with but to cool you down during labour. You’re going to be hot and sweaty during labour so a nice wet, cold flannel on your forehead to cool you down really does help. You could also pack a water bottle spray with a mist sprayer to keep nice and cool too. A massage is also extremely welcomed when in labour, why not take massage oil to have a massage from your partner when feeling a bit tense and stressed.
Even if you don’t stay overnight the midwives usually like you to have a shower after giving birth if you can and this shower feels like the best shower of your life! I showered shortly after having Oscar with the help of my mum, I took the small travel shower gel, shampoo and conditioner with me. I used Sanex Shower Gel which contains no perfume, parabens or colourings. It’s quite a scary experience once you’ve given birth, and have a shower and realise you’ve bought products that could potentially make your V area a little more sensitive and burny so be sure to buy sensitive products. Pack a moisturising lip balm with you as your lips tend to dry out and especially if you’re using gas and air, this can really make your lips sore. A hairbrush and bobbles are also useful, once you’ve had a shower and brushed your hair you literally feel like a new woman. Nipple cream is always a good shout to if you end up with sore or cracked nipples. A good face moisturiser can be good too as the air in the room I found dried my skin out on my face and I applied this after having a shower. Pack a toothbrush, toothpaste and face wash for if you do end up staying in.
- Food & Drinks
Take food for yourself and your birthing partners, granted when you are in active labour or when you’re in a lot of pain the last thing you want is food but the moment you give birth it’s as if all the sugar has left your body and you all of a sudden become like some kind of food deprived animal. Be sure to take sugary drinks with you too, try Lucozade. I found this to be the best as its full of electrolytes to replenish you if you become dehydrated. Be sure to take enough for yourself and your birthing partners, they could pop out to the shop in the hospital but I’m sure they don’t want to miss anything.
- Maternity Pads & Breast Pads
If you plan on breast feeding be sure to take breast pads, if you don’t plan on breast feeding you should be ok, I found I didn’t need them until a few days after because I bottle feed my son and dint express. Maternity Pads are a must, granted it feels like a loaf of bread between your legs but they are a godsend, you can usually pick them up from a baby store or a supermarket.
- Occupied Mind
Why not take a book or some earphones with you just in case you find yourself being bored with the wait, at least if by keeping your mind occupied you may find time goes quicker. Take your phone charger so you can listen to music on your phone or take lots and lots of photos of baby when they arrive.
Always take different sizes as you can never be sure how big or small your baby is going to be, Oscar was 8lb 3oz and struggled to fit in newborn as most of the clothing only went up to 7 and a half lbs. There were a few newborn clothes he managed to squeeze into. We made sure to pack small baby, newborn and 0-3 just in case. Again, be sure to pack enough just in case you do end up staying in hospital, vests, babygrows, mits, socks, hats, bibs, muslins and a coat or cardigan. Pack a blanket or two for once you’re ready to go home to keep baby nice and toasty when on the journey home.
Nappies, baby hairbrush and wipes. I used Water Wipes when Oscar was newborn as they were completely natural and purely just water, no added extra chemicals. I didn’t take any baby toiletries as the midwives usually say not to bath your baby for a few days but I think it’s parents preference. When packing nappies pack about 20-30 nappies as some newborn babies can go through 10-15 nappies a day.
- Baby Milk
If you plan on breast feeding you don’t need to worry too much about taking formula into the hospital. If you do plan on bottle feeding your baby we found Aptamil First Infant Milk was fantastic, luckily for us Oscar took straight to the teat and ended up drinking a full 2oz on his first feed. They come as a pack of six with already sterile teats and you just open and pop them straight onto the bottle, you can either give them your baby room temp or warmed up. The bottles work out to around 2.5oz per bottle (70mls). We used these and stocked up on a few boxes to last us for a few days before transitioning onto the Tommee Tippee range of bottles.
- Car seat
In my opinion if you buy a baby car seat you’re always best to buy one brand new as second hand you can never be too sure if it is 100% in working order and the last thing you want is to put your newborn baby into something that’s not or potentially couldn’t fully safe. At least with a brand new one you know that nobody else has used it and it’s been tested and passed it’s manufacturing tests before being sold, but that’s just my opinion. We found that the car seat we had was isofix which was a lot more secure and safe in the car as it is fixed to a secure base in the seat, it’s so much easier to just click in and out of the car too without the hassle of doing up and undoing the seat belt. The car seat we used was Maxi Cosi CabrioFix, it came with a newborn insert which also helped to make the car seat a little more comfortable and secure. Be sure if you use isofix to read the manual and secure the base into your car properly, check your car is isofix compatible. If you do choose an isofix carseat get in installed before you go to hospital, this makes it a lot easier when leaving, you can just clip in, wait for the catch to go green to say its in safely then you can begin your new journey with your little human or humans.
We didn’t give a dummy to Oscar until he was about a week old. He managed without one, but if you do decide to give your baby a dummy whilst in hospital, pack a dummy that has been sterilised at home and is stored in a sterile container or tub. We used Tommee Tippee 0-6 closer to nature dummies, they are BPA free and orthodontic.
For Birthing Partners
- Snacks & Drinks
As stated previously be sure to pack enough for birthing partners too. I mainly packed snacks, crisps, breakfast bars, chocolate, sweets and packs of water and orange juice.
If your partner ends up staying in hospital with you overnight make sure they pack a bag with extra clothing in and their own toiletries.
The last thing you want is to leave hospital with your partner, go find your car and remember you have to pay for hospital parking which can be a little expensive. Make sure your partner has enough change to pay for parking before you head out with baby.
- Phone & Charger
Your partners phone is probably in their hand at the majority of times anyway so be sure to take a charger so they can take plenty of photos and use their phone to contact people and keep themselves entertained whilst the wait begins for baby to arrive.
When I went into labour and had to take my hospital bags I made sure they were downstairs in the dining room all packed and ready for that quick journey to the hospital. I took one small suitcase for me, one small suitcase for Oscar and a small bag for birthing partners, (by small suitcase I mean the size of hand luggage). I found by separating our things it was easier to find items we needed.
I wish you all the luck in the world with this beautiful journey ahead of you, good luck mummies, you can do it!
Thank you for reading, if you would like to know what to pack in your baby bag once you’re all settled in at home with your new baby, check out my post here with helpful tips and essentials to pack for those journeys out.