Pregnancy is full of special milestones: the positive test, the first scan, feeling those first movements, the 20 week scan, decorating the nursery and the list goes on. By the time you reach the third trimester you have pretty much ticked off all those major milestones and, apart from the big one – labour, there is only really one more thing left. The packing of your hospital bag is a big event for a pregnant mummy, it symbolises that your pregnancy is almost over and you are preparing to finally meet your baby after 9 long months of waiting. When I had Leo I packed enough for a week away, it was comical how much stuff I took with me to the hospital. This time around I am just packing the things I will actually need; one of the perks of a second baby is you now have valuable knowledge you didn’t have a clueless first time mum! So, for any other pregnant mums wondering what to pack for that very important trip to the hospital, here is a list of everything I am taking with me. I hope it helps.
What’s in my hospital bag?
Bikini top – No, I’m not expecting to do some sunbathing on the hospital roof, I am hoping for a water birth though. To avoid being completely naked, I am packing an old bikini top to wear in the pool. I don’t need to explain why I won’t be taking the bottoms, do I?
Head band and bobbles – Labour is a sweaty business and there is nothing more annoying than having to keep pushing your hair out of your face. Tied back out of the way is definitely the best way to go, especially if you have long hair like me.
Nightshirt – This is just in case the birthing pool is occupied and I have to give birth on a bed. I have packed a shirt rather than a nightie as it can easily be unbuttoned if I get too hot. Being able to unbutton the top means baby can still be put straight on to my chest for skin to skin contact and easy (hopefully!) breastfeeding.
Lip balm – I have no idea why but during labour your lips get really dry and chapped, I think it might be because of all the physical exertion and not hydrating yourself enough. I didn’t have any last time and the midwife kindly lent me some of hers as dealing with scratchy dry lips on top of the pain of contractions was no fun at all.
For after the baby is born.
Camera – You don’t want to miss out on those very first pictures of your new bundle of joy! Make sure it is charged or you have spare batteries, just in case.
Towel – Some hospitals provide you with a towel and some don’t. I have packed a big cosy towel as it is nice to have some home comforts with you, especially after going through something as traumatic as pushing a baby out of you know where.
Shower gel/shampoo etc – Hopefully you will get the opportunity to have a shower once your little one has arrived. Trust me, a shower will never have felt so good after all that work you have just done. I have packed some 0% Sanex shower gel as it has nothing in it that might irritate you. Don’t forget your deodorant, toothbrush and things like that either, after having Leo I felt so much better after having a shower and making myself feel a bit more human again.
Big granny pants – So I have packed 3 pairs of big pants, last time I packed 2 packets of 5 and only used 2 pairs. I have no idea why I thought I would be needing 10 pairs of knickers! Why big pants you ask? Well, the next item on the list will make that clear..
Maternity pads – They may be big enough to use as a door wedge but they are the only pads up to the job of dealing with post baby bleeding. I have got some Boots own maternity pads and also some super maxi always pads too. There is no point trying to fit these monstrosities into your favourite undies, that is why only big granny pants will do. You’ll only need to put up with them for the first couple of weeks or so. Please don’t pack ultra pads, they will do nothing and you will be having to run to change them all the time.
Nursing bra x 2 – Nursing bras make breastfeeding so much easier, especially in the early days. Although your proper milk doesn’t come in for a couple days and there’s not much chance of big leaks while in the hospital, I have packed 2 bras just in case one gets milk/sick on it. I have packed a handful of nursing pads too but I didn’t really need them until about day 3 last time, but things could easily be different this time around.
PJs x 2 – I have packed 2 lots of pyjama bottoms and 2 button down pyjama tops. I have gone for 2 of my comfiest pj bottoms, both quite dark with busy patterns in case of any leakages! I have gone for button down tops as there is no point trying to feed discreetly when you are trying to establish a proper latch with your newborn. Also, it is so much easier to see what you are doing when feeding in a shirt than trying to tackle the layered top method straight away. I have also packed some cosy bed socks and some new slippers for wandering about the post natal ward.
Snacks – I have put this bit in the after labour section as when I was in labour I couldn’t face eating a thing (you might be different though so make sure your snacks can easily be found!). I have packed 2 packets of cereal bars, I love cereal bars and would happily munch on them any time of day. After not getting the obligatory tea and toast after having Leo, I managed to eat about 3 Alpen bars in a row in the wee hours while feeding him on the post natal ward! You could chuck some food in for your hubby/birth partner too, labour can be a long process and just because you’re not hungry doesn’t mean the people with you might not be a bit peckish.
Coming home outfit – When it is time to leave the hospital you might want to change out of your pjs, no one will judge you if you don’t! I have packed a nursing vest top, my favourite cardigan my Nan knitted me and some stretchy harem trousers I bought in the summer. I am all about comfort and I don’t want anything too tight over my belly.
10 nappies – yes it sounds like a lot but tiny babies need changing loads. I am thinking 10 is probably more than enough but they are so tiny that they take up no room at all in the changing bag.
Baby wipes – Some people prefer cotton wool and water at the start but I never had any problems using wipes with Leo right from day 1. I have bought the extra sensitive ones and always avoid fragranced wipes. Don’t forget to pack some nappy bags too, I have got a pack of 200 in the changing bag, really hoping we won’t be using all of those while in the hospital!
Muslin cloths x 3 – These little squares of fabric are a must have newborn essential. They might not seem like much but they are great for cleaning up sick or chucking over your shoulder while you burp your baby and so on.
4 vests – I have packed 2 newborn and 2 0-3 short sleeved popper vests. The newborn sizes only go up to 8lb ish and if I end up with a big baby I don’t want to be squeezing him into tiny clothes. As a low risk pregnancy, if all goes well my midwife has requested a 6 hour discharge for me so hopefully baby won’t need his outfit changing more than 4 times in that time.
4 baby grows – Again I have packed 2 newborn and 2 0-3month baby grows. Little baby outfits are cute but in the early days, in my opinion, it is all about the baby grow. Once you get used to the thousands of poppers, they are so much easier to put on and off than trying to get jumpers on over their tiny floppy heads.
Hats x 2 – A little hat looks so adorable on a newborn. It is good to put one on pretty soon after birth to keep your little one warm and it is handy to have a second one as the first will probably be a bit grubby if it goes on before your baby has had a proper wash.
Coat/jacket – Depending on the time of year/time you’re discharged, you will probably need a coat or something to keep your little one warm on the journey home. I have packed a knitted jacket to pop over little man in his baby grow, it will keep him warm but also safer in his car seat than a big puffy coat. Don’t forget a blanket as well, you can use this for baby in the hospital and to keep them cosy on the journey home.
Car seat – You won’t be going anywhere without a car seat, unless you live in walking distance from the hospital. Make sure it is ready in the car before your due date and that you have figured out how to fasten it all in properly before you put baby in it for the first time.
Other things to remember –
Your maternity notes! – These are so important and you don’t want to have to send your birth partner back home to get them. Put them somewhere where there is no chance of you forgetting to see them before you leave in a manic rush to the hospital.
Change for parking – If you are driving to the hospital chances are you will need to pay and display in the hospital car park. It is also useful to have some cash handy for any emergency trips for drinks from the vending machine.
Phone charger – You will want to make sure your phone has battery when your little one arrives. I am sure you will have lots of family members eagerly awaiting to hear baby is here and you will be desperate to share your news with friends and family too. Also, if you don’t have a camera you will probably be relying on your phone to snap those first ever shots of your new baby.
That’s it! I think I have remembered everything. I have definitely packed less this time but I feel like I have got all the essentials. If you are going to be packing your hospital bag soon I hope this list has helped.
What did you pack in your hospital bag? Did you pack too much or not enough? Is there anything important I have forgotten? I would love to know your thoughts.
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