So what do you pack in your hospital bag?
This was one that stumped me a bit before having Sam. I read lots of books and compiled a list based on what blogs, apps and emails were telling me (from baby websites I had signed up to).
The thing is it’s like packing for a surprise trip in that you have no idea how long you are going for and a bit like holiday in that you will always pack too much and never wear the half of it!
It is better to be organised though and have too much on this occasion I would say. I only packed my bag around week 38 but most people say about the week 35 mark is best just to be sure.
I used a hand luggage suitcase and then just used a baby bag for Sam’s stuff. (In the rush to the hospital ~ read my birth story HERE ~ we actually forgot his bag with all the baby clothes, nappies etc so it would help to set the bags together on standby! 🙈Thankfully my mum and sister arrived with it just a few hours after I had Sam and he was cuddled up with me skin to skin anyway!)
One TOP TIP my friend told me about after I had Sam was to have your birthing partner pack the bag. 9 times out of 10 it will be them getting the bits out for you so if they pack it they know where everything is. (Imagine your already nervous birth partner frantically looking for a hair bobble that you knew was in the front zip pocket but were too in the zone or busy sucking gas and air to tell them). This didn’t happen to me but I am sure it would only add to the stress for them when they already feel so helpless. It really makes sense.
I had been super organised and had read about packing a few things for your birthing partner. The hospitals are roasting and even though Sam was due in late January I actually packed shorts for Chris and a fresh t-shirt. He is a farmer and being used to the outdoors is always too hot indoors anyway, but in the hospital it has to be a certain temperature for the baby.
Anyway once I was examined and allowed into the birthing pool after a frantic drive to the hospital they asked if I wanted to put on a wee vest top or tankini (at this stage you don’t care who see’s what and I just wanted in the pool) no sooner had I said ‘No, I just want in’ I had whipped off my top and was getting into the water.
Meanwhile Chris knew I had packed him shorts but was asking where they were 🙄 he found them pretty quickly, it did actually make me laugh at the time as the midwives thought he meant swimming shorts and was getting into the pool too 😂
He said the shorts were a godsend! Had we stayed over I am sure he would have appreciated a fresh t-shirt too but we were in and out of the hospital within 12 hours!
So much for my meticulous packing but sure better to be safe rather than sorry!
Here is the list of items I packed:
* Birth plan and maternity notes – try to remember to bring them in from the car 🙈 poor Chris had to run back out in a panic!
* A vest top or tankini top if you plan on a water birth and would like to stay partially covered up.
* A nightdress for during or after labour – I bought a really ‘attractive’ one from primark that I was happy to chuck out afterwards but an old t-shirt would suffice.
* Pjs (comfy ones go a size or two up and consider if the waistband is stretchy just incase you end up with a section as you will not want anything to rub against your wound). Another TOP TIP- buy black PJ bottoms if you can (just to save any embarrassment if you leak anywhere after birth) yes it’s that glamours!
* Buy adult nappies! Cringe I know but these disposable underwear were great! The hospital did give me some super absorbent pads but I put them inside the disposable nappies and then had my XL primark black briefs over the top! (Sex appeal also goes out the window with your dignity!) I used these for about 3/4 days after birth and then was wearing pads for about 10days so stock up before baby comes too!
* A dressing gown depending on time of year but it is very warm on the ward. I had an ensuite and had a light dressing gown but if you are sharing facilities on a ward you may want a dressing gown and slippers.
* Slippers or flip flops are great especially if your staying a while. TOP TIP! if you go to the hospital in your slippers remember to pack shoes for going home!
* Going home clothes, again think loose fit and comfort. I brought leggings and I had bought a new jumper I was excited about fitting into but to be honest it was a bit tight and I wished I had brought a hoody!
* Socks and a pack of big black briefs
* Maternity bra for feeding or just a non wired one if you plan to bottle feed as the thought of underwire will pain you. Comfort is key!
* I also swore by vest tops from primark with hidden support within them. Easy for feeding and comfy without the fuss of a feeding bra in those early cluster feeding days!
* A towel – depending on the hospital you may or may not get towels. I would again suggest a dark old towel not a nice new white one!
* A face cloth – for during or after birth
* Toothbrush and Toothpaste
* Hairbrush/Hair bobbles
* Breast pads – I just went with Asda own brand!
* Lip Balm – gas and air drys them out a bit!
* Arnica tablets – take these to help with any bruising ‘downstairs’ after birth!
* Paracetamol- I took these to help with the pain of Breastfeeding as your tummy contracts when you feed and it took a bit of getting used to.
* Mobile phone and charger!!
* Toiletries – deodorant, shower gel (treat yourself to a nice one as it’s the best shower/bath you will have!). I would have said moisturiser which i brought but you don’t have the time as you just want to get back to your wee bundle.
* Make up bag and straighteners (my room had a hairdryer)
* Snacks, drinks – if it’s a long labour it will save a fortune on the vending machine! I planned on buying this enroute but that didn’t happen 😂
* Speakers if you plan on using hypnobirthing and want it louder than your phone or headphones. Read my hypnobirthing storey HERE.
* Straws – easier to drink the water with a straw if your hands are holding you in position and your birth partner is trying to give you a drink.
For your birthing partner:
* something comfy to wear (they could have rushed from work)
* charger / they need to keep everyone informed
* Change for car park if required
I bought this LAND nappy bag/backpack recently on Ebay on the recommendation of a friend and I LOVE it. It holds so much and is really practical. You can find it HERE.
TOP TIP – Again as you may be bed based you need to make this as easy for your birthing partner as possible. I did the following on the advice of a friend and it was really easy for Chris to get everything we needed quickly!
I used a sandwich/resealable bags and made little outfit packs (enough for 4 changes plus a going home outfit).
In each bag I had:
– A vest – short or long sleeve depending on the season
– A babygrow
– Nappy bag
This meant everything was at hand each time Sam needed changing. We ended up only staying 12 hours so this didn’t help us much but it was easy for chris to just find the bag labelled going home outfit. Then I had a hand knit cardigan for him too. I imagine though if you were in hospital for a couple of days and perhaps had a section this would really help.
I also packed :
– extra nappies
– Wipes and cotton wool
– Cardi/snow suit
Shop these LAND Bags HERE.
Finally have the car seat ready (isofix in place) and make sure you have a practice run putting it in and out! Otherwise it makes for a very embarrassing moment in the car park and would be even worse if it was raining!
I hope that helps anyone in the midst of packing or thinking about getting their bag ready!Let me know if there is anything you think I missed! It’s so good to share tips and tricks!