When it comes to packing for a holiday? You have a vague idea of the essentials. When it comes to packing for having a baby? Clueless, I imagine. Check our list below.
When Should I Pack My Hospital Bag?
The last thing you want to be doing whilst in labour is running around the house in between contractions trying to pack a bag, get to the hospital and realise you've forgot your maternity notes or another maternity bag essential. You're advised to have both yours and baby's bag packed at least 2 weeks before your due date.
What Type of Hospital Bag Do I Need?
This isn't a trick question, you can use any bag which you find fit, within reason. It is best to stick to a hand luggage size bag, a small suitcase is perfect as everything is easily accessible. You can also get organising blocks to make it easier for your partner or anyone present at the hospital to go into your bag and find things you may need.
What Essentials Should I Pack In My Bag?
Everyone speaks about them over packing and having items they definitely didn't require in hospital, so to save you from this we have created a list of necessities which should NOT be missed.
You must remember to bring along your pregnancy notes to all appointments, especially when you're in labour. This then means they have on hand access to all of the information regarding your pregnancy, your health and your baby. You can also bring along your birth plan if you have made one.
👚Loose, Comfortable and Accessible:
You should bring something to wear during labour, if you don't wish to wear a hospital gown. You're recommended to bring a large button up night shirt, to stay accessible whilst giving birth and also if you're wanting to do skin-to-skin.
👖Change of Clothes:
You're not going to want to sit in the same clothes the entirety of your time there, especially when you have visitors. You should pack with an overnight stay, or two in mind so you're advised to bring at least 3 changes of clothes. Include a comfy, loose outfit for when you're leaving the hospital to go home.
🙇♀️Underwear for Pregnancy:
Whilst bringing only 3 changes of clothes, bring 3 times that amount of underwear. You need to ensure you're bringing knickers in which are supportive, not-loved and you're willing to possibly through away after. You should also think about bringing comfortable sports bras (or nursing bras if you're thinking of breast feeding). Do remember, your breasts increase in size and be tender the first few days after giving birth.
Your hospital will provide sanitary/maternity pads, however, it is always better to come prepared. Ensure they are super absorbent and make sure to bring plenty to cover you for the stay in hospital.
You should pack up a wash bag containing all the essentials which can make you feel a little more like a human. Be sure to bring a towel for after a wash also. You should make sure you have;
- Body wash,
- Lip balm,
- Hair bobbles,
- Bio oil,
- Nipple cream.
You will need to bring comfortable shoes which are easily slipped on to your feet. You can bring slippers, sliders, flip flops or any other flat shoe that can easily be put on.
Having a baby is a lengthy process, it's not a quick in and out journey and you may find yourself sat around for a long period of time with very little to do. You can bring books, tablet, phone or magazines to pass the time. You may wish to bring a camera also, if you're wanting to document the birth, although everyone now lives through their iPhone's. One of our recommendations would be "How to Grow a Baby and Push It Out: Your no-nonsense guide to pregnancy and birth".
Is There Anything Else I Should Consider Packing?
Along with your necessities you should think about things you could bring if you have a little spare room. These aren't thing you can't necessarily live without but you would benefit from bringing along.
After birth you may want to spruce yourself up slightly, if you're having visitors, or pictures take. This is all personal preference and is not something that you need to bring along, but it is an option.
Whilst many might find this a necessity, there is a shop on site at the hospital so if this is forgotten, the world is not ending. But it can be nice to be fully prepared to stuff your face after giving birth to your little one.
Pillows are provided in hospital, they're not that cruel. But people often choose to take their own for personal reasons, comfort reasons or if you're thinking of using the pillow to assist with breast feeding.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a pain relief method than can be used during labour to dull the pain of contractions. This is done using a mild electrical current, sending an unusual buzzing sensation to the sticky pads attached to you. This can also sometimes just be a distraction rather than pain relief.
During labour you can often become hot and bothered, a small little fan can often be a life saver during this time and one that be held by your birthing partner is so much easier.
Having a drink whilst you're in the strange birthing position in which you have found some comfort and relief is not as simple as it sounds. It can be nice to have a bendy straw or two packed in case of these situations.
If you're sleeping in the hospital for an overnight stay, it can be a good idea to take a sleeping mask or ear plugs to help you sleep. You will be tired but there may be so many reasons for you being unable to sleep.
⛹🏽♀️BABYGO Birthing Ball:
Many women find a birthing ball can help during labour and can be the place they feel most comfortable during the pain of contractions. Many hospitals do provide birthing balls and these can be used but if you plan on using one during labour, I would advise you to take your own.