This post contains some gifted items¦ The hospital bag is always a topic of conversation between expectant mums. There are some obvious things you should pack, but there might be other things that are less apparent. At the same time, you don’t want to overpack and have too much stuff (I made this mistake when I gave birth to my daughter!) People are also unsure when to pack their bags. Personally, I started packing my bag at around 30 weeks. Due to moving house, it took me a little longer, but I’ve just completed it at 36 weeks. Even though I am now hoping to have a home birth, it feels good to have everything in one place and will be ready to just pick up and take should my baby and I need to be transferred to hospital. Let’s take a look at what I’ve packed and the size of my bags too (another common topic of discussion!)
My Hospital Bag
- Maternity notes – this is, of course, one of THE most important things. It contains everything your midwives need to know about your pregnancy and for your labour and delivery.
- TENS machine – I used a TENs machine with my daughter and found the pain relief it provided amazing. You can buy or hire these. I decided to hire one from the same company I used last time.
- 1 nightie and pair of pyjamas
- Dark dressing gown
- Hair bands – I hate having my hair around my face if I’m really concentrating or not feeling well, so these are a must have!
- Breast pads – I packed 8 pairs of this, which would hopefully be enough to last me if I was in hospital for two days
- Face wipes – I’m unlikely to feel up to standing in a mirror cleansing, toning and moisturising, so I thought these would be ideal and help me to feel refreshed
- Dry shampoo – if I’m in hospital and my hair needs a freshen up, little things like this will help me feel that tiny bit better .
- Lip balm – this is a MUST! My lips got SO dry from gas and air last time I was in labour and I was so glad that I’d followed someone on the internet’s advice and packed some lip balm.
- Cool It Mama Spray* – this spray from the Natural Birthing Company smells wonderful but not overpowering and is so refreshing! I had one earlier in the year that I used through the heatwaves of the summer and it really helped. When I feel a bit overwhelmed or anxious, I also enjoy sprays like this and I’m sure it’ll be really lovely during labour.
- Bottoms Up Spray* – I already know this will be an absolute must-have for after birth. Containing witch hazel, arnica and lavender, it soothes your perineal area after birth. I remember how swollen and sore that area felt last time, especially after having stitches! I used their Pure Bliss soothing compress solution after I had Autumn and it was amazing. As such, I’m hoping this will help just as much!
- Nipple cream – a must if you’re planning on breast feeding!
- Antibacterial wipes
- Hand sanitiser – in the current climate, I thought it would be a good idea to take my own sanitiser. My hands are already dry and that’s before constantly washing them to look after a newborn! As such, I picked one that is supposed to be particularly gentle.
- Maternity bra
- 5 x knickers – take lots of big, dark knickers, for obvious reasons!
- Maternity pads – again, make sure you have lots of these! You will get through more than you expect. I’m hoping that a 10 pack should cover me for 2 days in hospital.
- Jumper, leggings and socks – make sure whatever outfit you pack to leave the hospital in is comfy.
- Tea lights – yep, tea lights! These might not be on everyone’s list, but I’ve been hypnobirthing again. One element of this is to have a relaxing environment.
- Sunglasses – like the tea lights, this is part of keeping a relaxing environment. I got a lot of weird looks when I wore sunglasses in labour with my daughter. However, it stopped the hospital lights from glaring at me quite so much, making me feel more relaxed.
- Snacks: Cashew nuts, cereal bars, dried fruit, crisps, polos, fruity sweets, orange juice, apple juice and isotonic sports drinks – all good for keeping up energy levels!
- Muslin cloths – I’ve packed some muslin cloths into my bag as well as my baby’s. If there’s one thing you can’t have too many of with a new baby, it’s muslins! Therefore, some extras could be a wise addition to any nooks or crannies you can find in bags once everything else has been packed.
- Battery pack and phone charger – these will have to be packed at the last minute if I have to go into hospital. They’ll be so important for staying in touch with people. One of my local hospitals asks that phone chargers should be PAT tested, so it could be worth checking whether or not that’s a policy in your hospital.
I’ve just about managed to squeeze all of this into a small suitcase!
Baby’s Hospital Bag
- Lots of nappies – I’m hoping to use cloth nappies again. However, I’ve packed disposables for hospital. I’ve packed 20 in the thought that that should be enough for 2 days in hospital. Newborns need a LOT of nappy changes!
- Nappy bags
- Cotton wool balls – these will be used with water to clean baby’s bottom gently. Generally speaking, baby wipes aren’t advised for the first couple of weeks as their skin is so sensitive. I believe there are now some on the market, such as Water Wipes, which are safe though.
- Nappy cream
- Towel – for drying off baby’s bum!
- Muslin cloths – I can’t stress this enough, you need muslin cloths!!
- 2 bibs – for catching little milky dribbles.
- 3 vests –
- 2 sleep suits – if anyone could tell me how to put clothes in a bag in such a way that they don’t look screwed up when they come out, I’d be very grateful!
- Scratch mitts – a lot of sleepsuits have inbuilt scratch mitts (amazing!) However, these are a must have if they don’t. It’s crazy how sharp and scratchy newborns’ nails are.
- Hat – little heads can get chilly when they first come out of their cosy, warm environment!
- Going home outfit – a lot of people like to have a special outfit for their baby to leave the hospital in. What could be more appropriate than rainbow stripes for my rainbow baby?
- Coat – you might not need one if you have a baby in a heatwave, but my late December/January baby will definitely need one!
- Cuddly toy – this isn’t a must, because baby is too young to be able to play yet. However, having a cuddly toy with you does help make for some really cute photos!
These are all in the changing bag. So all of our things are in two bags – much more manageable than the 6 or so bags I took into hospital last time (oops!)
My daughter will be staying with my parents, whether I have a home or hospital birth. I need to maintain a calm environment. Oddly enough, that can’t happen if she’s asking us for snacks or to pass her water bottle that’s 30cm from her every couple of minutes! These are the basics she would need for up to two days (my parents have soap and towels for her to have a bath and will feed her, so no need to pack those). My thoughts are that she can choose and grab some toys and books to take with her at the last moment.
- Hair brush
- Tooth brush
- Tooth paste
- 3 x knickers
- Two outfits including socks and tights
I’ve popped all of this into my weekend bag, leaving enough room for her to pop her toys and books into.
I haven’t packed my husband a bag this time, so that’s one less to take into hospital! Unfortunately, there’s no point as he wouldn’t be able to stay in hospital with me anyway due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Disclosure: Items marked * were gifted. As always, all views and opinions are honest and my own.