WHAT DO YOU REALLY NEED IN YOUR HOSPITAL BAG?
It’s the most exciting bag you’ll ever pack and as you enter the final trimester of your pregnancy, your thoughts will probably start to turn to what to pack in your hospital bag.
I found the whole process both exciting and overwhelming at the same time as it made it all so, well, real! I remember not wanting to pack too early so not to ‘jinx’ anything but at the same time I like to be organised and couldn’t handle the thought of my baby coming early and not being ready.
If you’re at that stage right now then don’t worry as we are here to help. We asked our Instagram followers for their thoughts too – what they took and what they wish they took or needn’t have bothered with – all to give you a helping hand when deciding what to pack for you and your new baby when the time comes.
Interesting 56% of our community said they only packed their bag a week before their due date, while 30% packed a month or so before and a rather surprising 6% said they packed when they were in labour!
THE BAG ITSELF
Not too big and definitely not too small, we loved our Tiba + Marl bag that then also doubled up as a changing bag too when we had Uma. Stylish and practical - what's not to love.
Some people like to have one bag for them, one for baby. Or perhaps one for before and one for after birth. One of our followers suggested labelled sandwich bags or packing cubes to organise your things - for example toiletries for you, baby sleep suits, hats and mittens, newborn nappies, going home outfit – how incredibly organised is that!
There are, of course, some essentials that you’ll need in your hospital bag:
- Maternity Notes
- Birth plan if you have one
- Your phone and charger
- A bit of cash for emergency snacks / drinks (if your birthing partner can’t grab them for you)
- A tens machine if you are using one
- We took a hand held fan as hospitals can be super warm so if you run hot you might want to think about it.
BIG PANTS AND OTHER NEW MUM ESSENTIALS
It’s personal preference, but we would recommend packing a good few pairs of lovely big over the belly-button pants in cotton (cotton is important for breathability so go for that if you can). It's worth getting a multi-pack for those first few days and weeks and I just sized up in comfy cotton high waisted pants from M&S from memory.
You’ll also need some loose clothing for during and after birth – a nightie or oversized tee is great. I bought some simple large tees with a button opening for breastfeeding and lived in them while I was in hospital for a few days, then popped on some joggers for the journey home.
Other items you’ll need in your hospital bag are:
- Some large sanitary towels (the more absorbent- aka bigger - the better).
- Spritz for Bits also from My Expert Midwife in my opinion is an essential and something I buy for all new mums I know to soothe down there after a vaginal birth.
- If you're planning on breastfeeding you'll want some nipple cream: No Harm Nipple Balm from My Expert Midwife is amazing and pop in some nursing bras: JoJo Maman Bebe do some lovely ones and we loved the Latched ones too and breast pads too.
- A comfy dressing gown and slippers might be on your list for when you are on the ward (I packed my rubber sliders rather than fluffy slippers as they were waterproof for wearing in the shower too).
- A car seat – if you’ll be getting a car or taxi home don’t forget the car seat with the new-born insert. It feels very strange walking into hospital with a car seat but it’s something not to forget if you’re not a walk away from home
NEW BABY ESSENTIALS
Packing for baby is the fun part. This is what I packed in my hospital bag, it differed a bit from my first birth to my second but this is my essential list:
- Newborn Nappies – more than you think
- Sleepsuits: I took a couple of different ones as the sizing comes up so differently as they often swamp a baby. John Lewis are great for multi-packs that wash well and will be worn again and again. Look for ones with built in scratch mitts as they are extra practical.
- Bodysuits and vests (especially if it’s winter to go underneath the sleepsuit) as babies always need one more layer than adults in general.
- Some hats and scratch mittens – again they lose a lot of their head through their head and their nails are surprisingly sharp when born. I preferred sleep suits with built in scratch mits but you can get packs of simple mitts from lots of high street retailers like John Lewis, JoJo Maman Bebe, Mamas and Papas, Primark and Marks & Spencer
- A blanket: Of course, we took one of our Etta Loves sensory triple layer muslin blanket as it's the perfect weight whatever time of year you have your little bundle and they should be able to focus on the patterns from as young as a few hours old.
- Muslins: Again, it goes without saying that we took our own, as even from one day old they can mesmerise your baby and give you a few minutes to take in the wonder of what you and your body have just achieved.
- A car seat – if you’ll be getting a car or taxi home don’t forget the car seat with the new-born insert. It feels very strange walking into hospital with a car seat but it’s something not to forget if you’re not a walk away from home.
REFRESHMENTS & SUSTINENCE
One thing that came up time and time again from our followers was the need to pack lots of food and drink!
Energy drinks are great when you’re feeling tired as well as sweet treats such as jelly babies and we had lots of people saying that chocolate got them through the labour, but we’d suggest talking a few different types of treats and snacks as you might not fancy what you expect to once you’re in labour.
One clever person suggested that your partner should pack their own snacks so they don’t steal your stash, and given that my husband Chris ate ALL my jelly babies whilst I was in labour I would definitely agree.
You'll find a large water bottle with a straw invaluable to keep sipping throughout your stay, as well as potentially an insulated cup to keep any hot drinks warm as well as being safer around your new baby than an open mug.
We hope that helps you to decide when to pack, how to pack and what to pack in your hospital bag for the birth of your new baby. It’s an amazing, life changing experience however and whenever your baby decides to arrive and we are sending you lots of love for when they do.