Before leaving for the hospital, make sure you have your hospital bag or suitcase packed. A lot of expectant moms pack their hospital bags during the third trimester as you never know when your labour will start. I’ve compiled a list of useful things to pack in your hospital bag.
The very first thing that should be on your hospital checklist is your maternity notes. Many expectant moms forget about these and end up having to ask their birth partner to travel back home to get them! Maternity notes are extremely important as it details your birth plan and pregnancy history.
Comfort comes before anything else! Labour itself is an excruciating time so try and make this a little easier with comfortable, loose fitting clothes. Loungewear or pyjamas are best for the early stages of labour and afterwards – and do remember to pack clothes for the hospital stay and going home. During active labour, it’s best to pack a few loose nighties. Dressing gowns and slippers are also great to keep you warm during your hospital stay.
Many expectant moms are unsure on whether to pack newborn outfits or sleepsuits. I’d personally just pack a few sleepsuits because the last thing you want to be doing is tackling vests, t-shirts, and trousers when your little one is unsettled and restless. Sleepsuits are much easier to navigate for those first nappy changes. Also remember to pack newborn hats and blankets as newborns cannot regulate their temperature and stays in hospital aren’t the warmest.
If you choose to bottle feed your little one, be sure to pack ready-made formula bottles in the brand you choose. In my case, my little boy was struggling to feed because of the teats that came with the ready-made bottles, but thankfully the hospital provided us with other teats that were so much better!
Baby Changing Essentials
Nappies, wipes, nappy bags, and nappy cream are essential items that should be at the very top of your list. Wipes are not only handy for your baby but also come in handy to quickly wipe down your face after a sleepless night in hospital.
Food and Drink
Labour is a very tiring time so be sure to pack plenty of food and drink. Fruit juices and cereal bars are a great shout as they can provide boosts of sugar and energy that you need. Try and eat and drink as much as you can during the early stages of labour as during active labour you won’t want to eat or drink anything, or won’t be able to.
Towels and Sanitary Products
One thing that I actually forgot to pack in my hospital bag was bath towels! Let’s just say I won’t be making this mistake again next time! The first shower in the hospital after birth is not a great experience as it is but it was made even harder with me trying to dry my body with a small towel (thankfully provided by the hospital). Also, make sure to pack enough sanitary products for your stay. My personal favourite sanitary products are the Boots maternity pads!
Toiletries are essential for your hospital stay. Be sure to pack toothpaste, a toothbrush, deodorant, hairbrush, hair ties, shower gel, and any medication that you’re currently taking. You could also pack a small carrier bag to put used washing in which will make your life easier when you get home!
Breastfeeding mothers should make sure nipple cream is on their hospital bag list. The nipples can be very dry and chapped, especially at the beginning. Using nipple cream before and after feeding will help soften the nipples and ease the pain of the cracked skin.
One thing you can never have enough of is hand sanitiser! In hospital, it’s hard to wash your hands right after every nappy change due to queues for the bathroom and sinks. Hand sanitiser is great to use until you can thoroughly wash your hands. It is also good to use it regularly when you’re in hospital to prevent the spread of germs.
No clinic or hospital is without pillows. But the comfort of one's everyday pillow is unbeatable! For ultimate serenity, take your favourite pillow with you. This will help you get at least some sleep and will help you get a sense of familiarity. Pain and discomfort are often alleviated by resting your body parts on pillows in specific positions so these extra pillows are helpful for this purpose too.
Phone Charger and Earphones
You will definitely need a phone charger during your hospital stay! As we all know, new smartphones that drain your battery require daily charging, especially if you use it regularly. Your phone will be used to pass time, keep in touch with your family, and take precious first photos of your little one so make sure you keep it charged up throughout your stay. And if you’re planning to watch TV shows or videos on your phone or tablet then make sure to take earphones with you too!
Magazines or Books
During early labour, it is a good idea to take some reading material with you, especially if the WiFi and phone signal is hard to come by. Whether it’s magazines, reading books, or puzzle books, pack something that interests you.
Everyone who has gas and air knows how dry your mouth and throat get afterwards and not to mention dry, chapped lips! Lip balm is honestly such a life saver!
Follow the above list and pack as many of these things as you feel are important, and above all, make sure to get your hospital bag ready as soon as possible. Good luck!
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All views are my own and based on personal experience.