My Hospital Bag: What Should I Pack?
An important step in preparing for your baby’s arrival is getting your hospital bag together. Here is a handy checklist of items the Treasures team found useful to have, along with some extras.
Your hospital bag should contain all you need for your labour and the few days following. Conventional wisdom holds that you should have the basics packed in your hospital bag and ready by the front door a month before your due date, to be on the safe side. Everyday items like your toothbrush and phone can be grabbed as you leave. (And this is not the time for your partner to make the usual jokes about women not being able to pack light.)
My Hospital Bag: What should I pack for myself?
- Toiletries - Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and lip balm, plus a body wash/soap, shampoo and conditioner, comb/brush, cleanser and moisturiser, are important items to pack in your baby hospital bag. Makeup if you want, too. Having your own personal items when you have a shower will make you feel much better. No need for any perfume though as baby will prefer your smell to all others, and their tiny nose is extra sensitive.
- Hair ties - Even if your hair isn’t very long, you may want it off your face and the back of your neck during labour. It’ll also come in handy during breastfeeding and the days post birth.
- Pillow/pillowcase - Having your own can be much more comfortable than using hospital ones.
- Face cloths - For making cool compresses for your face and neck.
- Pyjamas/ dressing gown- It pays to wear the hospital nightie while giving birth (as it will likely get dirty) and then have your own comfortable PJs or nightie to change into later. Make sure they button through the front so you can breastfeed more easily. A nightgown makes for easy visits to the toilet or opt for loose fitting pyjama bottoms – now’s not the time for tight leggings! And don’t forget to bring your comfy dressing gown too.
- Warm socks or slippers - Feet can get very cold during labour. Plus, in the immediate days following birth, keep your tootsies warm when stretching your legs on walks around the hospital or birth care.
- Spare underwear - A multi-pack of inexpensive knickers to wear during your hospital stay is very handy to pack in your hospital bag, so you can just throw them away after you've worn them. Consider darker colours.
- Birth plan - Opinion can be divided on how useful these are. Essentially, a birth plan is an outline of how you would ideally like your labour and birth to proceed and can cover everything from what kind of pain relief you’re prepared to consider, through to who you want to cut the umbilical cord. You may never refer to it during labour, but it can help to ensure you and your partner and/or caregivers are clear on what you do and don’t want, including if you want to take the placenta home with you. Make sure it’s written down well ahead of your due date when you have time to find out more about the various procedures and pain relief options. Bear in mind also that your ideal birth scenario can change totally once you’re in the thick of labour, and that’s fine too.
- Who to ring list – There’s no doubt there will be friends on family awaiting the big news – is it a boy? A girl? What does baby weigh? How long are they? Since hours after giving birth can blend together, you won’t wonder if you forgot anyone with this handy list.
- TENS machine - (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) – a small battery-powered device that sends gentle electrical impulses to your skin through electrode pads on your back. The pulses are designed to help your body release endorphins and block the pain messages to help combat labour pains. They are easy to use and can be hired through a variety of websites.
- Pilates ball or tennis ball – These can ease muscle pain and spasms during labour.
- Rescue Remedy - This homeopathic remedy can be used safely during pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding. It is used traditionally to relieve feelings of stress, anxiety and agitation and bring a sense of focus and calm. It can also be handy for partners and caregivers who are supporting you.
- Snacks - Handy for you and your partner. Muesli bars, snack logs, dried fruit and nuts, chocolate etc.
- Drink bottle and/or boxes of juice - It's important to stay well hydrated during labour.
- Toilet paper - Hospital toilet paper can be harsher than what you’re used to at home, so taking your own roll could be more comfortable if you’re sore.
- Sorbent Flushable Toilet Wipes - A much gentler option and help make it easier to keep clean.
- Small tissue packs and wet wipes - Handy for wiping hands and face.
- Libra Maternity pads - These are heavy-duty sanitary pads. The hospital will provide you with some but you could also take extra to be on the safe side.
- Feeding bra - Once your milk comes in (usually day 2/3) you may be glad of the extra support for your swollen, sometimes quite uncomfortable breasts. If you don’t want a bra under your nightie then try a maternity camisole, which provides extra support.
- Breast pads - You may find you leak between feeds. Disposable pads are easy to use in hospital (washable re-usable versions are also available for when you’re at home if you prefer).
- Nipple cream - Great for soothing sore, tender, red and cracked nipples between feeds.
- Notebook and pen - Useful for recording feed times.
- Earplugs - Ideal for helping you sleep in case you and baby are sharing a room afterwards with another new mum and baby.
- Sleeping mask - To help you sleep during the day. You may also want to pack an extra one for your partner in case they’re trying to sleep too.
- Jandals - To wear in the shower.
- Camera - Use your phone camera or bring a digital one to capture the early moments. Make sure you bring a spare memory card and the power cord for charging.
- Clothes to wear home – It’s one less thing to think about following the birth, although your partner can bring these in later.
- Money - Cash for parking or vending machines.
- iPod and speakers - If you want music during labour.
- Phone - and charger.
- Books/magazines/puzzles – These can make a long labour feel a bit shorter - although don’t be surprised if you don’t get a chance to pick them up in the weeks after giving birth!
My Hospital bag: What should I pack for my baby?
Clothes - 5-4 changes including a hat, booties, and onesies. A swaddle or wrap is also useful to have.
Blanket - You may want to bring a blanket to tuck around baby if it's cold when you're leaving the hospital.
Treasures Nappies - The hospital will supply some but you might like to have your own stock on hand when you need them.
Car seat – Every baby will have to be strapped into a car seat upon leaving the hospital. Make sure it’s installed correctly weeks before your due date.
Besides our hospital bag checklist, we would like to give you some advice for when the baby arrives.
Bonus tips for a happy newborn:
WARM THE COT WITH WHEAT BAGS
Cold sheets can prevent little babies from settling in their own beds in the winter. Try warming the bed with wheat bags for 10-15 minutes. Safer than a hot water bottle but remember to remove the wheat bags before you put the baby to bed. For extra cosiness, try a wool underlay or sheepskin under the sheet.
ALWAYS HAVE A BLANKET ON HAND
Babies fall asleep in random places – on your chest, after feeding, when they’re relaxed – and it helps to have a blanket on hand to keep you and your little one cosy. Try keeping a few blankets and throws in strategic places around the house.
TRY A SHEEPSKIN
Instead of a playmat, put the baby on a warm, cosy sheepskin near you or where they can see out of the window. You’ll be amazed how much pleasure they get from gazing out at the sky. Little fingers love gripping the wool texture and sheepskins provide a soft landing during tummy time.
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