Updated: Jun 7
Packing your hospital bag can be a daunting task. What should I pack? Will it be too much, too little? When should I pack it? How long should I plan to be in hospital for? With so many questions to answer, so I thought I would ask our wonderful community to share their top tips.
When should I have my bag ready?
So let's start with when should you have your bag ready? Well most babies arrive somewhere between 37 and 42 weeks, therefore having your bag ready to go may be advisable from 36 weeks. One of our parents recommended keeping a little note on the top to remind you of things that you are yet to pack, such as your phone charger.
What should I take?
How many bags do you need? Well I am a big believer that less is more. If you think about your potential journey through hospital, you may need to be assessed when you first arrive, then move to your delivery room and then possibly on to the ward once baby has arrived. So what ever you pack will need to be carried around with you. I know this from personal experience as my poor husband looked like a pack horse when we arrived for the birth of our first child!
So I always advise packing two bags; one for labour and one for baby. In the labour bag, all you need for birth including an outfit for baby and some nappies. For the second the things you need for your baby and post birth recovery.
What to pack - The Ultimate List
This isn't your typical 'what to pack in your hospital bag list' (you'll find lots of those on Google). This is a list of top tips shared by our local community of parents:
Starting with the most important snacks and drinks; items that can give you an energy boost but are also easy to eat, like cereal bars or fruit. Lots of our parents packed their favourite sweets or chocolate to enjoy once baby has arrived.
Remaining hydrated throughout labour is important, so your uterus can work effectively, therefore make sure you drink plenty of water. Fiddling around with bottle lids may become annoying, so using a straw may be less distracting.
Whilst we are on food and drink, peppermint was recommended by many of our parents - whether that be mints or herbal tea. Peppermint has been reported by many to help relieve trapped wind in the abdomen after a caesarean section. It can also help with feelings of nausea.
Of course, you'll need clothing for you for and baby, but don't forget your flip flops . I lost count of how many of our mums suggested this crucial item, a must have for your post birth shower and for the ward. And no list would be complete without big pants, the bigger the better. Without exception our mums recommended buying cheap pants over the disposable ones.
A brilliant idea for when you are packing your baby clothes is to pop each outfit (a vest, a sleep suit & a nappy) in a labelled sandwich bag. This will be really helpful for your partner or midwife, as they will be the ones getting items for baby out of your bag. One of our mums also suggested labelling what size they are, incase you have a few sizes to chose from.
Hair bobbles. My favourite piece of advice was teach your partner how to tie back your hair - genius!
Self care items also featured, in particular lip balm & hand/body lotion as your lips and skin can dry out due to breathing, using gas and air & dehydration. Cooling sprays for your 'bits' were also recommended or perhaps take a small jug or cup to flush warm water over those delicate areas after birth.
Hospitals can be very warm places, so a hand held fan may bring some much needed relief.
For the same reason, you might find taking your own pillow more comfortable. Many hospitals provide pillows with plastic coating which can make for a rather sweaty nights sleep! An eye mask was also recommended for any nights spent on the ward.
Music can be a wonderful anchor to relaxation, so make sure you sort out a calming playlist and pack your headphones. With this in mind, make sure you have an extra long phone charger. As many of our parents pointed out, you are not always near a power point.
So there you go, our top tips for packing your hospital bag. I really hope you have found this list helpful.