So, you’re shortly to welcome a new arrival into the world, and the adventure of pregnancy is about to give way to an entirely new one – that of motherhood itself. But as your due date draws nearer, you can never be totally sure exactly when your little one will make an appearance. This is why it pays to be prepared, and to get your hospital bag ready from around week 36.
Whether or not you’re planning a hospital birth, you may have to have one anyway, so it’s always worth having your bag ready to go. But what to pack in a hospital bag?
Your midwife will be able to provide further advice on this matter, but to help you in preparing for birth, we’ve put together a handy list of hospital bag essentials which you should be taking with you.
For mum: before and during birth
For a start, it’s important not to overload yourself with things you don’t really need – your practical necessities and a few things to keep you occupied should suffice – so your pre-birth hospital bag should include:
- Your birth plan and hospital notes. Your birth plan will provide the medical team caring for you during labour with guidance as to the kind of labour and birth you want to have, so it’s important to have this to hand.
- A lightweight dressing gown.
- Cosy, backless slippers (these are easiest to slip on and off) and socks to keep your feet warm, especially during labour.
- An old, baggy t-shirt or nightdress to wear during labour – you’ll need to wear something that neither restricts you too much nor keeps you too warm.
- Massage oil, if you wish to be massaged during labour.
- A TENS machine to provide pain relief.
- Water spray or a fan to help keep you cool.
For mum: after delivery
At this point it’s important that you think about yourself as well as your new arrival, and especially your health. You’ve been through a very stressful time and now it’s important to sit back and relax before the real work of parenthood begins! With that in mind, you should also have a bag prepared for after the delivery that contains items like:
- Breast pads, as well as sanitary and maternity pads.
- 2/3 changes of clothes, as well as sufficient underwear (including supportive, comfortable bras). It’s best to pack old underwear or underwear you’re prepared simply to throw away.
- A wash bag with the toiletries you’ll need – including toothpaste and toothbrush, lip balm, hairbrush (and hairbands or a clip, if you have long hair and want to have it tied up), soap and deodorant. Don’t forget towels, too.
- Snacks and drinks. Childbirth is, after all, hungry and thirsty work!
- Spare pillows – there might not be enough to keep you comfortable at the hospital, so it’s worth coming prepared.
- Things to keep you occupied. As well as your phone (and charger), these might include magazines and books.
Think of this as something of a pamper package, the kind of hamper you might receive when you arrive at a hotel or spa in many ways! Welcome them into the world and treat them to a few luxuries like:
- Nappies and other baby toiletries, including wipes.
- Baby clothes. Make sure these are seasonal and appropriate for the weather, so that your baby is comfortable and shielded from the elements when you’re leaving hospital.
- A baby blanket, muslin cloths and bibs.
- Socks and booties to help keep your baby’s feet warm (they can get cold easily).
- Scratch mitts and a hat, just in case it’s cold when you and your baby are heading home.
Also, don’t forget to ensure that you have a suitable child car seat (you’ll need an infant carrier) ready so that you can transport your little one home safely and comfortably when you both leave the hospital.
Of course, if you’re expecting twins (or more!) then you’ll need to consider taking more than one hospital bag with you so that you can store extra supplies. But however many new arrivals you’ll be welcoming, we hope you’ll all create many happy memories together – and that our quick checklist here helps make everything as stress-free as possible. Good luck!