One of the most exciting things as your due date approaches is packing a hospital bag, all those tiny clothes, the special first outfit, the things you will bring your baby home in, it makes everything seem so real! It’s also a bit nerve wracking, you don’t want to get it wrong and be left without something you really need. On the other hand, you can’t take everything! This is our checklist, which will do you for a few days if you have to stay in but fits in a small rucksack and a holdall.
It’s worth baring in mind that hospitals have next to no storage room, so think small. Choose a small bag and fill it with miniature versions of everything so it takes up the smallest possible amount of space.
This system actually involves a few different bags, you only need one small one when you first arrive and the others can be left in the car to get later if needed. That means you don’t have to keep track of too many belongings when you’re in labour, or carry in overnight things if you end up going straight home.
Bag 1 – labour and the first few hours.
These fit in an ordinary backpack
- Birth plan and maternity notes
- Nightshirt to give birth in, and a clean one to change into afterwards
- A shawl or very light dressing gown
- Slipper socks (that way you can wear them in bed and don’t have the faff of taking slippers on and off)
- T-shirt to wear in the birth pool if you plan to use one
- Face cloths
- Lip balm
- Squash if you don’t like water (the tiny super concentrated bottles are good)
- Water bottle
- Hair bands and brush
- Phone, with any hypnobirth tracks or music you plan to use. Audio books can be a good distraction too, if things take a while.
- Something to do – like a kindle with new books or a tablet with films downloaded
- Headphones, the soft cordless kind that look like a headband. You can even sleep in them.
- Chargers, and an external battery if you have one.
- Heartburn tablets
- Clean knickers, and a handful of maternity pads and breastpads
- A tiny bottle with sunflower oil to put on baby’s bottom before the first nappy (it makes changing that first meconium nappy so much easier!)
- A few nappies
- A hat
- First outfit (vest and babygrow)
- Waterwipes (or cotton wool if you prefer)
Dad/birth partner’s bag
- Money for food and parking
- Trunks if he/she might want to get in the birth pool with you
- Shorts and a short sleeved t-shirt, hospitals are very warm so he may want to change if he arrives wearing winter clothes!
- Something to do
- The hospital won’t give him anything if he gets a headache as he isn’t the patient, and you want him to be there for you not having a migraine!
Bag 2 – things to bring in if you need to stay overnight
- Comfy clothes (with breastfeeding access if needed)
- Flip flops to wear in the shower
- Nursing bras
- Breast and maternity pads
- Cheap black knickers
- Pyjamas or nightdress
- Usual toiletries (shower gel, toothbrush etc)
- Small squirty water bottle to reduce stinging when you wee
- Ear plugs
- Plastic carrier bags to put dirty laundry in
- Lots of nappies
- 3 babygrows
- 3 vests
- Swaddle (if you use one)
- 5 muslins
- Anything special you want to eat, I know people often ask for honey or chocolate spread at breakfast in our local hospital and they don’t have either!
Going home things
- Any gift you might have planned for the midwives
- Car seat with newborn insert (you can leave it in the car and get your partner to bring it in before leaving)
- A woolly hat
- Warm jumper for baby (not a snowsuit, they aren’t safe in a car seat)
- Baby’s going home outfit
- Something for you to wear, and a coat or jumper if you need one
- A blanket
I hope you have found this useful in some way, if you can think of anything else please feel free to comment. We would be delighted of you shared this blog on your social media channels too.
Until next time,