Packing your hospital bag can be an overwhelming task. There are so many things to think about that it’s easy to forget even the most basic items. The best way to ensure that you have everything ready when the big day arrives is to pack your hospital bag early. Being prepared will not only help you feel more relaxed it will allow some extra time to squeeze in a pamper session (or two).
The best time to pack your hospital bag
Babies are unpredictable little creatures and only 3-5% of babies actually arrive on their due date. Most labours naturally start between 37 and 42 weeks’ gestation so its good idea to have your hospital bag packed by at least 36 weeks. Even if your baby doesn’t arrive early, you probably don’t want to spend your last few weeks running around doing errands.
When it comes to packing your hospital bag, it may be easier to pack two bags – one for you and one for your baby. Alternatively, you could purchase these awesome packing cubes which make finding things much easier. Whatever you decide, once your hospital bags are packed, store them in your car or near the front door so they are easy to find. That way your partner or family member can grab them and bring them to the hospital at a moment’s notice.
Your hospital bag essentials
The first thing you need to do before you start packing your hospital bag is to find out exactly what paperwork the hospital requires. Do you need your Medicare card, your private health insurance card, or your hospital pre-admission paperwork? The last thing you want to do is arrive at the hospital without packing the essentials.
You may also want to include a birth plan / preferences list. This will allow you to specify your wishes in regards to the type of labour and birth you’d like to have, positions you would like to adopt, who’s allowed in the delivery room, and the type of pain management you would like. Whether or not you choose to have a birth plan is a personal choice. However, if it is something you want to include, make sure you pop it in your bag when you’re packing for the hospital.
Your ultimate hospital bag checklist
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hairbrush and hair ties
- Shampoo and conditioner (travel size)
- Maternity Pads (TOM organic highly recommended)
- Essential oils to remind you of home
- Medications/glasses/contact lenses
- Hot and cold gel packs (to sooth breasts and perineum post birth) pic below
- Nipple balm
- Large high-wasted comfortable knickers
- Feeding bra or singlet
- Easy breastfeeding access nighty
- Loose track pants and T-shirts/Pjs
- Slippers (that fit swollen feet)
- Comfortable pillow for the postnatal ward
- Leave expensive jewellery/handbags at home as they are not necessary and you may have to leave them unattended at some point.
- Water wipes (no chemicals)
- Nappy bags
- Singlets (2-3 per day)
- Onesies with folder mittens and feet (2 -3 per day)
- Cotton wrap and or swaddle
- Burp cloths
- Bottles and a tin of formula if you’ve decided to formula feed (speak to your midwife at your appointments if you have questions)
Food and Drink
- Drink bottle with spout/straw
- Snacks like a banana, muesli bars, nuts, chocolate for energy
- Mobile phone and charger
- Tens machine or other labour tools
- Magazine/book (especially if you are likely to be waiting around)
- A list of who to call or text once the baby has arrived
- Any requests/birth preferences
- A ‘thank you’ card for the midwives and hospital staff (we LOVE these!)
If your partner is spending the night, you may also want to pack a separate bag for them. Having some emergency essentials on hand can make the birthing experience more positive for everyone. This bag should include:
- Change of clothes
- Comfortable shoes for pacing the corridors
- Digital camera or video camera if you want to film the birth
- Snacks and drinks for you and the mum
- Money or a credit card for parking and/or vending machines
Packing your hospital bag can be a daunting experience but it can also be exciting. The important thing to remember is that even if you do forget to pack something there will be plenty of people on hand to help you out. All you have to do is try to relax and get ready to welcome your new little angel into the world.
When the time to go to hospital finally arrives, be mindful of who you tell. There’s nothing worse than trying to focus on your labour while impatient friends and relatives are eagerly waiting for updates.