What to put in that hospital bag
As well as this more detailed list - check out this advice from Dr. Mim on those vital items you won’t want to forget!
Some people will tell you to start prepping your hospital bag from sometime in the second trimester. But when I was pregnant with my first baby, I remember thinking what’s the rush? And anyway, what do I really need apart from my toothbrush, a nightie and a cute outfit for the baby?! Surely this is just another thing to add to the never-ending list of prep (and potential expense) for this new baby.
And the truth is, it’s not a big deal if you don’t have the most perfectly prepped hospital bag - someone can always bring a forgotten item in for you and with any luck you’ll be back home in a flash. So please don’t stress about it. But we suggest it’s a good idea to get at least a few bits ready to roll from from about 34 weeks. And the full monty ready to go by 36 weeks.
We have put together a list of items for you below, so that you have a reference point and someone to point out a few things you may not have considered - but of course this is YOUR hospital bag and you must make sure that your favourite pair of bed socks / faithful old sleep mask / favourite magazine go in, to make you feel as relaxed as possible.
Here’s a top tip - make sure your partner is involved in the packing process (it’s a fun Sunday morning activity over coffee!) so that when you’re in labour and you need something NOW from that bag, they know exactly where it is!
Here are a few of Bump to Cradle’s tips on what to put in…
o Your midwife/hospital notes if you have them
o Your phone and charger
o Change for the car park (keep in the car)
o TENS machine if you want to use one
o Toiletries – remember the basics - toothbrush/toothpaste, shower gel, hair ties, dry shampoo if you use it, face wipes. But why not treat yourself to some luxury travel sized ones and have something to pamper yourself with in that post-birth shower. You won’t regret it.
o Comfy dark coloured knickers – a few pairs. Really.
o Clean + fresh clothes to go home in. No need to make like Markle. Something comfy that you can sit in the car in post-birth is what you’re going for.
o Nighties for birthing in - button down nighties are best if you’re hoping to breastfeed. Easy boob access. Don’t wear your partner’s favourite band t-shirt. It’s gonna end up in the bin.
o Swimwear if you think you might have a water birth
o Dressing gown and slippers - most hospitals won’t let you walk around with bare feet. They are toasty places though - so a summer dressing gown is probably plenty warm enough.
o Flip flops for showers
o Maternity pads (bring lots just in case)
o Breast pads (lots - and fyi they come in pairs!), nipple cream (use it as a preventative)
o Food and drink (for you and partner). Straws are useful for drinks. Coconut water is great for hydration and good if you are fed up of water. Flapjacks are a good energy source. Have sweet and savoury snacks at the ready.
o Any other home comforts that will help you to relax – favourite lip balm, massage oils, calming / motivating playlists or hypnobirthing tracks downloaded and ready to go on phone/ipad and mini speakers , comfy pillows, candles (fake battery ones - obvs.)
Your partner should also prepare and bring their own bag - but remember there won’t be a lot of space, so a small one is plenty. Being a birth partner is hot, sweaty and pretty dirty work at times - so think cool layers of clothing - including a change of underwear + t-shirt, comfy shoes, deodorant and phone charger (it’s your job to communicate with the outside world!).
FOR YOUR BABY
o Car seat (note - probably won’t fit in the bag!) But make sure you both know how to fit it into the car and operate the straps as the midwives will not let you leave without showing them you can safely do so.
o Nappies/wipes suitable from birth. Yes, this is your job - not the hospital’s - to provide.
o Babygros/sleepsuits – bring a few as may need regular changing if accidents!
o Hat and mitts
o Muslin cloths/swaddle cloths
o Coat/warm all in one suit (season dependent obviously - a blanket for the car seat may be plenty)
For more practical, realistic and up to date information on having a baby and for the support you need in learning about labour and the postnatal period, see our expert led antenatal classes at www.bumptocradle.com.