The very phrase ‘hospital bag’ strikes fear into some pregnant women.
I rather liked packing mine. Made me feel like it (whatever it was) was finally happening. And it made me feel organised. I also have to confess that I used my labour as a great excuse to buy a nice new weekend bag which I then filled it with things to make me feel good about the impending challenges.
You do obviously need to have some terribly sensible things inside but it’s also fun to have some things that will be both practical & pampering at this important time.
How much stuff do you need? Bear in mind that you may be in hospital only overnight or for a much longer period of time; it’s impossible to predict. We suggest packing for two nights as after that hopefully your other half/birthing partner can pick up some more things if it is for longer than that. Hospitals aren’t mini-break hotels and they can feel pretty impersonal so I do think it’s worth having a few things to surround yourself with though to make you feel as at home as possible.
Here’s a few ideas for what you might pop in your bag.
1. Things for you to wear: bear in mind most neonatal units are VERY warm so bring cooler tops and lighter layers. -
- A Birthing Wrap (x2 possibly). You do get a rather terrifying hospital gown option or you can wear a big t-shirt but this is lovely for feeling comfy and chic. Great for bedwear afters as well as easy to breastfeed in it.
-Slippers. Hospital floors can be chilly and if you are (like me) someone who likes to walk around when in labour (I walked up and down the stairs a lot) it’s nice to have something comfy on your feet. Thinking about it, I’m not actually sure I possessed slippers or a nice dressing gown before giving birth; how motherhood changes things!
- Socks (toes can get cold during labour – bit bizarre but true). Great excuse for a pair of great cashmere ones. -
Something to wear to go home in. This was a great bit of advice I was given. A new top after 9 months of the same maternitywear felt fresh and symbolic. Try one of our breastfeeding tops – maybe with a Perfect Wrap on top – both very useful for postnatal wear.
Note: most women look at least five months pregnant when leaving hospital, this is completely normal and should be expected. Don’t be shocked – a lot of it is fluid retention and you’ll still feel much lighter than before but it will take a couple of weeks for the majority of it to shift.
Pop a nice hairband in your bag – sounds frivolous but you want to be able to get on and focus on labour without your hair getting in your eyes.
Music: Tip: take battery operated speakers/player as the hospital might not let you plug them in. I found music wonderful for relaxing during labour & lying there afterwards, listening to beautiful music with my baby in my arms. It’s easy to put together a couple of playlists of your favourite tracks & something so significant deserves a great soundtrack.
Face spray – super-refreshing during labour and to wake you up.
Natural sponge – easy way to drink water when you’re labouring and great for washing the baby later.
Essentials for the baby
- Nappies. Sorry if it’s an SBO but…
- Wipes (or olive oil and cotton wool – many people use these when the baby is newborn)
- Babygros + hat – plain ones are sensible and fine although you may be given some special ones (ideal for the first pictures). These ones are gorgeous as they’re made of soft organic cotton & are really easy to put on and take off.
And don’t forget
- Camera/video camera. I know you may recoil in horror at the thought of photos of you but you’ll want ones of the baby’s very first day.
- Change for the phone and parking (some hospitals don’t allow mobiles)
- Snacks: good for being in labour/sitting around/distracting husbands. My friend also gave me some glucose tablets for when in labour – tasty. Yoghurt covered raisins were my best treat. So pseudo-healthy!
- Reading material: there may be some waiting around or you might, like me, be so hyper with hormones and excitement afterwards that sleep was harder than I thought. A couple of glossies really helped
- Comfy pads (Always Ultra Night or Extra are good) and disposable knickers (I know, I know…)
- Nipple cream (we love the Blossom & Bloom Nipple Cream)
- Toiletry essentials – try a little mini away kit. Korres do a good one.
- Pillows / Pillow spray. Comfy pillows can make a big difference to sleeping and some people like to have their own one with them! Pillow spray is lovely and can help really help with a comforting smell and rest.
So, there are a few suggestions from me and the Bb team. We’d love to hear any other tips and ideas. Oh, & before I forget, do make sure you do pack a lovely positive attitude, a flexible mindset+ a tonne-full of luck from us all…
The best thing? God willing, what you bring home is going to be pretty darn exciting and a million times more precious than anything you could pack in your nice bag to take there. Exciting times.