What should I pack in my hospital bag?
Guest Blog by Lesley Gilchrist, Mumbler Mum of 2, Midwife and co-creator of “My Expert Midwife”
You will find many examples on-line of what to take with you to hospital with you for labour; and some features encouraging you to pack for a six month expedition! But what you may not find is help on exactly how to pack it, so here goes!
Your hospital bag should be packed in the order that you need it, which is often overlooked. And ideally pack a separate bag for your baby’s things. Both mum and baby bag should be packed and ready to go before thirty seven weeks of pregnancy.
Expect your stay in hospital to be anything from two to six hours following a straightforward birth to two to three days for a more complicated birth, which may include a caesarean section.
There’s often only limited room in most delivery suites, and on most postnatal wards. With this in mind, pack only the essentials for a twenty four hour stay in hospital. Remember, your partner and family and friends will also be visiting and they will be able to bring in anything else you need.
Thinking ahead to after baby is born you may wish to stock up on items to help with comfort and recovery. Simple pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen will be available in the hospital, but make sure that you have a supply for when you get home. If you’re planning to breastfeed you may want to bring a nipple balm, such as My Expert Midwife’s No Harm Nipple Balm.
No matter how “naturally” you and your baby take to breast feeding, you will inevitably go through a few days of nipple trauma whilst you’re both getting used to breastfeeding. A decent nipple balm will be a total lifesaver!
Another thing to bear in mind is the size of the bags you take with you. Try to fit everything into as small a bag as possible and ask yourself if you absolutely require everything in it. Keep each bag no larger than carry-on luggage size (think Ryanair and excess baggage!). For example, if your stay is less than twenty four hours it is highly unlikely that you will need breast pads – which are rather bulky – until your milk supply comes in. If you do need to stay in hospital longer, then your partner can bring some in for you.
When you are leaving hospital, the chances are that you or your birth partner will be carrying your new baby in a car seat. These are bulky and quite heavy so having minimal additional luggage to carry will be a bonus.
Following birth many women report that their vagina and anal area feel extremely bruised and sore. There’s also quite heavy blood loss following birth (much heavier than a period). My Expert Midwife’s Spritz for Bits helps to combat the swelling and pain associated with trauma and – importantly – helps keep you fresh and clean too.
You will need a good supply of substantial maternity pads (and dark coloured underwear!) to get you through those first days. This is the one thing that I wouldn’t rely on a partner to purchase for you. Mumblers’ own experience of this was that Mr Mumbler was like a fish out of water in the “Women’s Hygiene” section of Boots. He grabbed the first thing he saw and unfortunately, a light flow pant liner just wasn’t going to do the trick!
If you are being induced, you may be in hospital for one or two days before your labour begins, so don’t forget to pack more luxuries such as magazines, books, snacks and a few more clothes.
Your bag should include the following and be packed in this order. The first item on the list should go at the bottom of your bag:
- Clothing to wear home
- 2 button down night dresses (dark coloured if possible)
- Maternity pads (1 pack)
- My Expert Midwife Spritz for Bits
- Flannel and toiletries
- An old towel (not too big)
- 5 pairs of large briefs (dark coloured)
- Warm socks
- 2 comfortable and supportive bras (sports bras and crop tops are great)
- Plastic bag for soiled clothing
- Slippers and dressing gown (a short dressing gown might be useful whilst sitting up in bed)
- Something comfortable to wear and easy to remove during labourYour Baby’s Bag
- Cotton wool
- Blanket to wrap baby in*
- 3 Muslin cloths
- 6 Nappies (size1 is fine but pack micro if you know you’re expecting a small baby)
- 1 Hat (wool for winter, cotton for summer)
- 3 Vests or bodysuits – newborn size (the kind that have poppers)
- 3 Sleepsuits (newborn size)
- CardiganYour (or your Birth Partner’s) Small Bag
- Camera (or use your phone)
- Any medication needed
- Phone and charger
- Sandwiches, snacks and drinks
- Aromatherapy oils
- Hypnobirthing CD if needed
- Maternity notes
- “My Expert Midwife: Let’s be honest. Motherhood can be tough. But My Expert Midwife has developed a unique pre-and post-natal product range created to tackle the taboos for mums to be and new mums. From irritated, stretched skin, cracked nipples, vaginal swelling, perineal tears to episiotomies, the My Expert Midwife no-nonsense collection provides a highly-effective solution for women experiencing the physical side-effects of pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.
- *You may wish to sleep with this blanket before the birth to ensure you and your partner’s scent is on it. This is particularly helpful if you and your baby are separated for any reason as it will help to establish bonding and attachment.