Your hospital bag is your list of items that are recommended to take with you to hospital when you go to give birth. But surely the hospital would provide you with everything you need? Essentially, they do. They provide the bed, the drugs and the medical attention but aside from that, there are several things you may want to take to make your time there more comfortable. For example, you may be in hospital longer than you think so preparing for that, and your new arrival is essential!

So what are the top things to pack in your Hospital Bag? We have put together the definitive list, plus a couple of extras as recommended by new mums we interviewed.

 

But first, and this is essential, don’t forget your MATERNITY NOTES.

 

For Labour

Labour-wear – make sure you’re wearing something loose and comfortable, which isn’t restrictive. It’s likely you’ll want to move around a lot and may get hot so layers are also a good idea. It’s also worth packing several labour-wear outfits as some may become soiled or dirty.

Dressing gown – you may want to pace the corridors during labour. Bring a light-weight dressing gown as hospitals tends to be quite warm, and dark colours or heavily patterned ones can help hide any stains.

Snacks – a lot of women are advised to bring high-energy snacks with them as labour can be long and hard. Energy drinks, nuts, sandwiches and biscuits are all recommended. Don’t forget to bring enough for your other half too!

Your own pillow – many women prefer taking their own pillow with them during labour. Why? Because whilst you can’t bring your bed, pillows are relatively portable and there may be occasions where you’re so tired you just need a nap. Depending on how you’re giving birth, you may be spending a lot of time on a hospital bed so comfort is key.

Entertainment – as well as the excitement (?) of contractions and actually giving birth, there can be a lot of waiting around. Make sure your phone is loaded up with music, podcasts or you have some magazines to read or programs to watch.

Hairband – if you have long hair, keep a hairband nearby in case you want to get hair out your face. You may also want to tie it up if you get too hot.

Phone Charger – you can’t run out of battery just as your baby turns up!

Plastic Bag – clothes may get soiled or dirty so keep these separate from everything else. Or bring clothes that you don’t mind throwing away, although you may want to keep them for sentiment.

Towel – just in case you need a clean-up or to mop a sweaty brow with.

Slip-on shoes – get on the bed, get off the bed… walk around, squat, get back on the bed, get off the bed… you may be restless and wander around a lot. If you’re constantly battling to get shoes on or need help putting them on, this can be frustrating for you and your other half. Flip-flops are also a good option.

 

Post-labour

Dressing gown – Ah, the height of comfort! Many women find that having their own dressing gown makes them feel more comfortable. It also makes it easier to cover up soiled clothes and visit other areas of the hospital if needed whilst saving your modesty.

Slippers – once you’ve given birth, you’ll be tired and all you’ll want is something cosy on your feet when you walk around.

Maternity sanitary pads – the hospital will have sanitary pads on hand but it’ll be like having a bulky pillow stuffed down there. Taking your own will give you more comfort and you’ll need them as you’ll experience lochia, which is a discharge of blood, bacteria and uterus lining that’s especially heavy in the first few days after you give birth. This may continue for up to 2 months after birth, although it will eventually turn pinkish and more watery. You may also have problems knowing when you need to go to the toilet so go regularly, even if you don’t feel like you need to, to avoid leaks. Bring more pads than you think you’ll need.

Breast-feeding / nursing bras – these have clips so you can easily breast-feed discreetly. Bring two or three.

Breast pads – regardless of whether you’re breast-feeding, your breasts will be producing colostrum which is a yellowish liquid and to avoid embarrassment or discomfort, have breast-pads to hand.

Breast-feeding wear – if you’re going to breast-feed then pack clothes which are loose fitting or have front-opening sections

Pants – bring pants that you don’t mind throwing away as these may become soiled after birth due to additional discharges. Make sure they’re also big, especially if you’re having a Caesarean so they won’t rub up against your wound.

Towel – you’ll need this, trust us.

Toiletries – bring your toothbrush, toothpaste and a hairbrush, and any other toiletries or creams you may need.

Pyjamas – particularly front-opening ones so you can breast-feed. You never know when you’ll get out for prepare for all occasions.

Eye mask & earplugs – just in case you need to stay on the ward, these will help you get a better night’s sleep as it can be light and noisy.

 

For the Baby

Sleepsuits & vests – bring two or three as you’ll be surprised at how many you’ll be needing. It’ll also keep baby warm when you take him or her home.

Baby blanket – the hospital will most likely be warm but it may be chilly outside.

Nappies – make sure you’re stocked up with these – your newborn can go through 12 a day. 12!

Muslin squares – your baby will regurgitate milk (also known as posseting) and these are best for mopping it up.

A pair of socks – keep baby’s feet warm!

A hat or two – babies aren’t so good at regulating their own body temperature and most heat is lost through their head so keep them warm with a little hat.

A going-home outfit – what is your baby going to wear for his or her first trip home? Choose something that’s easy to put on and take off, such as an all-in-one bodysuit.

Jacket or snowsuit – this is only needed if you’re taking your baby home during winter.

Baby car seat – many hospitals won’t let you leave if you are travelling home by car (even if it’s a taxi).

 

We also spoke to a few mums who shared their favourite hospital bag items:

“My husband bought me a new robe before H was born and to have that on in the hospital was lovely because although I felt shattered and yucky I still felt a bit glam! We were in hospital for a week and Rich could only be there during the day, so to be able to wrap the robe around me at night also made me feel a little bit less sad! I also took nice drinks with me – I wanted Ribena, not yucky water!” ~ Julia from Bird on a Bookshelf

 

“Both my babies were summer births and I had a small water and lavender spray I'd made which was both calming and refreshing in and out of the hospital. I also took big Primark pants (which helped with my C-Section scar) and which were, frankly, just comfy! Having nice looking PJs that were comfortable too, helped make things nicer. I’d advise ones with buttons so breast-feeding is easier. ~ Melanie Gale, digital specialist

 

I took gallons of cold coconut water with me and a music playlist which was HOURS long, with noise-cancelling headphones so I could block everything else out. I had bought magazines but I couldn’t concentrate on those once I got into hospital. Bringing tonnes of fresh snacks and supplies for myself and my husband helped, as did encouraging my other half to nap, stay hydrated and take short walks – you’ll need your partner to be on form! Massive knickers are a must and a pretty but comfy outfit for the next day makes everything so much nicer. ~ Alexia, illustrator

 

-TEN- Sound Skincare Science supports mums and babies during and after pregnancy.

Are you a mum with some top tips for Hospital Bag items? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.