What to pack in your hospital bag
Only about 4% of babies are born on their due date … and that’s just the beginning of the unpredictability that is motherhood. So while (in most cases) you can’t prepare for the exact date your baby will arrive, you can be prepared in other ways. And you can start by packing your hospital bag nice and early, around the beginning of your third trimester.
As to what to pack in your hospital bag, here are the essentials.
What to pack for labour
First up, it’s a good idea to pack a separate bag you’ll take with you into the delivery suite so you can easily access whatever you need in a hurry, without having to rifle through all the rest of your luggage.
Here’s what to pack in your hospital bag specifically for labour:
- Any paperwork the hospital requires – you’ll probably already have some forms to take with you. Remember your Medicare card too.
- Your birth plan, if you have one. You should talk about it with your midwife when you arrive at the hospital so they are on the same page as you.
- Anything to help personalise the room, such as music, essential oils, massage oils etc. Be sure to check with your hospital in advance if you are allowed to take things like essential oil burners, or if there is somewhere you will be able to plug in your music.
- An old nightdress, tshirt, or clothes to wear while you are in labour. There is a good chance that it will get messy, so don’t pack your best clothes (and there’s also the chance you’ll strip them all off entirely!).
- Socks – your feet can get quite cold during labour.
- Snacks to keep you – and your partner – going during labour. High energy foods that are easy to eat such as bananas, nuts and wholegrain crackers are ideal.
- Something to keep you occupied if labour is progressing slowly, such as a book or magazine.
- Fresh clothes for after you have delivered your baby. Make sure they are loose, comfortable clothes, ideally with breastfeeding access.
- Camera/phone and charger to capture all those beautiful newborn moments!
- Change of clothes for your partner – you could be in labour for quite some time, so they might need a change of clothes to freshen up.
- If you’re planning a water birth – or to spend time in the water during labour – your partner may want to join you so pack swimmers or something they can wear in the water. You may also be asked to bring a small fish net or strainer in case anything needs to be scooped up from the pool (okay, we’re talking about poo).
What to pack for after labour
Depending on your hospital and how you deliver your baby, you might only be staying in hospital for one night, or you may be staying for four or five. Check in advance and pack enough of each item for your stay. Here’s what to pack:
- Toiletries including shampoo, soap and makeup if you think you want to wear it. Be sure to remember moisturiser and body lotion as your skin can get dry in the hospital.
- Casual clothes to wear during the day, with an outfit for the day you leave to take baby home.
- Your breast pump if you have one. This isn’t essential but if you plan to use one, it can be handy to get the midwives at the hospital to show you how to use it.
- Maternity bras and breast pads. When your milk comes in, you will certainly need them!
- Pyjamas, slippers and a robe for walking around the hospital.
- Maternity pads and underwear. When you are choosing which undies to take, think big. Tip: you can buy mesh disposable undies, which are great for the first couple of days postpartum.
What to pack for your baby
In some hospitals you don’t need to take anything for baby as it’s all provided; in others, you need to take everything for baby. Check early on so you know what you need to plan for. If you do need to take everything, here is what you will need:
- Nappies and baby wipes. Take 1-2 packets of wipes and about 10 disposable nappies per day.
- Clothes – you will need singlets and onesies.
- Swaddle/wraps/bunny rugs – these are to wrap your baby in to keep them warm. The midwives will be able to teach you how to wrap your baby (and don’t worry, it does get easier!).
- An outfit for baby to wear when you leave the hospital. This isn’t essential but it’s such a special moment that you might want something special for baby to wear.
- While it’s not technically something for your hospital bag, you will need to have a baby capsule or car seat for getting baby home. Get it installed in your car well in advance of your due date so you don’t get caught out!
So now your bags are packed, all that’s left to do is wait for that precious bundle of yours to arrive!