Some women are so organised that their hospital bag is packed before their baby bump has even appeared.
Others scramble to shove bits and pieces in a bag while breathing through contractions as they head to the hospital.
Whatever your organisational style, your hospital bag is a pretty important piece of luggage! So, other than PJ’s and undies, what do you actually need to put in it?
If baby brain has completely erased your mind or your panicked you’ve forgotten something important, fear not! Mum Central’s readers have answered the call and come up with the ultimate in hospital bag must haves. Here’s the 21 items you cannot leave home to have a baby without…
1. Dressing gown & slippers
Essential for a longer stay in hospital, you can’t go wrong with slippers and a dressing gown for those night feeds and little walks around the ward.
You’d think it would be obvious to pack these right? Probably, yes, but still easily forgotten. Hospitals generally supply these but its best to have some with you for peace of mind. Newborn size of course!
3. Moisturiser & lip balm
Heating and aircon can play havoc with your skin, especially as your body is going through a major hormonal shift. You’ll be pleased you packed your favourite lotions and potions to stop yourself from drying out.
4. Your own pillow
Sure, we all know that hospitals have pillows but if you have a particular one at home that you really like, take it with you. Your sleep is going to be scrappy so being comfortable when you do get some shut eye is essential.
5. Face wipes
Depending on what kind of birth you’ve had will determine how likely you are to get up to wash your face etc. Having a pack of facial wipes on hand (not baby ones) will keep you feeling fresh.
6. Toilet paper or toilet wipes
6. Toilet paper or toilet wipes
Another thing you’ll find in a hospital but unless you gave birth in the Hilton, the toilet paper might be a bit rough. Just think how grateful you’ll be when you use the lovely soft stuff after you’ve pushed a baby out. You’re welcome!
7. An empty squirty, sauce bottle
If you end up having stitches and you’re a bit tender down there you’ll be pleased to have read this little nugget of information; Squirt clean water on your nether regions as you pee to take the sting away. Once again…. You’re welcome!
8. Breastfeeding pillow
If you plan on feeding with a pillow it’s great to have it with you. The hospital lactation consultant can then use it as part of your routine to help get the hang of feeding.
If you can’t function without your daily caffeine hit or you’re a bit of a coffee snob, be sure to take your favourite blend with you. Nothing’s worse than a bad cuppa when you really, really want one!
10. An extension cord or super long phone charger
You might never think of this but your phone will most probably need charging after phoning and Facebooking your happy news to the world! Who’s to know how far the power point is from your bed!
11. Maternity pads and giant old lady undies
You might not know this but things can get a bit messy downstairs after you give birth. After 9 months without your monthly visitor, you might forget to pack some pads so call this a friendly reminder.
12. Eye mask
It’s never fully dark in a hospital so if you struggle to sleep with lights on you better pack an eye mask. It’s essential you get as much quality sleep as possible.
If you get swollen feet after giving birth (yup…I’ve been there) you might find your shoes and slippers don’t fit (yup…been there too) and so the only footwear that will suffice is a comfy pair of thongs. Trust me on this one! If you’re using a shared bathroom thongs can also be worn in the shower!
14. Loose clothing
Your body just isn’t your own straight after giving birth so you’ll be pleased you packed some loose, comfy trackies or a baggy dress to live in until you start to feel a bit more human again. Do not assume you’ll be back in your skinny jeans day one. Elastic waists are your new BFF.
You don’t know what time of day you’re going to give birth (or how) so there’s a strong chance you’ll miss a meal or two. With this in mind, it’s handy to have some tasty snacks tucked away for when you need them. Think crackers, muesli bars, fruit and some chocolate for when hunger strikes. Some rooms even have mini fridges, be sure to ask when you do your maternity tour.
16. Breast pads, nipple shields, nipple cream
Your nipples will get one hell of a shock when your baby starts sucking so take some breast pads to soothe them when they’re not in use as well as to soak up any milk leakage.
It’s easy to forget the basics when you’re focused on nappies and maternity bras. A hairbrush might not sound important but after a refreshing shower post-delivery you’ll be pleased you remembered one.
Hospital towels pretty much come in one size- not big enough! Pack your own bath sheet for extra comfort.
19. iPod or Mp3
Most hospitals will let you play music while you’re in labour so charge up your IPod and load it with some of your favourite tunes to help get you through.
20. Leggings or post birth support shorts
Once your baby is out and your bump has gone (or reduced in size at least) you might feel a bit weird. Leggings help you feel that you’re ‘holding everything in’ while you adjust to your post baby self.
21. Baby clothes
It sounds like a no brainer but you’ll be amazed how many women forget to pack baby clothes! Best pack a good few onesies as you don’t how long you’ll be in hospital for. Even if your hospital prefers you keep bubs in their gowns you’ll still need to take them home in something. Make it cute – you’re bound to take photos!
Oh, and the camera… don’t forget the camera! There you have it folks! The ultimate checklist for what to pack in your hospital bag. And one thing less to worry about as you prepare for bubs arrival. Now that’s all sorted, I suggest you make a cup of tea, put your feet up and take a load off; it might be the last chance you get for a while. Enjoy!