Packing your hospital bag is one of the most exciting part of your preparation for childbirth. For me personally, this was when I really felt that I’m super close to meeting my baby.
However, it could be overwhelming to pack your hospital bag especially for a first-time mama. Usually, we tend to overpack for things that we think would be useful but really they won’t be.
Based on my experience, here are the items that are most useful to have in your hospital bag.
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1) Labour clothes: Anticipate that labour would be long, so pack some comfy pyjamas and slippers/socks. You will be walking a lot in the hallways of the hospital or bouncing off a birthing ball to naturally induce your labour — so make sure you bring your most comfortable set of pjs and footwear.
2) After-labour clothes: The rule of thumb is you’d stay in the hospital for 24 hours following a vaginal birth and up to 3 days following a c-section. After labour, you’d want to be super comfy. Some mamas prefer to use their maternity leggings and shirt. For me, I just used another set of comfy pyjamas and socks. Also make sure your after-labour shirt is breastfeeding-friendly.
3) Going-home outfit: In my opinion, taking baby home for the first time is momentous. You might want to put a little more thought on what you’re going-home outfit would be. Some moms like to wear statement shirts or even get matching outfits with their newborn. When it comes to bottoms though, I suggest to just go with your maternity leggings. Whatever you decide, make sure you wear something comfy. Remember you’re still recovering from your wounds!
4) Phone and charger: Like I said, anticipate that labour would be long. Make sure you have your phone in hand in case you need to contact somebody or when it’s time to finally announce your baby’s arrival!
5) Hair tie: Imagine doing an hour of workout, you’re drenched in sweat, your hair all over your face. Now imagine that hour times, say, 10 or 20? Yep. Pretty disgusting. So pack a hair tie in your hospital bag!
6) Toiletries: This is pretty straight forward. Must-include items for both mom and birth support partner are toothbrush and toothpaste, facial wash, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, loofah, deodorant, and body lotion.
You can skip bringing the following items because the hospital will likely provide them: maxi pads, peri bottle, stool softener, nipple cream, pain reliever, towels and blankets. Some mamas also like to bring their favorite pillow but I personally skipped this one and I was still able to get some sleep (after I got the epidural). I got interrupted sleep though because the medical staff had to check how I was progressing in my labour.
For Dad or Birth Support Partner:
1) In-hospital clothes: Bring comfortable clothes and footwear as you would be walking with mama-to-be in the hallways of the hospital a lot. She would rely on you for physical, as well as mental, support so make sure you are in the best state to provide comfort and encouragement.
2) Going-home outfit: Like I said, I think taking baby home for the first time is a moment to cherish. Put some thought into what you’d like to wear. Don’t hesitate to get matching outfits!
3) Snacks and energy drink: You will need to stay in active and alert mode. Mama will draw strength from you so make sure that you will last the entire duration of labour if not longer. Bring high protein snacks such as a protein bar. Also bring energy drink so you don’t pass out at the first sight of blood!
4) Something to pass the time like an e-reader, a book or playing cards
1) Clothes: Bring baby’s in-hospital as well as a going home outfit. Sleepers with hands and feet covers would be perfect! Bring a few others if you have a planned c-section because mama and baby will stay longer in hospital.
2) Carseat: Spend some time looking for a good carseat that would suit you and your family. For me, I was gifted the Chicco Bravo Travel System which works well for me and my baby because it has a carseat that is attachable to the stroller and is very easy to install and uninstall.
3) A portable sound machine, preferably one that plays lullabies and nature sounds.
That’s really all you need to bring for baby. I brought other things for my baby but I didn’t end up using them. Rather, I used the stuff from the hospital. These items were:
- A newborn hat
- Swaddle/receiving blankets
- Baby wash and shampoo
And that’s it! These are exciting times so enjoy every second of it! Best wishes, mama!