Hospital bag checklist – what to pack you and your baby

Hospital bag checklist – what to pack you and your baby

Posted by Lucy on 29th Mar 2024

Babies have their own unique timeline, with only 1 in 20 being born on their due date. It's wise to have your hospital bag prepared at least 3 weeks before the anticipated due date, ensuring you're fully equipped for any unexpected early arrivals. By planning, you can alleviate some stress and be ready for the exciting moment when your baby decides to make their grand entrance into the world.

What to pack for you

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Loose clothing: During labor, it is recommended to wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows for movement and breathability. Loose-fitting tops, sports bras, and soft cotton pajama bottoms are popular choices. Some women prefer a labor gown specifically designed for maternity or simply a large T-shirt and sweatpants. The key is to prioritize comfort, accessibility for medical monitoring, and the option to easily change if needed. It is also advisable to pack extra clothing options in your hospital bag in case of unexpected circumstances during labor.

Dressing gown and slippers: Including a dressing gown and slippers or flip-flops in your hospital bag is a practical and comfortable choice for labor and postpartum recovery. A cozy dressing gown can provide warmth and coverage, while slippers or flip-flops are convenient for walking around the hospital room and corridors. They are also hygienic options for trips to the shower, offering comfort and reducing the risk of slipping on wet floors. These items can enhance your overall comfort and ease during your hospital stay for childbirth.

Nightwear: Opting for front-opening or loose-fitting nightwear is ideal if you plan to breastfeed during your stay in the hospital after childbirth. Front-opening pajamas or nightgowns make nursing more convenient, allowing easier access for feeding and promoting comfort for both you and your baby. Loose-fitting nightwear also provides ample room for movement and airflow, helping you feel more relaxed and at ease during this significant time. Consider selecting nightwear that combines practicality with comfort to support your breastfeeding journey and postpartum recovery.

Three changes of comfortable clothes: Packing 3 changes of comfortable clothes in your hospital bag is a practical choice to ensure you have clean and cozy options during your stay for childbirth and recovery. Comfortable clothes such as loose-fitting tops, leggings, or pajama bottoms can help you feel more at ease and relaxed in the hospital environment. Remember to include outfits that are easy to put on and take off, as well as suitable for nursing if needed. Having multiple changes of clothes on hand can make it easier to stay fresh and comfortable as you navigate the process of labor, delivery, and postpartum care.

Socks: Don't forget to include a pair or two of cozy socks in your hospital bag for added comfort during labor and recovery. Hospitals can sometimes be chilly, so having warm socks to keep your feet cozy can make a big difference in how comfortable you feel during your stay. Opt for soft, non-slip socks to ensure your safety and comfort as you move around the hospital room or corridors. With breathable materials and a snug fit, socks can provide a little touch of home and warmth during this special and sometimes challenging time.

Five or six pairs of knickers: Bringing 5 to 6 pairs of comfortable underwear, preferably disposable ones, is a practical and hygienic choice for your hospital bag. Disposable underwear can be convenient during postpartum bleeding as they are easy to discard, saving you from worrying about staining or repeated washing. Opt for breathable, cotton-based disposable underwear for added comfort and to promote healing. Having a few extra pairs on hand can help you feel clean, dry, and more at ease during your hospital stay and the initial days after childbirth.

Two or three comfortable bras: Packing 2 to 3 comfortable bras, including nursing bras if you plan on breastfeeding, is a smart addition to your hospital bag. Nursing bras provide easy access for breastfeeding and offer additional support and comfort to sensitive breasts during this time. Look for seamless, soft, and breathable options to prevent discomfort or irritation. Bringing a few bras ensures that you have clean and comfortable choices as you adjust to postpartum body changes and nursing routine, making your hospital stay more manageable and ensuring optimal comfort and support during this special time.

Brest pads: Including breast pads in your hospital bag is a practical and essential item for breastfeeding mothers to manage leakage and keep clothes dry and clean. Disposable or reusable breast pads are available, and choosing the type that best suits your needs can help ensure comfort and convenience as you navigate the early days of breastfeeding. Placing breast pads inside your bra can prevent leaks and provide peace of mind, allowing you to focus on bonding with your baby without worrying about potential leakage. Having breast pads on hand ensures you are prepared and can manage any unexpected leakage while maintaining comfort and hygiene during your hospital stay and beyond.

Two packets of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads: Including 2 packets of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads in your hospital bag is a practical and essential step to prepare for postpartum bleeding. Maternity pads are designed to be more absorbent and comfortable than regular pads, making them ideal for managing the heavy flow that occurs after childbirth. Having an ample supply ensures you can stay clean, comfortable, and confident as your body heals in the days following delivery. It's advisable to opt for high-quality, super-absorbent pads to minimize leaks and discomfort, allowing you to focus on your recovery and bonding with your new baby.

Wash bag: Having a well-stocked wash bag with essentials like toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, soap, lip balm, deodorant, hair bands, hand sanitizer, body lotion, and any other personal care items you may need is crucial for maintaining hygiene and feeling fresh during your hospital stay. These items can help you feel more comfortable and prepared as you recover from childbirth and care for your new baby. Personal care items like lip balm, body lotion, and hand sanitizer can provide some added comfort and make a hospital stay feel less clinical. Having everything you need in one convenient bag ensures you always have easy access to these essentials, allowing you to focus on your recovery and well-being during this special time.

Eye mask: Bringing an eye mask with you to the hospital can be a helpful way to block out the bright lights on the ward and create a more conducive environment for sleep. Ensuring you get adequate rest is essential for your recovery and overall well-being during your stay, and an eye mask can be a simple yet effective tool to help you achieve this. By reducing visual stimuli and promoting darkness, an eye mask can signal to your body that it's time to rest, potentially enabling you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Additionally, using an eye mask can also provide a sense of privacy and comfort in a shared hospital setting.

Towels: Bringing your own towels to the hospital can provide a touch of home comfort and convenience during your stay. Hospital towels may be limited in size or quality, so having your preferred towels can enhance your postpartum experience. Plus, using your own towels ensures hygiene and a familiar feel, which can be soothing in an unfamiliar environment. Remember to pack a couple of towels, considering their versatility for various personal care needs during your time in the hospital.

Your own pillows: Bringing your own pillow to the hospital can offer you comfort and familiarity during your stay. Hospital pillows may not be as supportive or comfortable as your own, so having your pillow can help you relax, promote better sleep, and provide a sense of home while you recover. Just remember to label your pillow clearly to prevent mix-ups and consider using a pillowcase that is easy to distinguish from hospital linens to ensure it doesn't get mixed up with hospital bedding.

Healthy snacks, drinks: Having healthy snacks, drinks, and a water bottle with a straw can be beneficial during your hospital stay to keep you nourished, hydrated, and comfortable. Hospital food may not always meet your preferences or dietary needs, so having your snacks and drinks can provide a source of energy and comfort. Using a water bottle with a straw can make it easier to stay hydrated, especially if mobility is limited after childbirth. Consider packing non-perishable snacks like nuts, granola bars, or dried fruits for a quick and convenient option when hunger strikes.

Fan: Bringing a fan or water spray can be helpful in keeping you cool and comfortable during your hospital stay, especially if the room temperature is not to your liking. Having control over your comfort level by using a fan or water spray can make a significant difference in your overall well-being and help you relax and rest better in the hospital environment. Just ensure that the fan or water spray is approved for use in the hospital and won't disrupt any medical equipment or procedures.

Any medicine you’re taking: It is crucial to bring any medicines you are taking to the hospital, as it will ensure that your healthcare providers are aware of your current medications and can provide you with proper care. Having your medications on hand can also help prevent any potential mix-ups or delays in receiving your prescribed treatment while in the hospital. Be sure to pack them in their original containers with clear labels to easily identify them. Communication with your healthcare team about your medicines is essential for your safety and well-being during your hospital stay.

Books, magazines, music, podcasts: Bringing along books, magazines, podcasts, or music playlists can be a great way to help you relax and pass the time during your hospital stay. Engaging in activities that you enjoy can distract you from any discomfort or anxiety and can also provide a sense of normalcy and comfort in an unfamiliar environment. Whether you prefer to read, listen to music, or explore new podcasts, having these forms of entertainment readily available can help make your hospital stay more enjoyable and restful.

Phone and phone charger: Bringing your phone and a charger is essential during your hospital stay. Keeping your phone charged allows you to stay connected with loved ones, access important information, and entertain yourself. An extra-long charging cable or a battery pack can be useful in case power outlets are not easily accessible from your bed. Ensuring that your phone remains charged will provide you with a sense of security and convenience throughout your hospital stay.

A spare bag for washing: Having a spare bag for washing during your hospital stay can be incredibly helpful, as it allows you to keep your clean and dirty laundry separate and organized. This way, you can easily manage your clothing and ensure that it stays fresh and clean while you're in the hospital. A spare bag can also be useful if you need to transport any soiled or wet items back home. Keeping a spare bag handy is a simple yet practical way to maintain a sense of hygiene and organization during your hospital stay.

What to pack for your baby

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Bodysuits, vests, and sleepsuits: Pack bodysuits, vests, and sleepsuits for your hospital stay, as these comfortable clothing items are essential for keeping your baby cozy and warm. The soft fabric of bodysuits and sleepsuits will provide a gentle and snug fit for your little one, while vests can be layered underneath for added warmth. These versatile pieces are easy to dress and change, making them convenient for both you and your baby during your hospital stay. Be sure to pack a few extra sets in case of spills or accidents, ensuring that your baby stays comfortable and clean throughout your time at the hospital.

An outfit for going home in: Don't forget to pack an outfit for your baby to go home in, as this will be their first public appearance and a special moment for your family. Choose something comfortable, weather-appropriate, and easy to put on, such as a onesie, leggings, and a cozy hat. Consider the season and temperature outside to ensure your baby is dressed appropriately for the journey home. This outfit will not only keep your little one snug and stylish but also make for memorable photos to cherish for years to come.

Hat, scratch mittens, socks: Remember to pack a hat, scratch mittens, socks, or booties for your baby's hospital stay to keep them comfortable and protected. A hat will help regulate your baby's body temperature, scratch mittens will prevent them from accidentally scratching themselves, and socks or booties will keep their feet warm and cozy. These small but essential items will ensure your baby stays comfortable and safe while in the hospital, providing an extra layer of care and warmth during their early days of life.

Nappies: Be sure to pack an ample supply of nappies for your baby's hospital stay to ensure you have enough for changes throughout the day and night. Newborns typically go through multiple nappy changes each day, so having a sufficient supply will help you keep your little one clean, dry, and comfortable during their time in the hospital. Additionally, consider bringing some extra nappies in case your stay is extended or unexpected circumstances arise. Having enough nappies on hand will allow you to focus on caring for your newborn without worrying about running out of essential supplies.

Cotton wool or wipes: Don't forget to pack cotton wool or baby wipes for your hospital stay to keep your baby clean and fresh. Cotton wool is gentle on your newborn's delicate skin and can be used with water to clean their bottom during nappy changes. Baby wipes are also a convenient option for quick and easy clean-ups when water may not be readily available. Having both cotton wool and wipes on hand will allow you to maintain good hygiene practices for your baby while in the hospital, ensuring they are comfortable and well-cared for throughout their stay.

Muslin squares: Muslin squares are a versatile and handy item to pack for your hospital stay with your newborn. They can be used for a variety of purposes, such as wiping up spills, protecting your clothes while burping your baby, providing a clean surface for diaper changes, or even as a light blanket for your little one. Their soft and breathable fabric makes them gentle on your baby's skin, and their multi-functional nature ensures that they will come in handy during your time in the hospital. Having a few muslin squares packed in your hospital bag can make caring for your newborn more convenient and comfortable for both of you.

Car seat for the trip home: Bringing a car seat for the trip home from the hospital is essential to ensure the safety of your newborn. It is important to have a properly installed and appropriate car seat that meets safety standards for infants. Having a car seat ready before the baby arrives will give you peace of mind and ensure a smooth and safe journey home from the hospital. Remember to familiarize yourself with how to properly secure your baby in the car seat before the big day arrives.

A blanket or shawl: A blanket or shawl is a practical item to have when bringing your newborn home from the hospital. It can provide warmth and comfort for your baby during the car ride and help regulate their body temperature. Additionally, a blanket or shawl can be used for privacy while breastfeeding or for swaddling your baby if needed. Choosing a soft and breathable fabric will ensure your baby stays cozy and comfortable during the journey home.

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