Your Hospital Bag Checklist
How are you feeling? As you’re drawing closer to your due date have you started counting down the months, weeks or days yet? I remember marking my sister’s due date in big letters on my calendar - I might have been slightly excited our family was expecting a new niece or nephew! If you are over 32 weeks pregnant, you’ve probably already had the question - “Is your hospital bag packed yet?”
But seriously guys, is your hospital bag packed!? If it is, great! Have you definitely got everything you need? Or have you actually packed too much? Whether you have already packed your bag yet or not, take a look at the checklist below. This list has been compiled from many discussions with parents who have already been through the whole hospital birth thing - their tips, tricks and thoughts on certain items: their must haves and their ‘don’t even bother’ items. I hope this helps!
Mums - you are going to be doing a huge amount of work while your body goes through labour. You will need sustenance! So take a mixture of high energy food, healthy foods and your favourite foods!
Think about taking some:
Nuts and dried fruit
Small crackers or breakfast bars
Slippers and Flip Flops
Your feet need to be comfortable. But they also need to be warm! One parent once mentioned to me that they took a pair of cheap flip flops with them. They weren’t their normal flip flops and they were also one or two sizes bigger than her normal shoe size. She sure was glad that she’d picked up a cheap pair of flip flops when on one of her laps around the maternity ward, while trying to help her labour increase, her waters broke. All over her flip flops. It wasn’t one of those dramatic events that you so regularly see in the movies - but it certainly wasn’t clean and tidy either!
So, pick up a pair of cheap flip flops to have in your hospital bag for when the time comes. They will be much comfier than the hospital shoes you sometimes get and easier to slip on and off too. Slippers are a great shout too - sometimes you just want something fluffy surrounding your feet!
So if you are anything like me, you will have your phone on you most of the time. And when you’re bored and waiting around, even more so! Plus, you will definitely want your phone on you when baby is born so that you can take a gazillion photos of your new bundle of joy and your new growing family to send to family and friends. So if this is the case, make sure you have your phone charger with you. Even with phone batteries lasting longer now-a-days, if you are on your phone constantly, or your labour takes a long time, you may be pushing it close. While it might seem like a rather obvious thing, I’ve spoken to quite a large number of mums who have forgotten their phone charger and had to ask a family member to bring it to the hospital for them. So maybe look into getting a new (extra long!) cable that stays in your hospital bag by the door so that you don’t have to remember to pick it up from beside your bed.
PJs and Dressing Gown
Having things like your own comfy clothes can help you feel comfortable, calmer and safe. For me, that would definitely be my PJs and my dressing gown. Plus, do you really want to have to go for a walk around the maternity ward in the finest hospital gown? You and your body are undertaking a huge but exciting task of bringing your new baby into the world, so do it in style! In your most comfortable, most chilled out outfits of clothing. Whether this is your PJs or your favourite pair of leggings or jogging bottoms. You deserve to be comfy!
Your Birth Plan
While you know what you have planned, you know what you have discussed and you know what you have written - hospital shifts change. The midwives you meet when you first enter the birthing centre may not be the same ones who actually deliver your baby. So having your birth plan written down clearly will help each midwife who helps you know what you would like and need without you needing to answer lots of questions - or worse, the same question lots of times!
A Going Home Outfit
In my mind, this should be at the top of your list! While you are in the hospital, your body is going to change a significant amount. While you might not be going home in your skinny tight jeans just yet, you more than likely will not want to go home in whatever outfit you entered the hospital in. So pack some nice clothes, a hair brush and some make up (if you wear it) to help yourself feel good about yourself when you leave with your new family.
A Bin Liner or Incontinence Pad
While this might sound gross, I’m sorry but it’s reality! You have to get to the hospital somehow - unless you are lucky enough to live right next door or across the road. But if you have to get in the car, think about putting something on your seat before you get in. The last thing you want to have to deal with is having to get your car valeted when you’ve just given birth.
A couple of don’t bothers
Large multiples of everything! Your baby is not going to make their way through 3 or 4 outfits. Take only one or two. Most mums I speak to have taken 2 baby grows (normally only used one - if that) and one going home outfit. One mum told me that she took a small suitcase filled with baby clothes, nappies, baby grows, a sleep suit - everything that she would need to go away for a few days on holiday basically - and she only opened it once around about an hour before they left the hospital, to get her baby’s going home outfit.
Non-nursing style tops. Don’t worry about packing these. You may use them when you are home but it’s just one extra possibly unnecessary thing to carry when you pack your hospital bag.
And finally, don’t forget to take your Newborn Photographer’s phone number and email. If you’ve booked a Newborn Photography session you will want to contact your photographer soon after your baby has been born, so that they can get you into their studio diary while your baby is still under 10 days old. I know that I tell all my newborn clients that I would love them to ring or text me within their first 24-48 hours of baby being born … and you can’t do that if you don’t have our contact details!
If you haven’t booked your Newborn Photography Experience yet, don’t worry! There’s still time. Drop me an email or phone call now and we can have a chat about your newborn session and get your due date booked into our studio diary.
I hope this was helpful for you - Happy Packing!