Packing a hospital bag is something that websites, baby books, midwives, and friends start mentioning as soon as you hit the 30 week mark. That obviously doesn’t mean you start packing it then. Not if you’re me. Instead you leave it another 6 weeks and realise when the midwife informs you that you are nearly term and considering the constant braxton hicks it might be worth throwing some things in a bag.
But what do you actually need to take with you? There are lists and guidelines everywhere online, but a lot of them seem a bit excessive to me. So here’s what’s in my hospital bag, not that I ever advise following in my footsteps…
(I’m planning on breastfeeding, if you are planning to bottle feed you’ll obviously need to pack all the equipment that goes with that.)
Packing for a new person who doesn’t exist yet is a weird one, I don’t know what they like yet, I’ve never met them! Yet it’s somewhat essential to take a few bits and pieces for the tiny person, I imagine you’d be judged if you didn’t.
- Nappies – I’ve packed a whole packet, it’s just easier
- Wipes – no, I’m not taking cotton wool to use with water. I’ve got Water Wipes. It’s easier and I never knew we weren’t supposed to use wipes last time and she was all good.
- Vests – three
- Sleepsuits – three
- Muslins – three
- Car seat – even if you don’t drive most hospitals won’t let you leave without one.
Shockingly child birth isn’t a particularly sexy experience, and the aftermath is even less so. The supplies needed for recovery are pretty vile unfortunately, but they are necessary.
- Maternity pads – don’t fall for the thin, dainty looking ones. Get the biggest, fattest, longest ones you can find. Remember when you were shown a sanitary towel for the first time in primary school and it was thicker than your winter duvet? You need something like that. Trust me.
- Paper pants – it just makes things easier in the first 24 hours.
- Breast pads – yep, your fanny needs to be surrounded by something absorbent, and so do your boobs. Fucking wonderful. Take loads, prepare for the worst.
- Ice packs – YEP! I’d seen a few mums talking about the joy of some icy cold soothing down there post-ring of fire, and was intrigued. Then got some freebies in our gift bag at Baby Show. You know damn well I’ll be tucking these in at all times.
- MATERNITY NOTES – don’t bloody forget these.
One of the most essential things for labour and the aftermath is some bits for you. Your comfort is essential and a few little bits and pieces can make the world of difference.
- Shampoo and conditioner – get something nice. I’m taking minis because I happened to find my favourite in travel size. You could also decant your favourite into empty travel bottles. Obviously, I’m sure you could work that out yourself…
- Body wash – same as above. Something moisturising but not super scented, think of you fanny.
- Hair brush
- Dry shampoo – I am not human without dry shampoo. Even if I just washed my hair I need a spritz to stop myself looking like a spaniel.
- Toothbrush/tooth paste/mouth wash – I know people who have forgotten this in the past. I would have the biggest tantrum until somebody hand delivered me some Listerine.
- Face wipes – I never, ever use face wipes, they make me feel icky and they don’t clean your damn face. However, I’m not packing my five step facial cleansing system for post-baby so I’m accepting help from the devil.
- Clothes – pants (not your favourites, this is where Primark comes into its own), nursing bras, sleep bra (a sleep bra has literally changed my life as a larger busted laydeee, your newly full udders will thank you), the comfiest pjs you own, socks (weirdly your feet can get really cold), an old t-shirt or nightie for labour, something to wear home (leggings and a hoodie, don’t even try with jeans).
- LIP BALM – gas and air is horrible
- Straws – all I wanted throughout my first labour was water, straws make it easier
- Lucozade Sport (other brands of isotonic drink are available, they’re minging though)
- Cereal bars/oat bars
- People always say dressing gown and slippers, but I’m an oversized hoodie and Birkenstocks kinda gal
- Your pregnancy pillow – you will thank me
- Make up bag – yep. Don’t care how you feel about that. I want to be able to whack some concealer under my eyes and fill a quick brow. If you’re a full-faced for all photos kinda gal, you do you, boo.
There is nothing exciting about a hospital bag, I’d much rather be packing fifteen bikinis and trying to work out how to fit all of my toiletries into a sandwich bag, but do try and get it done sooner rather than later. I kept putting it off because I needed the bag for other things…this is why I’m a terrible adult.
Any other must-have items that you couldn’t labour without? Let me know!