Packing a hospital bag with all the essentials needed for you and your baby should be one of the most exciting aspects of the third trimester as it leaves you feeling one step closer to meeting your little bundle of joy. But for me, during both pregnancies it was one of those tasks that I kept putting off, possibly because it made it all seem far too real but also I wasn’t really sure what to put in (even second time around!).
I find packing stressful at the best of times, don’t even get me started on packing for holidays, but preparing for labour is a whole different ball game as there are so many unknowns. How long will we have to stay in hospital for? Will I have a natural birth as planned or an emergency c-section? How big will my baby be? the list is endless and makes packing a real challenge.
There are a plethora of ‘hospital bag checklists’ out there at the moment on mummy blogs and parenting websites, including this video by Aptaclub, but I’ve decided to throw my own personal list into the mix as well. So without further ado, here is the Hello Baby Blog Hospital Bag Checklist:
It’s important to point out that hospitals are not hotels and if you turn up to the labour ward with five suitcases the midwives aren’t going to be very impressed! I found that having three (small) bags works best; a bag for me, a bag for baby and an extra bag to keep in the car with additional clothes etc. should you need to stay in hospital longer than expected. I used my lovely Cath Kidston overnight bag for my essentials and packed the Babymel Cara changing bag with all my baby essentials.
To have to hand:
- Maternity notes (and birth plan)
- Lots of change for the car park – ask beforehand if your hospital sells car park passes that offer a cheaper rate for ladies in labour as many do.
Clothing for mummy:
- Swimwear for the birthing pool (if you are considering a water birth)
- Maternity / Nursing bras
- Knickers (either of the disposable variety or big comfy Bridget Jones-esque ones)
- Shirt (easy access if you are considering breastfeeding)
- Breastfeeding vests / t-shirts
- Hareem pants or similar comfy pants
- Nighties x 2 – ideally front opening – one to give birth in and one to wear afterwards so you look respectable in your photos!
- Flip flops / slippers – shoes that are comfy and easy to put on in case you are pacing the ward.
- Lightweight dressing gown
- Change of clothing for leaving the hospital (to fit at least a 4/5 month pregnant bump – I’m afraid your body doesn’t just ping back instantly!)
- Jumper (probably not needed as maternity wards are notoriously hot, but worth taking just in case!)
Food and Drink:
- Frozen drinks so they stay cool during labour – nicer than drinking room temp water!
- Cartons of juice / cordial
- Lucozade sport (it really does help!)
- Flapjacks / cereal bars / oaty biscuits – good for slow energy release
- Chocolate and jelly babies for an instant sugar hit!
- A little treat for afterwards?! Mini champagne?
- Peppermint tea bags – useful for cramps afterwards
- Food for your partner…
- Camera (and charger)
- Camcorder (and charger)
- Flannel to keep you cool during labour
- Books / Magazines / Games to entertain you both if you are waiting around!
- Pen and Paper
- Gift for your older child to make him/her feel special too – we bought Jack a scooter from Phoebe which he loved
- Phone (and charger)
- Bendy straws (makes drinking so much easier if you are lying flat. Sports drinks are also good for this)
- Water spray – e.g. Evian Facial Spray is really good for labour.
- Music player – phone/ipod/docks etc.. ideally with 2 pre-prepared playlist – one for energy and one for relaxation
- Antibacterial hand gel
- Dettol wipes for ward (I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to cleanliness!)
- Change of clothes for your partner in case he/she is in for the night too…
Travel sized miniatures of all your usual toiletries:
- Shower gel
- Make-up – so you can look uber glam in those all important first family photos!
- Make up remover
- Lip balm to prevent dry lips during labour – this is a common complaint if using gas and air.
- Hairbands / grips
- Maternity sanitary pads – I actually found the night time sanitary towels with wings were a lot more comfortable than actual maternity pads – those thick ones the hospital provides you with are so uncomfortable and massive!
- Breast pads – breastfeeding or not, there will most likely still be leakage when your milk comes in, so it’s best to be prepared.
- Nipple cream – it will become your best friend in the first few weeks if you are breastfeeding!
Items for Baby:
- Car seat for taking baby home – just don’t bring it into the hospital until you are ready to take your little one home and make sure you’ve practiced how to use it and fit it securely into your car.
- Newborn sized nappies
- Cotton wool balls for cleaning your baby
- Two or three babygrows – I always buy the babygrows with build in scratch mittens
- Two or three vests
- Baby blanket – Although hospitals are pretty toasty, your little one may need a blanket if it’s chilly outside when you leave.
- Muslin squares
- Coming home outfit
- Outdoor clothes such as a snowsuit and hat (seasonally appropriate of course!)
I hope you find this Checklist useful. I’ve tried to be as thorough as possible and included only items that I found useful for my labours.
In addition to this, I have teamed up with the lovely Aptaclub team to host a fantastic giveaway to win £100 John Lewis vouchers. For your chance to win, comment on this blog post, sharing your thoughts on what essentials would be in your hospital bag and then enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.
Full Ts&Cs are below.
Terms and conditions:
- Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Hello Baby Blog or Aptaclub.
- The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
- The prize draw starts at 12am on 18th September 2015 and closes at 12am on 30th September 2015.
- Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post and filling in the Rafflecopter widget. Entrants can gain bonus entries by visiting Hello Baby on facebook, @hellobabyblog on Twitter, tweeting about the giveaway, following @ on Twitter, visiting aptaclubuk on Facebook and then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post.
- The name of the winner will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
- Hello Baby Blog’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
- By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
- Hello Baby Blog reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
- Once the winner has been selected at random using Rafflecopter, I will inform Aptaclub of the winner’s name and address and they will then send on the prize. I’m sure this won’t happen but I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post or arriving late.
Disclaimer: This post has been written in conjunction with Aptaclub.