What to pack…

…IN YOUR HOSPITAL BAG

This one’s for my soon-to-be-mama-grubs out there. If you know any, make sure you share this with them! When it came to thinking about hospital bags, I got quite excited. And then I felt a bit overwhelmed – it was all becoming a bit too real. And it was really confronting; it was actually going to happen. This baby was going to come out one way or another! Yip, I’d kinda buried my head in the sand for the past 35 weeks or so; concentrating on the pregnancy and then having a baby afterwards. Can I eat feta cheese or not? What type of cot and pram do we need? I’d missed out a crucial step – actually having a baby.

I’d never thought about the birth and the hospital, and everything that goes along with it, until I really had too. And that was when our antenatal class teacher suggested we get our hospital bags sorted. I picked up some good tips during that class on what to pack, and I’d asked around a few close friends who were seasoned pros at this.

I guess it depends what sort of person you are as to whether or not this applies to those having home-births. If it were me? I would want to have a bag set aside for everything I’d need, even if I was staying at home. I had my grub at a hospital, so what I may suggest in this post will exclude extra towels or whatever else you might need for a home-birth.

First things first. I would suggest having two bags actually. One smaller one that has the most important things in it (we will call this, “labour bag”) and a second bag that’s more of a suitcase (we will call this “hospital bag”). Think of this one as more of a “going away for three days” type suitcase. In most cases, you’ll be staying in either hospital or an after-birth care facility for a few days post-delivery. The main reason for having two bags is that you may need to grab the smaller bag as you rush through the hospital doors fully dilated (yes, this can actually happen even if it’s your first, trust me! But my labour story is for another day…) The second bag can then stay in the car and come up once little grub has arrived.

baby feet in hospital
The best part is meeting your little bundle and marvelling at how tiny their fingers and toes are!

The key thing to think about when packing these bags is what makes you comfortable? Do you have a favourite pair of track-pants you lounge around in on Sundays? Do you live in your dressing gown in the evenings? Do you have a candle you light when taking a bath to relax? If the answer to any of these is yes, then bring these things! One other thing I needed after only one day in the hospital, was a breastfeeding pillow. I didn’t have one yet as I didn’t know how I’d get on with breastfeeding, but honestly this will help your ability to breastfeed more easily in the hospital – their pillows don’t cut it. Oh and… definitely take your OWN pillow!

I’ll share with you exactly what I packed in my bags (even though I didn’t get to use any of my stress balls or lavender oil during labour – I was straight in and grub was straight out!) and I was very comfortable during my stay in hospital. Note, I never made it to Birth Care (you never know how your delivery will go), so don’t rely on your after-birth facility to provide things you’ll need.

Labour Bag:

2 x foam stress balls (from the $2 store) | 1 x face cloth | 1 x hand towel | Lavender essential oil (the idea here was that hubby would run the hand towel under hot water with lavender oil and put that on my back or belly) | Snacks (chocolate, nuts, Cookie Time bumper bars) and a lime flavoured pump bottle (my antenatal teacher suggested a flavoured water as you might not feel like plain water) | Ipod with a small blue-tooth speaker | Sudoku book and pen | Lip balm (your lips will get dry!) | Hair ties | Breast pads and maternity pads | Toothbrush and toothpaste | Postpartum spray (for that sensitive area. This I made myself and is so nice! I used 10 – 12 drops each of calendula and lavender oil and 4 drops of clary sage oil, mixed in with 30ml of water. Keep this in the fridge and chuck it in the bag when you’re leaving) | Togs or a bikini (if you don’t feel like going completely naked in the water, if you have that option) | Underwear including a thick pair of socks (your feet can get really cold) | 1 pair of track-pants | Maternity/breastfeeding bra | A t-shirt | Full bodysuit, a long-sleeved onesie and a cardigan for grub.

Hospital Bag:

Baby book | Many pairs of granny undies (I bought some larger sized ‘bikini’ style underwear from the Warehouse – amazing!) | 3 – 4 maternity bras | 2 x track-pants or loose fitting pants | 4 x Breastmates clip-on-cami’s (honestly, I LIVED in these things for 6 months. They meant I could wear all my normal clothes without buying special breastfeeding tops. You can lift your top up without exposing your belly as you’ve got a singlet!) | 3 lose fitting tops | Dressing gown | Toiletries (body wash, facewash, moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner, mascara, foundation and many more pads!) | Slippers or comfortable shoes | 4 full bodysuits for grub, 4 long-sleeved onesies, a beanie, socks, cardigan, 2 x swaddles, a blanket or two for the car and a “going-home” outfit if you have one.

Oh, and one KEY tip is this: don’t take any really cute outfits to the hospital for your little one. Colostrum stains! Big time! If I did it again, I’d take onesies that I didn’t mind if they got ruined.

Do you guys have any other ‘must have’s’? I’d be interested to know!

PS. My bag is a Budu baby bag and I love it. It’ll turn in to a weekend getaway bag when we have the money and time to do that! It was a splash out when I found out I was pregnant (our journey wasn’t easy, perhaps more on that later) and I do not regret it. Go on, treat yourself.

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