Whether you’re a new Mummy-to-be or a seasoned delivery ward Mama, getting your hospital bag packed is a must-do, at least from two to four weeks before your due date. It’s an easy thing to square away soonest, before the panic stations happen!
As to what kind of bag and what to put in it, there are some usual standards, several good-to-have and some extra or bonus items that you may wish to consider. Here’s the Hegen guide to packing your hospital bag.
1. Get a dedicated bag with different compartments
If you been seeing an obstetrician regularly or have signed up for a delivery package with a hospital, you may be given a hospital delivery bag. Most are pretty cute too and can be repurposed after as a diaper bag!
Otherwise, look for a roomy bag with plenty of space and compartments for the little bits and pieces that you might need to quickly grab or stash away in a pinch.
2. Delivery room needs
First, the obvious: you need to pack all the stuff that you may use during labour.
If you’re planning for a natural birth, the hours may be long. You might require snacks to sustain and nourish yourself. Pick easy to eat things like chilled or frozen grapes, trail mix or even M&Ms for a treat. You may also want to pack a heat pack to place on sore areas like your back or abdomen. A long sock filled with rice that you can microwave to heat up in the hospital also does the trick. We know some mums who pack a blow-up birthing ball, portable speaker to play whale music (or AC/DC) and an iPad to play funny cat videos during C-section.
A comfort pillow, essential oils or favourite cuddly toy to make you feel safe; these might all come in handy during the labour or actual delivery.
3. Things for a post-partum hospital stay
If you don’t wish to be caught dead in hospital gear, pack your own nighties to wear as well as socks (it can get cold at night and you won’t have a comforter) and a robe to get in and out of the shower. Your nighties should ideally have a front opening for to give baby easy access to your boobs if you’re planning to breastfeed. Nothing buttoned at the back or long t-shirt gowns.
Also remember to pack maternity bras, underwear, small towels and breast pads to catch leaking breastmilk. The hospital would provide maternity pads for your postpartum discharge but these can be very thick, old school style and not as comfortable as the ones you’re used to - so you may wish to bring your own. If you’re particular about the kind of toiletries you use, especially your skin care and facial products, pack those too! Some Mums bring make-up; hey you know you’ll be taking a lot of pictures!
If you’ll be receiving guests during your stay, you may wish to have a nursing cover or use some muslin cloths so that you can keep nursing during visits.
Don’t forget to have a fresh change of nursing-friendly clothes to wear on discharge day. You may not want to leave wearing the clothes you were admitted in! With that in mind, do stash some Ziploc or laundry bags to bring soiled clothes home.
Depending on how your breastfeeding goes, it might be useful to bring your Hegen manual breast pump, as well as a few containers should you require to feed and pump alternately.
4. Things for baby
All newborn stuff tend to be pretty tiny and so will not require much space in your bag!
Most good hospitals will provide basic baby gear like vests or pyjama tops, simple swaddle cloth and diapers. If you prefer to use only organic materials or your own seasoned baby gear, do bring your own. Pack a few sets depending on how long you think you’d be staying. Include long bottoms, socks, mittens and at least two swaddles and burp cloths. You can use small towels or have a few multiuse large-sized muslin cloths on standby.
If you have special baby care items that you’d prefer to use – such as organic bath, shampoo, diaper cream - instead of the hospital standards, do remember to pack them too. Other necessities include sterile cotton balls and cord spirit or spirit swab for baby’s bellybutton area.
Have a change of clothes for baby to wear on discharge day; could be a comfortable onesie or fresh top and bottom as well as a hat.
Having your hospital bag packed and ready is one of the most satisfying and easy things you can do as you nest and anticipate the big D-Day. We wish you all the best in the delivery room and after!