Most people recommend that you have your hospital packed by the time you are 36 weeks pregnant. As well as being something positive you can do to help yourself get ready for your delivery, it’s also best to be like a boy scout: prepared. After 36 weeks you don’t know when your baby will arrive, and you don’t want to be caught out!
Lots of people have different ideas about what is best to pack in your hospital bag: and most people say that packed at least a couple of things that they definitely didn’t need. But there are some essentials you will need, both for yourself and your baby. Here are the basics you should definitely pack in your hospital bag:
Your birth plan and maternity notes. These are essential, so make sure you remind your birth partner to double check you have these before you go flying out of the door to the hospital!
Games and magazines. These will help to fill the time whilst your waiting: don’t forget your copy of gurgle magazine!
A going-home outfit. You'll need loose comfortable clothes to wear while you're in hospital and for the journey home. It will take a while for your tummy to go down, so you'll be still wearing maternity clothes when you come home - sorry!
Nursing bras, breast pads, and maternity pads. These are the least glamorous items you’ll pack for yourself, but the most essential!
Two nightshirts or T-shirts. Pack one for labouring in, and one to wear afterwards. Front-opening shirts are useful in the early days of breastfeeding.
Toiletries You’ll need towels, shower gel, a hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste. Basically everything you’ll need to help yourself feel more human after the labour. If you feel you’ll also need your make up back feel free to pack it, although most mums report leaving it in the bottom of the bag, so they could spend more time cooing over their baby!
For your baby
A car seat. Most hospitals now won’t let you leave without one, so even if you haven’t chosen your nursery furniture yet, or picked a pram, it’s essential that you buy your car seat now.
Nappies. Yes, no sooner have you got your breath back from the exhilaration of the birth, it’s time to hit earth with a bump. Your first nappy change! Which will quickly be followed by your second, and third, until you feel like a nappy changing machine!
Cotton wool/cotton soft sheets. We don’t want to disillusion you, but nappy changes can be messy. Take cotton wool or cotton sheets to help make the job a little easier.
Clothes. You will need an outfit for the journey home, and two or three sleep suits and vests for their stay in the hospital. Depending on the weather you may also want to pack a jacket or snowsuit and a hat.
A baby blanket. Wrap your baby up in their very first blanket whilst they’re in the hospital, then use it to ensure they stay warm for their journey home.
For your birth partner
Snacks and drinks: Often labour can take a long time, and you don’t want your birth partner to have to leave your side because he/she is hungry or needs a drink. Pack plenty of snacks to keep energy levels up during the whole process.
Digital camera or camcorder: You don’t want to miss the chance to record those first precious moments of your baby’s life, so don’t leave you camera at home!
Your address book: Make sure your birth partner has all of the important numbers they will need to tell your nearest and dearest about your new arrival. You don’t want to offend anyone by missing them out, or worse, not be able to tell your mum because you don’t have her number!
What did you pack in your hospital bag? Have we left anything out that you packed and found essential? Or is there anything on the list you don’t think a mum-to-be would need? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.