As your due date draws closer, you will want to prepare and ensure you have things in order — including gathering everything you need to pack in your hospital bag, ready for giving birth! As well as adding the essentials to your birthing hospital bag, it’s important to keep yourself in mind, too. You’re going to need comfy clothes and toiletries during your hospital stay. As for when is best to start packing, a good rule of thumb is to prepare your pre-birth hospital bag between weeks 35 and 37 of your pregnancy, just in case you go into labour before your due date.
If you are unsure where to begin when packing a hospital bag for giving birth, we’ve put together a handy birthing hospital-bag checklist, ready for you to tick off and be fully prepared!
The Birthing Hospital-Bag Checklist
Your Birth Plan
An important part of giving birth is your birthing plan, so you might want a few copies ready in your hospital bag — one for your doctor, one for the midwife and one to keep for yourself. Everyone involved should have a copy of this, so bringing extras could be useful.
Don’t forget to bring:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hairbrush and hair ties
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Face wipes
- Lip balm.
You will want to be comfortable during your stay in hospital. Bring a few pairs of comfortable trousers and loose t-shirts to wear. Vest tops are good for breastfeeding, as well. Keep your feet cosy and warm with slipper socks. Your feet might also be swollen, so bring comfy footwear such as slip-on sandals or flip-flops, ready to wear when it’s time to go home.
Along with your comfy clothing arsenal, bringing your own dressing gown is one of the top recommendations among mothers.
As you prepare to start breastfeeding, you’ll want to pack supplies. Stock up on nursing bras, tops and nipple cream to be ready for it.
A Going-Home Outfit
You’ll want a fresh outfit for you when it’s time to head home. Consider the weather when choosing what to pack.
Your baby will also need something to go home in! Since you don’t know what baby’s actual size will be, we recommend bringing a couple of organic cotton baby clothes in different sizes, just in case.
Cotton Baby Blanket
As well as soft baby clothes for your little one to travel home in, you will want a warm blanket for the ride and for cosy sleep. As newborn babies cannot regulate their body temperature, a cotton cellular blanket is the safest option.
Pillows and blankets
It might also be a good idea to bring a warm blanket for yourself. Hospitals provide pillows and blankets, but they aren’t the cosiest. Bringing your own from home will keep you warm and comfy during your stay.
Many mothers say that adult disposable pants are the way to go for post-partum recovery. They are more secure and are said to be more comfortable. You can always bring maternity pads with you if you prefer.
Having a birthing playlist is part of many women’s birthing plans. Be sure to grab a little portable speaker so you can enjoy soothing or emotional songs during labour. Another top tip is to pack your birthing playlists with a wide variety of songs, so you don’t listen to the same tracks on repeat.
As well as needing your phone to start your birthing playlist, you may end up using your phone a lot to take pictures, too, so make sure you pack a charger. This ensures you can keep your phone charged up and ready to capture those precious moments. It could also be worth investing in a second charger to keep in the birthing hospital bag, in case you need to rush out of the door once the contractions start. Another top tip is to buy a longer-than-usual phone-charging cable as outlets are usually far away from hospital beds.
Why not start making and recording memories right away? Bringing your baby book to the hospital will allow you to start filling in pages with footprints and other mementoes so you can look back on the very first moments of your journey.
For this one, you should consult with your doctor on what you can and cannot have. If you’re cleared to eat, bring some of your favourite snacks to eat during the early parts of labour. It could also be a good idea to add a couple of drinks if you think you might want something other than water to keep you hydrated.
If you’re being induced, you might be waiting a while. Having something to read will help pass the time. Books will also be a good way to stay occupied if you have to stay in the hospital for some time after the birth.
Although not possible to fit in your bag, it could be helpful to bring part of your baby car seat with you as you first enter the hospital. Of course, this would have been installed into the car before your due date, but bringing in the detachable part when you get to hospital will save you the extra trip to the car. It is good to note that hospitals won’t let you take your baby home unless you have it already installed.
So there we have it! You’re ready to compile your pre-birth hospital bag. You and baby will need supplies to get through the first few days, and bringing comforting items to make you feel more at home will make this time a little less stressful. After you pack the essentials, leave room for some items just for you — perhaps some relaxing essential oils or a sleep mask, as these comforts could make all the difference once you’re in hospital.