For a lot of women, the whole packing of the hospital bag/s is a symbolic ritual that means you have FINALLY almost reached the end of your pregnancy and are ready to meet the beautiful little human you have been growing for the last 10 months. For others, it could look like a state of mad panic when labour starts earlier than expected or symbolise a ‘holy shit I’m not ready’ moment.
I like to be organised, anally so. So for me, the thought of going into labour (or doing anything for that matter) without being thoroughly prepared is daunting and stressful. Having said that, I didn’t manage to pack my bags this time around until I reached 38 weeks – which totally could of lead to both of the above (mad panic and holy shit i’m not ready!!!). Luckily, our little lady knew what was best for her Mumma and has waited long enough for me to get my stuff sorted!
I’m a little ‘high needs’ (in all aspects of life really) when it comes to my hospital stay and packing my bags, which is why I pack three (yes THREE – labour, baby + mumma). Please bare in mind they all serve a different purpose; Labour Bag – It is a lot easier on yourself (& your husband) if you have only what you need during labour in one ‘smaller’ sized bag. Rather than having your husband/partner/support person hauling both yourself and a massive suitcase / overnight bag into the labour room, then digging through said overnight bag to find your bits and pieces while your dealing with contractions and becoming increasingly frustrated because he ‘can’t find the god damn labour spray’ – it’s easier to have essential items all located in the one bag. This bag serves its purpose – it’s there for labour, then palmed off back to the car after ! Then you have the super cute Baby/Nappy Bag; storing all baby’s essential items for the first few days post birth. And Finally – the Mumma Bag; pretty much if you are anything like me you are the best god damn over packer EVER.. So you will have everything you need to travel around Europe for 3 weeks without doing any laundry, in this bag! These last two bags stayed in the car (along with my precious arrow pillow) until we are situated back in our room post birth.
• Fully charged camera – self explanatory really.
• Headphones – whether it is to escape someone else’s screaming, your husbands annoying snoring or to get in the zone / relax to music.
• Protein Balls / Energy Balls / Muesli Bars – to keep up your energy levels during labour or to give you a boost after Bub is born – some hospital kitchens are closed in the night so food won’t be available (my OB prefers I don’t eat during labour but I’ll be starving afterwards – these will be handy!)
• Water Bottle – it’s important to stay hydrated.
• Labour Spray & Essential Oils – they smell amazing, have a calming effect, and can help make the room smell less ‘sterile’ and hospital like.
• Lip Balm – hospital air conditioning can be really drying
• Coins / Wallet – this one is mainly for the husband – think vending machines & snacks!
• Headband / Spare hair ties – whether you’re in the bath, shower or on the bed – the last thing you want is hair all up in your face. From Zion Ladies Turban $16 www.fromzion.com.au
Protein Balls, Labour Spray, Lip Balm & Drink Bottle are included in The Bump Box ‘The Birth Essentials Box’ $135 from www.the-bumpbox.com.au
** I didn’t include any clothing items as I prefer to just use the hospital gown – it can get messy, I don’t need to be worrying about having to try and remove stains from my fave dressing gown / pjs. I would recommend a black crop top / sports bra though – handy for in the bath if you’re worried about maintaining any dignity that may be left. **
• Baby Bag – Claudine and Ash ‘The Havana’ $495 from www.claudineandash.com
• Baby Clothes – hospital air temperatures are unpredictable; I like to have 2-3 full piece onesies, 4 singlet/t-shirt suits & a cute going home outfit. Obviously the amount you pack will be dependent on your length of stay. As a general rule I have 1 piece per day/night, with an additional singlet per day.
Bonnie & Harlo Bow www.bonnieharlo.bigcartel.com,
Jarnipers Bonnet www.jarnipers.bigcartel.com
• Swaddles – the hospital will provide you with some for your time there – however it’s cute to have some nice photos with fancier ones. Chasing Stella $45 from www.chasingstella.bigcartel.com
• Nipple Shields + Breast pads + Nipple Cream: even if you don’t intend on breastfeeding I would recommend packing these anyways – you may change your mind. You more than likely won’t actually need the breast pads for a few days – when your milk comes in – but better safe than sorry. Nipple Cream (I’m using Basik Organics Nipple Balm) this will save your life! Trust me! Avent Reusable Breast Pads & Avent Nipple Shields – all good chemists & baby stores.
• Dummy / Pacifier – whether you are super anti dummy or not, I would pack one ‘just in case’. It may very well be the sanity saver you are screaming for at 3am! Natural Rubber Soother $8.95
• Baby Book – for first hand & feet prints (if your hospital do them), plus you may want to write important info & birth story straight away! Forever3paperie Boho Baby Book $38.95 from www.forever3.bigcartel.com
• Wrap / Carrier – most hospitals prefer baby is kept in Bassinette when moving around the room / ward – however you may get a little sneaky baby wearing opportunity in here and there! Chekoh ‘Cove’ Baby Wrap – $95 available from www.chekoh.com
• Baby bath Essentials – avoid the nasties that *may* be given/used at first bath by bringing your own. Basik Organics Baby Travel Pack $56 from www.basikorganics.com.au
• Milestone Cards – whether it be the ‘welcome to the world’ details or the ‘one day old’ pic.. These cards are handy to record special memories both in writing and in images. My Little Milestone Cards $39.95 from www.mylittlemilestones.com
** Our hospital supplies Nappies & Wipes for the duration of our stay, hence why we don’t pack any.
• Black Underwear – 2 pieces per day/night. A mixture of both high waisted (in case of csection), and normal.
• Maternity Bras – 1 per day/night should suffice
• Maternity Singlets – 1 per day. I personally prefer these over Maternity Bras (buy the ones with the built in bras) as they hug & give a bit of extra support to your tummy post birth – helping you feel like everything is being sucked back in.
• Loose Shirts – 1 per day. I wear these over the top of the maternity singlet when visitors arrive.
• Pj Pants – If it is cooler weather and you wear long ones – I would recommend buying a cheap pair from Kmart (if you require an epidural, most hospitals have a standard procedure that a catheter stays in over night – it is really hard to wear long pants with a catheter so one leg in the pants may need to be cut – hence a cheap pair).
• Going home outfit – something a little fancier than Pjs – incase you want a few nice family photos outside the hospital to pop in the baby book or keep as a memory!
• Open front cardigan – aircon can get quite cool in hospital
• Tinted Moisturiser & Mascara – something easy to pop on and help you feel a bit fresh, especially if you are expecting some visitors (or the unexpected ones!)
• Phone & Camera Charger
• Deodorant & Travel Perfume
• Socks (although you may be given compression socks to help with feet swelling post birth)
• Thongs / Flip Flops / Jandals – especially useful for showering
• Any additional toiletries that your hospital doesn’t supply e.g shampoo, conditioner, body wash, moisturiser etc.
** Our hospital supplies Maternity Pads for during our stay.
And lastly, don’t forget to pack a positive attitude. We are made for this! Birth can be a very unpredictable event from start to finish, I personally try not to have too much of a concrete plan – as this can lead to disappointment. The main goal is a healthy mum & baby.
Lots of Love & Positive birthing vibes!