Wether you are a first time mum or seasoned pro this guide to hospital bags is a must read. Pop a comment below if you've found something else that you think is essential.
I admit I had no idea what I'd need when I had Harper and had no clue where to look to get some advice, all the lists I found were VERY American. I also didn't want to over pack, turns out I seriously underpacked. I also asked my customers what their must haves were.
- Comfortable clothes. I lived in leggings, feeding bra and robe for easy access. Then just chucked on a hoodie to head home. If you plan on feeding then the easier the access the better. You don't want to be fighting with breastfeeding clothing while you are learning the ropes. A robe and bra is also great for skin on skin in those early days
- Loose underwear, your belly doesn't magically shrink overnight so make sure it's big enough to fit some belly in it plus the awesome surfboards that they call post partum pads. I've also seen people recommend disposable incontinence underwear if you want to go down that road.
- Your own toiletries. That first shower after labour is possibly one of the best showers of your life, made even better by using your own shampoo and body wash. I like to shout myself a new scent bodywash from lush especially for this shower. There's nothing like feeling fresh and clean.
- A long phone charger, extension cord or decent power bank. Chances are you're either going to be inundated with well wishes from family and friends or taking pictures and videos of every moment possible. So grab yourself an extra long charging cable or 2m extension cord. Don't forget an extra for your birthing partners phone too, they don't need to be stealing yours.
- Lip balm and hand cream. There's nothing more drying than the hospital ventilation system. You're going to need lip balm and hand cream, even if you don't normally use them at home. This might be a great time to try out one of those many hand creams you've been given as gifts over the years.
- Nipple cream. Thise first days of feeding are brutal! Getting ahead with a decent nipple cream is essential. I personally used the nude alchemist nipple nectar this time. Found here
- Snacks. Labour and birth is exhausting and let's face it hospital food sucks! And they also don't provide snacks. With all the covid restrictions it's also harder to get food in once you are enjoying your new little bundle. So pack some snacks, enough for you and your support person. Things like muesli bars, dried fruit, lollies / chocolate, bliss balls and even lactation cookies are great and easy options. Others have also suggested those coffee sachets if you are into them.
- A wheat bag, hot water bottle or instant heat packs. Those after pains aren't fun and heat can help. Bring along something easy to heat up to use where you need.
- Socks or slippers. Especially if you get cold feet! Also much nicer for walking around on the hospital floor.
- A water bottle. Or decent smoothie cup. I'm planning on using my Montii waterbottle during labour as I love ice cold water. My sister used her Montii smoothie cup when she had her daughter and said the straw was great for easy access to water and because it's insulated it also kept her water cold.
- A haakaa pump. These can be super helpful if your baby isn't quite getting enough or if you end up with strong let down. I wouldn't call this one an essential for your hospital bag but definitely an essential to have when you get home. Add a bottle or freezer bags to this to pop the milk into. It's likely that you won't have a huge supply in those first days, but this will definitely be handy if you end up in hospital for longer.
- Ural sachets and Peri/empty bottle for the burn while peeing.
- Also, kiwi crush or other preferred stool softeners to help with pooping. I also find it really helpful to hold a warm wet flannel on your vaginal area during those first few poops to avoid the feeling of your insides falling out.
- I haven't personally tried them, but I have heard people really rate belly wraps or src recovery shorts to help hold everything together and make you feel more supported after birth.
Definitely check with your midwife as to what they provide for baby as our birthing center provides gowns, swaddles, cloth (old-school) nappies etc. So, we didn't put Harper into her own clothes for over 24 hours. Whereas when we had Daisy in Dunedin Hospital, they provided next to nothing, thankfully we had been warned and I went prepared. Although we were in a bit longer than I expected and I started to get low on nappies for her.
- Pacifiers if you want to try using them. Or just want to have the option there.
- A couple of outfits in both new born and 0-3m sizing as it's hard to tell what baby will fit when they are born. Keep them simple as there will be poo namis and vomit moments.
- Baby socks and mittens. Got to keep those extremities warm.
- Birth announcement props. If you've invested in one of those special disc's to fill out, don't forget to pop it in the bag with a pen to fill it out
- Swaddles. These could be the traditional flat wraps or something like the love to dream or mum to mum swaddles. You will need to experiment with what baby likes and doesn't like.
- Wipes and nappies, especially if these aren't provided. You will also need to have your own nappy to take baby home in. Remember new borns poop a LOT so I recommend taking a whole pack with you to make sure you have plenty.
- Also if you aren't wanting to breastfeed have a chat to your midwife about what you will need to take in preparation for bottle feeding. And get as much advice as possible about advocating for yourself and also stopping your milk from coming in. Also remember you are able to change your mind about your feeding choice at ANY time. It is not worth your mental health, nothing is.
This list is not exhaustive and there may be some things that I haven't thought of or have forgotten about so let me know below of there's something I should add to my list. Also keep an eye out for my blog about what I'm thinking of putting together for my home birth.