What really are your hospital bag essentials? Well, after having four children, I learnt something new each time I packed my hospital bag and more importantly, what I forgot each time!
Here I share with you not every great finer detail of your hospital bag but what us regular goers call “the must haves”, the “cannot live without”, the “DO NOT FORGET” hospital bag essentials for you and baby when you go into labour and dash off in a hurry to the hospital or midwife unit.
I’m not going to include every single item you might or might not need for you and baby in your hospital bag essentials checklist, that’s for another day but I am going to share with you the little things that really matter! The things that one mother passes down to another but you never find in a book, the things that seem so obvious that you overlook them until it’s too late.
Hospital bag essentials checklist
Here are the most essential items you will need for your hospital bag when that magical but scary moment of going to the hospital or midwife unit, to give birth finally happens. They are nothing out of the ordinary but experience shows they are “must-haves” . After, I’ll explain each one in a little more detail;
- Plastic bag
- Dark underwear
- Phone charger
- Hairbrush/hair ties & dry shampoo
- Snacks/drinks for after
- Comfy going home clothes
A plastic bag, bin liner, anything like that for your dirty stuff! Child birth is messy and mucky and so are the hours/days after it too, so you don’t want to be putting all your dirty clothing, underwear etc in with clean clothing and baby items. A few carrier bags to pop in your laundry makes it much easier to send home with your partner to wash if you are in for a longer stay too. Top of my hospital bag essentials list.
No point in packing your thong to wear after giving birth, it will not be comfortable (yes, I do know someone who did this, very optimistic I think!), you will want big comfy knickers still but get them in dark colours. They will wash better and you will feel less conscious if you feel like you are leaking heavy. If you haven’t opted for disposable knickers or don’t want the hassle of washing the underwear you have, another option is buying cheap knickers from somewhere like Primark and just throw them away.
No-one really forgets their phone on a hospital bag essentials list but soo many forget the charger! If you are like me you only charge your phone at night when it’s nearly dead, so arriving at the unit in the late afternoon means by the following morning you will have a dead phone. So, don’t forget the charger, a portable charger will work too but maybe not suitable for a longer stay.
A good pair of comfy slippers makes all the difference when walking around the ward during labour. You will definitely want them for after the birth too when you need to get up and be mobile with the baby too. Remember though, if you need to wear the compression socks, a slipper like a flip flop will be tricky to wear and make sure there is grip on the sole too!
Hairbrush/hair ties and dry shampoo
Now, I’m not one for a face of make up but I do like my hair to be done nicely, so when I did forget my hairbrush I had to send my husband to the nearest shop and get whatever he could find., which wasn’t great. During labour you want your hair up and out of the way but after you’ll want to feel a bit more less disheveled, so a quick hair brush will do the trick. Following that and lack of hair implements available to you, a good dry shampoo is a must for those first few days as well in your hospital bag.
Snacks and drinks for after
Everyone tells you to eat before labour, eat during labour and many hospitals provide a round of tea and toast for after the birth but everyone forgets to tell you how ravenous you’ll be a couple of hours later. I gave birth to my second son at 5.37 PM and the hospital were great with my tea and toast after but at 2 AM when he was feeding and I had been feeding him for a while, I was starving, ABSOLUTELY starving. The hospital kitchens were closed as was the cafe and breakfast was not until at least 7AM, thankfully I had a sandwich left over from earlier to keep me going but think ahead. Pack something for during the night after giving birth, you can thank me later.
Comfortable going home clothes
This item should be near the top of your priority list when you pack your hospital bag essentials and do NOT leave it for your other half to pack either! Firstly, you need to realise the importance of the word comfortable. I’m not talking about being stylish or catwalk ready or anything like that , I’m talking about getting from A-B being as presentable as you can in clothing you don’t need to think about or with it digging in, so no packing your pre-pregnancy clothes just yet. You will want clothing that you can pull on-off easily with no buttons, zips etc on the bottom half. Personally I like the comfort feeling of leggings around my tummy after giving birth, they help to hold it all in, everything goes down when I need to go to the toilet and back up again after (skirts have to be lifted up, knickers down, see its the little things lol). For a top, a simple cami vest with a cardigan or soft jacket works great. Easy to feed with no fussy buttons and fastenings either. This type of outfit would work well for c-sections too as the waist for the leggings is usually higher than the scar line. Do NOT, I repeat do not let your partner pack or bring up home clothes for you, it will end in disaster. They usually pick up the first thing in the wardrobe regardless of what it is or pick out their favourite outfit they haven’t seen you in for a while, forgetting the reason why was pregnancy and it probably doesn’t fit anymore. So make sure you pack it yourself or deliver specific detailed instructions to them, its for this reason alone I will always pack my hospital bag essentials myself.
Nothing is completely lost if you do forget anything! Shops are open, friends rally around and your partner is there too, so don’t panic, enjoy the experience and above all, welcome your little one into the world safely.