It’s nearly your due date and your gorgeous new born baby will soon be in your arms. There’s so much to get prepared, ready for their arrival, including your hospital bag! It’s best to be prepared and pack your bag before you are due, just in case you go into labour sooner than expected, remember, most babies are born between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy! and if nothing else, do you need an excuse to coo over all those gorgeous tiny baby sleepsuits and the accessories you’ve bought?!
So what do you need to pack?
We asked 400 mothers what they would most recommend when packing a hospital bag! Their first suggestion was to take two bags, one for you and one for baby. When we asked what to put in them with, here is what they said:
- Sleepsuits – It may be worth packing a few sleepsuits in your hospital bag, and a couple in different sizes. Tiny baby is for babies up to 5lb and first size up to 7.5lb. You may want to pack a 0-3 months, but usually, first size accommodates new-borns despite the tag of ‘up to 7.5lb’.
- Nappies – This goes without saying, the minute your baby is born he or she will start needing nappies. Take enough to last around two days- approximately 10 nappies. If you need to stay in longer, you can always have more brought to you.
- Comfortable clothes – You’ll want to be as comfortable as possible during your stay on the maternity ward, those high-waisted jeans and skimpy underwear are gone (at least for now). Loose, soft material works best, look for items with elasticated waists. Oh and PS- it’s totally acceptable to wear your pyjamas all day when you have just had a baby!
- Maternity pads – The bigger the better; blood loss is likely to be much heavier than a normal period, at least for the first few days. Straight after birth, you won’t be able to use tampons due to the possible risk of infection- not to mention the discomfort!
- Lots of underwear – Time to get those Bridget’s out in preparation for after your baby is born! Maternity pads are much longer and thicker than standard sanitary towels, and you’ll need space to accommodate them. Opt for high waisted, too, just in case you give birth via caesarian section- you don’t want to have your elasticated pants rubbing on the fresh wound… yikes!
- Baby vests – Depending on the time of year your baby is born and the climate, vests have a few different uses. If it’s a nice hot summer, a vest and a blanket may stop baby overheating- especially in that scorching hot car on the ride home. However, if it’s cold, then it’s good to layer up your newborn! We recommend a vest, sleepsuit and a light blanket during your hospital stay. If you are ever worried about your baby’s temperature, always consult a midwife, they will be happy to help!
- Clean baby blanket – Your baby will need this blanket for its overnight stay and for the journey home! Look for breathable fabrics, so baby doesn’t overheat.
- Baby hat – These hats help keep baby warm after birth and regulate their temperature. They won’t need to wear them for long though, in fact, babies shouldn’t wear hats indoors- expect for those first few hours after birth. Talk to your midwife about appropriate clothing before you leave the hospital.
- Mobile phone charger – To keep your chosen friends and family up to date with your new delivery! Oh, and so your phone won’t lose charge when you’re taking all those cute pictures!
- Cash – Maybe one for dad-to-be or your birth partner to remember, but cash for drinks and snacks, and hospital parking, is essential. If you’re on the antenatal ward, it’s unlikely dad will be fed, so he will need to go and purchase food elsewhere during your stay.
- Formula – If for whatever reason you have decided that you don’t want to breastfeed, then you will have to provide your own formula as the NHS no longer distributes formula, unless in an emergency; you can buy sterile packs of your chosen brand, ready to be used in hospital.
- Scratch mittens – Those little nails are like razor blades on such soft skin, scratch mitts are soft, cotton gloves that slip over tiny balled up hands. However, if you’re feeling savvy, some sleepsuits come with integrated scratch mitts, which are not only convenient but much less likely to get lost!
- Muslin cloths – For catching those spills and dribbles! Muslin cloths are one of the most useful purchases you will ever make for your first years as a parent. Big ones double up as swaddling blankets, too!
- Cotton wool – We recommend you use cotton wool and water to clean your baby’s bottom, to begin with. Newborns have extremely sensitive skin, and some don’t tolerate the chemicals in wet wipes. There are several brands of sensitive-friendly wet wipes, however, like these Water Wipes, chemical free and super convenient.
- Lip balm – Gas & Air really dries you out!
- Cardigans – Again this is weather depending. If it’s cold your baby will need a cardigan over their sleep suit, plus it gives nana a good reason to get knitting!
- Breast pads – These will catch any runaway milk, which, if you’re still in the hospital when your milk comes in, might be a lot!
- Slippers – Think super comfortable; you’ll want to be as relaxed as possible after labour, and nothing says relaxation like happy feet.
- Toiletry bag – fill it with a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner, a hairbrush and don’t forget your make up (if you want to take it!).
- Coming home outfits for yourself and baby – Coming home with baby is a life-changing event, and one that you’ll want to remember. Your outfit doesn’t have to be designer, you don’t need to be back in your pre-pregnancy jeans, this is a moment for you. Even if you wear your pyjamas home, make sure you feel comfortable and ask someone to snap a pic of you and baby, all ready to go, in their car seat.
Make sure dad to be, or your birth partner, has a small bag of their own- with their phone, camera, charger, wallet and a fresh pair of undies and socks, in case it’s a long night!
Be inspired by one super-organised mum-to-be’s perfect hospital packing HERE!