Hospital bag... where do I begin?
YAY! If you’re thinking about packing your hospital bag you must be nearing the most exciting time in your pregnancy, the birth of the little human you've been baking all these months.
If your wondering where to begin, don’t worry you're not alone. I had my first son at 21, and it's safe to say I was totally clueless!
Weather you are a first time Mum or an experienced Mum it's always tricky to know what you're going to need during your hospital stay. Every single mothers stay will be different, depending on where you birth and how you birth.
I’ve had two cesarean births myself, one, an emergency in the beautiful Frances Perry Private where I stayed for 5 days, and one scheduled cesarean in Werribee public hospital where I stayed for 3 days. Both births and experiences were completely different, but equally as wonderful.
You want to start thinking about what you're going to pack around the 30 week mark and definitely have everything ready to go by 35-38 weeks.
I recommend bringing two bags along, one for you and one for bub. This way your items are well organised and if, like me you aren't up to getting out of bed for several hours afterwards, other people can find things for bub easily for you.
Weather or not you decide you're going to breastfeed pack a sterile bottle, and formula of your choice. (my hospitals supplied formula, but if planning on bottle feeding you will probably have a brand picked out already). I didn’t pack a bottle for either of my births, luckily with my first he had no problem latching and I had no issues with my milk coming in. The only issue I did have was the excruciating painful nipples, which no one ever warned me about, ( so here is your warning). Frances Perry had breastfeeding classes each day in the hospital, which were soooo incredibly helpful for me, I kind of wish this was something all hospitals offered as I learnt sooooo much from them being a first time Mum with no clue!
For my second son's birth, he was whisked off to the special care unit after he was born where he spent the first two nights. I had to have my partner rush around and get me bottles, a hospital safe sterilizer (Werribee was strict on the type of sterilizer you could use) and formula, as my milk never came in being away from him for the first night. Although the bottle was not needed right away as he was fed through a syringe, I would still pack one if I ever go back for number 3, just to save any hassle. A breast pump is also a good idea if you have one.
Soothers, neither one of my boys took to the dummy as much as I tried, but I still packed one newborn soother just in case.
Newborn nappies. Some hospitals will supply you these, but i always bought my own along. You’ll be amazed at how many nappies your wee little babe will go through, bring a whole bag!
Wipes, water wipes are a good option, or any wipes of your choice, or you can always use a warm gentle wash cloth if you prefer. This is what i used for the first few weeks as the thought of a cold wipe on bubbies little bum wasn't nice.
Singlets, 3 or 4 singlets in newborn and 000. You might have a rough idea of how big baby will be when it is born from your ultrasound measurements, but they are not always accurate and you could be surprised with a teeny bub or a large bub. Both of my boys wore newborn for a few weeks but depending what brand you have, the sizes may vary slightly so a few in each size is a good idea
Onesies- comfortable freshly washed onesies are essential. Keep in mind that Onesies with zips are much more convenient for nightly nappy changes. Again pack two sizes newborn and 000.
Beanies, a snug beanie to keep bubs head cosy is essential as babies lose heat from their heads. Your hospital may supply you a beanie for after baby is born.
Swaddles, the hospital will probably provide you with the typical hospital blanket to wrap baby up in, having your own gorgeous swaddle is always a good idea though, especially if you're planning on doing a little arrival photo, a matching swaddle and beanie make cute announcement pics.
Make sure you bring along your ‘Im here’ ‘hello’ or introduction milestone cards if you have one.
Nappy cream, or a natural oil, there are soooo many to choose from these days. A handy hint is to put a little oil or cream on bubbies little toosh before they do that first poop as it will be super sticky and can be hard to clean off, the oil or cream will help with that.
The going home outfit. Choose a cute little outfit to bring your new babe home in, when they grow out of this outfit make sure you pack it up in their baby box or baby keepsakes bundle, along with their hospital bands, umbilical peg and other little birth keepsakes you might want to hold on to. My first boy came home in a navy long sleeve onesie with a matching beanie, tiny patterned tights and white fluffy booties. For my second son, I simply had had him come home in a basic white onesie (sorry second child). I have both of these tiny outfits stored away in our keepsake boxes. So special.
Lucky last, don’t forget to have the car seat installed, if you haven’t organised that yet, go do it now!
Your bag is just as important as babies, you want to feel as comfortable as you can during your stay.
A few of my own personal must haves include, slippers or cosy socks, and a cosy dressing gown. I really feel the cold so even in summer, the hospital can feel cool to me with air conditioning. Button up pyjamas, comfortable loungewear. If you are planning on breastfeeding, breast pads and maternity bras (in a size or two bigger than what you are currently wearing, you won’t know your boobs when that milk comes in). Nipple balm, a breast pump if you have one handy but definitely not essential! Comfortable undies lots and lots of these. Maternity pads, two packets!
I can only speak from c section experiences, but it took me several hours to be able to get up and about on my own after my babies so I was very much looking forward to that first shower and freshen up, I always pack a really lovely body wash, some nice moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner, any other cosmetic products you use daily, lip balm, deodorant and of course a toothbrush and toothpaste!
LOTS of snacks/treats, and a water bottle! I don’t know if this is a breastfeeding thing or a after birth thing but I was soooooo hungry! I would save the little cheese and crackers and little cookies the hospital gave out and would eat them through the night while I was up feeding ! I did not pack any snacks apart from red frogs and I wish someone warned me about how hungry I would be!
And lastly, all your other important things, like your phone, phone charger, medicare card, health insurance details, and all your other important pregnancy and related medical documents.
So to quickly recap, a list of my own personal must haves:
- Bottles/ Formula /breast pump
- Newborn Soother
- 1 Bag Newborn nappies
- 1 Packet of wipes (or a few wash cloths)
- 2-3 newborn singlets
- 2-3 000 Singlets
- 2-3 Newborn Onesies
- 2-3 000 Onesies
- 2 beanies
- 2-3 Swaddles
- 1 baby blanket
- Nappy Rash cream/natural oil for the little toosh
- Milestone cards
- Is your car seat installed?
- 1 pair of slippers
- 1 dressing gown
- 2-3 Button up pyjamas
- 2-3 comfortable day wear outfits (comfortable elastic waistband pants, loose fitting tops)
- 2-3 Maternity Bras
- 100 comfortable undies
- Nipple balm
- Body wash
- Body Moisturiser
- Lip balm
- 1 box of breast pads
- 1-2 packets of maternity pads
- Snacks and water bottle
- Medicare card/credit card/ health insurance
- All your important pregnancy/medical documents
- Phone and phone charger
If you partner is lucky enough to be able to stay with you don’t forget to have them pack a small bag also. My partner was able to stay the entire time for my first babe, but wasn’t aloud to stay for my second. This obviously depends on your hospital and weather or not you have other children to take care of.
Some women also like to bring along a birth plan, speakers and any other bits and pieces they think they might need or like during the labour process.
Remember this is just my own personal experience of cesarean deliveries in two different hospitals, and my list of items I needed and would pack again. You may not need this much or you may need more. Some Mumma's even like to head home the same day. I enjoyed my extra stay in the hospital and was in no rush to get home.
GOODLUCK and happy packing !