Packing that hospital bag suddenly makes the reality of having a baby very, very real. I went on my due date with my first, was hospitalised for 4 weeks with my second and 3 weeks early with my third. I knew I had to have that hospital bag packed from 35 weeks. My hospital stays were always longer than two days, and I think it's always good to pack a little extra where you can.
I have listed some of the things that I found super helpful pre and post labour and helped me feel comfortable and organised. Remember that parenting and birthing journeys are very much an individual experience, but hopefully you can find something within this list to help you out during this beautiful season of your life.
IN THE BAG
• 4 x sets of Tracksuit Pants - preferably dark colours. I bled heavily post birth and there is always the possibility of accidents or bleeds, so I always liked to have extras just to be on the safe side. I found cotton loungewear and all natural fibres the most comfortable and easier to breathe in while sleeping, feeding and cuddling the baby.
• 4 x Nursing Tanks - these are amazing and help adjust to feeding a newborn and learning about your new body.
• 6-8 pairs of Black Underwear - I loved the Bonds cotton undies, but looking back I would have loved to try the ModiBodi Period Underwear to help with heavy bleeding and help with the possibility of leakages.
• 1 x 'Nice Outfit' for a family photo, or for you to look and feel your best. I always have used to have a pair of what I called 'luxe loungewear' on hand to feel good, and l look back on those family photos with happy memories. I loved wearing our Chloe Knit Pants with a lovely, loose shirt like our Blake Shirt (breastfeeding friendly) and then a cardigan to throw over the top.
• 1 x Dressing Gown - perfect for throwing on and wrapping up in, it's why we designed our April Dressing Gown that little bit more special and it doubles as a lovely wrap cardigan.
• 1 x Pair of Shoes - Runners match perfectly with loungewear and a pair of white trainers goes with everything.
• 1 x Pair of Slippers - keep your toes safe from the cold of the hospital floor with an extra snuggly pair.
• 4 x Pairs of Socks - I always had freezing, cold feet post birth and socks were an absolute must, even with my summer baby.
• 2 x Maternity Bras - The more comfortable, the better. I took my bra off the first time round and woke up in incredible pain. I felt wearing a bra no wires and a super soft cup so much better the second and third time round as my milk came in.
• 5 x Sets of Washable Breast Pads - My milk normally came in on day three as I was leaving the hospital, these are essential.
• Ice and Heat Packs - I wish I knew about these the first time around, and luckily I found them for my second and third births. Boy did it help with the swelling and bruising, and the heat packs are great to reduce damage during childbirth. Packs like BodyICE are perfect for this.
• Face Wipes - makeup removing ones are great to help you feel a little more fresh, but baby wipes work wonders in a pinch.
• Toothpaste & Toothbrush
• Body Wash - something that smells beautiful and leaves you feeling good!
• Hairbrush & Hairties
• Basic Make Up
• Maternity Pads - I needed two packs of these.
• Nipple Balm - Use something natural, soothing and good for both you and your baby. We stock a beautiful balm by The Hermosa Co that also doubles as a lip balm.
• Dry Shampoo
• Shampoo & Conditioner
• Cleanser & Reusable Face Pads
• Supplements & Medication (if needed)
FOR THE BIRTH
I usually had everything together in the one bag, but third time around I had a sleeve of things I packed especially for the birthing room.
• Essential Oils - I am super sensitive to smell and always had essential oils in all my birthing rooms. The Calm Roll On by Willelaine Aromatherapy is a perfect option.
• Water Bottle
• Lollies - Barley sugars or jelly beans are great to chew or suck on during labour.
• Heat Pack - The BodyICE Perineum Strip is perfect.
• Phone & Phone Charger - Labour can go on for a long time, it's great to have a little distraction and something to capture all of the precious moments.
• Pillow - Bring your own! I can't stress how amazing it was to not sleep on hospital pillows, there's nothing like your own pillow.
• Camera - And all chargers in a camera bag with memory cards etc.
FOR THE BABY
Personally, this was my favourite bag to pack!
• 2 x Blankets - Always take an extra for sick babies. If you have a summer baby, maybe change these out to light cotton or muslin blankets.
• 4-5 Newborn Onesies - You'll probably use less, but its always helpful to have extra on hand incase. We had two winter babies and one summer baby, but even then we use onesies with sleeves because of the air-conditioning.
• Going Home Outfit - We all love taking some snaps leaving the hospital and a special outfit is perfect for this. Our full knitted bodysuits a little bit more special and super warm for winter bubbas.
• Newborn Dummies - Like the Natural Soother Company! We started with the round ones, and later found our kids didn't like the ortho dummies. Our kids also had stomach problems, so a dummy was a massive life saver.
• 1 packet of newborn nappies or cloth nappies.
• 1 x packet water based baby wipes.
• 3 x Muslin Cloths - I used these as bibs after feeding. They are my go to and their multi use abilities make them amazing.
• Booties - as small enough socks to stay on tiny feet.
• Baby Capsule - Not essential, as I didn't have a capsule with my eldest or middle child. We invested in one for our third child and it was one of the best purchases we ever made. Our little girl was in it for 12 months, she was a lot smaller then our boys and it was great with the older two being able to not disturb her sleep while in the car doing school drop offs and sport. Also make sure it's installed ahead of time so you're not doing it in the hospital carpark like we did!
Tips for baby clothes sizing: I've had small babies and extra large babies - babies that went into 0000, 000, 00000 straight from birth. My advice is to have a couple of varying sizes with you. We were told from an ultrasound the day before I gave birth that our middle child was small, and the next day he was born 10.5 pounds, so it never hurts to be over organised.
Everyone's birthing experience is individual and every parenting style is individual. These are things that helped me and hopefully sharing those will help you x