The count down to D-day is on. And as the ‘before baby to-do list’ gets smaller and smaller there’s just one more (big) thing to think about.
Packing the hospital bag may seem like a daunting task, but it’s all about being prepared. To help, we’ve narrowed down the essentials to make delivery and the days after as comfortable as can be. From handy snacks for labour to cozy comforts for mumma bear and her cub – pack these things and you’ll thank us later.
Here are 50 items to take to hospital.
And not just any socks. Cashmere socks. When everything else feels completely foreign, small things like this make all the difference. Especially when pacing back and forth on the tiled birthing suite floor.
Plan on keeping the placenta? Pack an esky or container to carry it home in. If you’re not reusing the placenta, simply fill the esky with cold drinks and ice. There’s no thirst quite like those first few days of having a baby.
Babies are precious little things and despite everyone waiting in the wings for bubs arrival it’s their prerogative to take their time. Baby could arrive in 50 minutes, or over 24 hours. Your patience will pay off, we promise!
Because the hospital snack cart doesn’t come around quick enough. Keep energy levels up; morning, noon and night with a few of these ideal snacks for the delivery room.
5. Water bottle
Avoid cups or glasses that may be knocked over by bringing a water bottle from home to stay hydrated.
6. Tinted moisturiser
No one expects a new mum to look like a supermodel after giving birth. While a tinted moisturiser may not give back any sleep/energy from the past 48 hours, it is a simple way to look a little fresher for visitors and photos (without using makeup).
7. Extra clothing
Pack something clean and comfortable to slip into after delivery. And a special little something for that adorable first photo with baby-to-be. Things can get messy, so pack a few back-up options just in case.
8. Sense of humour
Take your sense of humour and leave any dignity at the door. Whatever happens in the birthing suite stays in the birthing suite, but we promise you’ll be giggling about it in years to come.
9. Heat pack
Pick up a few heat packs to pop when the pain starts. When it comes to naturally assisting with pain relief, they’re tip top! Some hospitals will supply these but it’s best to bring your own just in case.
Using a diffuser is an easy way to fill the hospital room with a calming smell and create a more comforting environment. Just be sure to check with the hospital first to ensure they are allowed.
11. Your own pillow
The hospital will provide plenty of pillows, but none will be as comfortable as your own from home. So bring it. During labour, give your neck a soft and familiar place to rest in between contractions. And if you have a caesarean, hold a pillow over your tummy when you need to sneeze or cough to reduce the pain. Handy!
12. Flameless candles
Turn off the harsh hospital lights and enjoy a more zen-like experience. Real candles are not permitted in the hospital room (for fire hazard purposes), but flameless candles are totally ok.
Save getting up and down to brush your teeth when visitors stop by keeping some chewy or mints handy for a quick freshen up.
14. TENS machine
TENS machines are designed to help alleviate the pain during labour by stimulating the nerves in the lower back. Buy your own portable one to plug in and use when needed. Just don’t lose sight of the remote!
Massage is one of the best ways to alleviate pain during labour. Pack a bottle of lotion to help keep your skin moist while your partner rubs your back, shoulders, and neck. It may be a long time before they willingly do it again.
Music can help shift focus and keep you calm under pressure. Swaying to music can also be a great way to ease bub into the right position. Create a beautiful birthing playlist and you’re halfway there.
17. Thongs/slip on shoes
The kind that doesn’t involve looking down at (let alone bending down) to put on. Keep it simple. Your feet may still be swollen after birth so look for a pair that have a little give.
18. High-waisted undies
Simple, cotton high-waisted undies keep you comfortable and supported. Some even have the added protection of being leak-proof for extra confidence.
19. Dry shampoo
New mum – meet your new BFF. You’ll have better things to do in the hospital than wash and blow dry your hair. Like, snuggle your dreamy newborn!
20. Lip balm
Keep lips luscious and un-cracked by having a nourishing lip balm handy. Hospital air-con and heating plays havoc with the skin.
21. Pregnancy/breastfeeding vitamins
Continue the good habit of taking a daily vitamin while breastfeeding.
“Grab some Ural sachets and have a few a day in the first week. It makes your wee more alkaline so won’t sting.” – Chontelle
23. Delivery outfit
Whether you dress to impress or dare to bare on D-day, a delivery outfit is about making you feel empowered and as comfortable as can be during labour.
From your birth plan to hospital admission papers and insurance details. Have all of your documents in one easy-to-find folder just in case someone else needs to grab it for you.
25. Makeup and facial wipes
Anything that prevents a new mum from being up and down like a yo-yo gets a vote from us. Pack some facial wipes and freshen up from the comfort of your own bed.
26. Notepad/Journal and pen
Midwives are full of helpful advice. Take note, as sleep deprivation and new information aren’t the best of friends. A baby journal or notepad comes in really handy when recording baby’s sleeping and feeding times, or gifts visitors give you too.
27. Sleep mask
For sleeping during the day. Get all the practice in now!
28. Hooded towel
Baby will likely have their very first bath in the hospital. Pack a hooded towel from home so it’s nice and cuddly, ready for an adorable photo op.
29. Baby Oil
“Baby oil. Put it on bub’s bum before their first poo. Makes cleaning up so much easier.”– Kirsty Brown
30. Loose tops
Maternity signets or loose tops are key for quick access when breastfeeding. They also make that all-important skin on skin contact a cinch. Naawwww.
31. Soft toilet paper
Because hospital toilet paper is no good for anyone.
32. Compression wear
Compression garments provide new mums with the support their bodies and lady bits need. SRC Recovery range of products has been designed by women for women, and promote faster recovery after delivery.
“I used compression shorts after my c-section. Made me feel more ‘held together’.” – Lesley
33. Loose PJ’s or nightgown
Loose fitting clothes and PJ’s are ideal for those first few days after birth and a nightgown is a big YES for feeding baby during the early hours. If your beautiful sleep set happens to play matchy-matchy with bubba’s…swoon!
34. Milestone cards
Say “Welcome to the world” and capture it for the whole world to see. You didn’t stay up all night online shopping for nothing!
35. Leaving hospital outfit
Pack a simple nightgown-free outfit and you’ll instantly feel like a million dollars.
Many hospitals don’t supply newborn nappies. Check with your hospital – they’re kind of important.
Your little darling will need clothes and quite a lot of them. Pack a variety of clothing, keeping in mind the season. Long warm onesies, itty-bitty singlets, teeny tiny beanies, super soft socks and mittens. Cuuuute!
38. Phone and charger
1% is the last thing you’ll want to see when taking pics of your precious bundle.
39. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is a common remedy to aid digestion, often helping relieve pain and discomfort from gas and bloating. Whether you’ve had a caesarean or vaginal birth, anything to assist with that first bowel movement is a godsend. Trust us.
40. Swaddle/Muslin Wraps
Wrapping baby snug as a bug so they feel warm, safe and secure goes a long way to helping them sleep soundly. The ergoPouch Swaddle Sleep Bags are some of our faves.
Write down a list of people to contact when your dreamboat baby arrives and have it ready to go in your hospital bag.
42. Going home outfit
Another milestone moment and one you are likely to capture on camera. Don’t forget to pack a super cute outfit for baby to wear when you leave the hospital. We all know you bought it months ago!
43. Nipple shields
Never heard of nipple shield? They can be a godsend to new mums. The plastic little shields assist in helping baby latch onto your breast while also providing a barrier to protect the nipple.
44. Breast pump
Some hospitals supply electric breast pumps, others suggest mums-to-be bring their own.
45. Breast pads
Prevent leakage by using breast pads when your milk comes in while your body figures out how much milk it needs to produce.
46. Nipple balm/cream
Find a nipple balm to prepare, soothe and protect your nipples for breastfeeding. One you don’t have to wash off before feeding will make life easier.
Ask your partner to have some coins or cash on hand for late-night vending machine cravings or parking.
The mum bun will have its heyday, but for that first photo of mum and baby together your locks deserve a bit of love.
Whether planning to or not, be sure to add bathers to your hospital bag. A shower or bath during labour may bring 10 minutes of heaven and your support person should be right there with you.
50. Maternity pads
They may not be the nicest thing in the world to wear but maternity pads are a must for most new mums. The hospital will provide some, but you may want to take a pack (or three) of your own. You’re welcome!
Due date getting close?
Join one of the closed Mum’s Grapevine pregnancy Facebook groups and find other Australian mums due at the same time as you.
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Read next …
Every woman and every labour is different. To help you (and your body) feel as ready as can be, take a look at these articles below:
- How to predict when you’ll go into labour
- 7 c-section hospital bag must-haves
- 16 ways to deal with labour pain