If your due month is fast approaching then you’ll probably be considering packing your hospital maternity bag. MICHELLE McDONAGH advises you what to pack and when to pack it.
The countdown to your new arrival has really begun when you start to think about packing your hospital bag. Preparation is key and, ideally, you should have your maternity bag packed and ready to go by 36 weeks at the latest in case you go into labour early (see end if you’re expecting twins).It can be useful to pack two bags: a smaller bag for the labour ward and a larger bag for you and your baby after the birth. Your hospital bag doesn’t have to be the size of a large suitcase but it’s important that you feel as comfortable as possible during labour and your stay in hospital afterwards.
The following checklist includes all of the essentials that you and your baby will need during your stay in hospital.
- Your medical record chart
- Two cotton nightdresses or pyjamas
- A light dressing gown, socks and slippers
- Disposable or large comfortable panties
- Pack of maternity sanitary towels
- Facial mist spray
- Lip balm
- Bottled water/drinks and snacks for you and your partner
- TENS machine if you chose to use one for pain relief
- Magazines or a book
- Personal music player and headphones
- Face cloth or facial wipes and hand towel
- Newborn nappies
- Your baby’s first outfit – vest, babygro, hat and cardigan
- A camera
- Spare top/shirt and deodorant for dad
Hospital bag – for mum
- Two cotton nightdresses/pyjamas – front-opening if you are planning
- Plenty of disposable, large panties
- Three packs of maternity sanitary towels
- Two maternity bras (nursing bras if breastfeeding)
- Two bath towels and one hand towel (your partner can bring in extra if you need them)
- Toiletries – wash bag containing facecloth, soap, shower gel, shampoo, shower hat, toothbrush, toothpaste, et(Travel-size items are ideal.)
- Breast pads
- Magazines and books
- Mobile phone and charger
- Notebook and pen
- Large bottle of witch hazel to soothe stitches (pour a few drops onto a sanitary pad)
- Nipple cream if breastfeeding
- Hair clip, brush, travel hairdryer
- Make-up bag
- Money for buying newspapers, snacks, cold drinks, etc.
- Outfit for going home – loose clothes and comfy shoes
Hospital bag – for baby
- Six babygros
- Six vests
- Two soft baby towels, baby sponge
- 24 disposable newborn nappies
- One roll of cotton wool
- Vaseline or nappy cream
- Scratch mitts
- Blanket and hat for going home
- All-in-one snowsuit (depending on the time of year)
Your partner or somebody else can bring in outfits for you and your baby to wear going home on the day you are due to leave the hospital. They will also need to bring a car seat for the baby to travel home in (the hospital will not let your baby home without this).
What not to pack in your hospital bag
- Jewellery – many women experience swelling after birth which makes wearing jewellery uncomfortable and it could also get lost or stolen in hospital.
- Coat – you won’t need your coat until you’re leaving and it can take up too much space so best to leave it in the car.
- High heels and skinny jeans – that’s just wishful thinking!
Twins or more…
If you are pregnant with twins or triplets, you need to be even more organised and to start preparing for the new arrivals even earlier. You should have your bags packed and ready to go from 30 weeks as twins and triplets may arrive early. The maternity bag checklist still applies, but you will need to pack double (or treble if you’re having triplets) the clothing, nappies, blankets and towels for the babies and you will obviously need two or more car seats to take your little bundles of joy home in. In her book, Having Twins, Elizabeth Noble urges parents expecting twins to be very practical, to buy no-nonsense clothes that are interchangeable, and to buy in bulk. “Many parents of twins find it simpler and less expensive to shop in bulk,” she writes. “Products are cheaper by the case, and three- or four-month supplies of non-perishables can be bought, leaving less shopping to be done weekly.”