I firmly believe that one of the only things you have control over during your pregnancy is what goes into your hospital bag — if you elect to go into hospital to give birth, that is! I’ve received so many requests over the last few months over on Instagram to share what I packed in mine, so here we go.
What to pack into your hospital bag is a deceptively tricky thing, because you have no idea what’s going to happen beforehand. It needs to be able to serve you in a variety of different situations, and provide answers to many questions. Like will you be staying in hospital for several days, or will you be sent home after only a few hours because the maternity ward is overflowing? Are you due in the middle of winter, when hospitals are notoriously cold, or will you be going in in the heart of summer, in smouldering hot temperatures? Will your hospital be providing you with a lot of things during your stay, or will you get only the bare necessities, if that?
All in all, your hospital bag needs to be comprehensive without going overboard. I packed everything our big weekender bag when I was thirty weeks along, helped by a checklist from one of my midwives with common items to include. I let the bag sit in the guest room for a few days, in case I thought of any last-minute additions as I nosied around the internet to see what other mums suggested packing.
In the end, I had everything I needed, and that’s the safest feeling to go into hospital with. So without further ado, here’s what was in my hospital bag.
What’s In My Hospital Bag: Me
- Labour clothes. Some hospitals provide you with a gown, but I knew beforehand that mine wouldn’t, so I packed old clothes I was comfortable with getting stained.
- Two bras. If you’re planning on nursing, make sure you bring at least one soft and comfortable nursing bra.
- Pyjamas. Bring a pair you’re comfortable in. If you’re planning on nursing, bring a set with a button-down top.
- Black underwear. You’ll want to bring several pairs, and ones that don’t press uncomfortably into your stomach.
- Postpartum outfit. Something loose and comfortable is great. I brought this button-down dress, which was not only wonderfully light and airy, but quite practical.
- An extra outfit. Just in case you need to stay overnight.
- A bathrobe.
- Slippers. I brought plastic ones, so that I could also wear them in the shower.
- A change of clothes and pyjamas for my husband. In case we needed to stay overnight.
- Hair bobbles.
- Hair brush.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Make-up remover and cotton pads.
- Make-up. There’s apparently a fierce debate going on about whether or not you need to bring make-up into hospital; I’m on the “do whatever works for you” team, and brought tinted moisturiser, mascara, concealer and lip balm, just in case.
- Skincare products. Travel-size, in case you need to stay overnight.
- Soap, shampoo and conditioner.
- Dry shampoo.
- Nail file.
- Nipple cream and breast pads, if you’re planning on nursing.
What’s In My Hospital Bag: Baby
One of my midwives said to me, quite sagely, that technology nowadays can do many things, but it can’t quite accurately predict the size of your baby, so she recommended I pack clothes in two different sizes.
I packed the pieces for each size together in IKEA resealable bags with the size written down onto the bag. I was due in the heart of summer, so I elected for lighter fabrics and layers. Here’s what I brought for the baby:
- A bodysuit.
- A going-home outfit. I brought a pair of airy dungarees with a t-shirt for each size.
- A cardigan.
- A hat.
- A coat.
- A baby blanket. I brought a hand-knitted one that we received as a gift.
- Socks and shoes.
- Muslin cloths. I brought two.
What’s In My Hospital Bag: Other
- Phone charger. One for my phone, and one for my husband’s.
- Camera. It was fully charged, with an empty memory card, but I also packed the charger, just in case.
- Games. We brought two travel-sized board games, in case we had some time to spare.
- Book. I always bring a book with me, wherever I go. I brought The Confessions of Frannie Langton, by Sara Collins, into hospital.
- Food and drinks. We brought homemade nut mix, granola bars, and biscuits. I also brought a small water bottle with a straw, to fill at the tap and drink from.
- The car seat. This didn’t fit into my hospital bag, but it is a safety requirement, so we brought it along.
What did you bring in your hospital bag? Was there anything you forgot or something you didn’t end up needing? Or are you due soon and trying to get organised? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!