When I was pregnant, I over researched everything, and I am so glad I did! My hospital bag was prepped to perfection! I did however have to get my parents and in laws to grab more clothes for Luke and Greg because of the length of time we were in hospital. Other than that, we needed nothing! Here is what we needed!
Birth Plan, Birth Essentials and Maternity Notes
I personally didn’t have a birth plan – I just wanted to go with the flow! But if you have one and any special requests/music/scents/tens machine for your birth, make sure you bring it!
Breast pads, Maternity Pads and Big Knickers!
Now, I also bought some Always Discreet Pants with me. These saved my life! When I was more mobile, I used underwear and a giant pad. Make sure that your big knickers go up to your belly button. If you have a cesarean, you don’t want the knickers to sit on your incision.
At the hospital I was at, you had to wear something on your feet at all times (not that you’d want to be bare foot in a hospital!). I took slippers with me and they saved my life. Make sure they don’t have backs! Slipping them on without bending down is essential.
If you plan to breastfeed, a button up nighty may be a good idea. I personally got three plain black stretchy ones from Primark and they pulled down under my breast when I wanted to feed Luke. They were so handy! They were great to labour in, too!
I know you’re probably thinking – DUH! But seriously – a going home outfit – you will need one, especially if you want some pictures of you. I took maternity leggings, maternity bra, maternity vest top, chunky cardigan and scarf. Don’t forget socks! It is a fact that your feet get cold in labour.
If you are planning a water birth, I would recommend a strappy top to wear in the pool. I laboured in the water with a strappy top on.
Shower gel, deodorant, wipes, tooth brush, tooth paste and flannel. Don’t forget lip balm. Your lips will be incredibly dry from the Gas and Air, and general breathing!
I took a big supply of hair bands, too. I have really long hair, so I didn’t want this on my face or in the way. I wish I had someone put my hair in french plait on reflection! Even when I got the opportunity to shower, I didn’t wash my hair. That could definitely wait until we got home.
If you plan to breast feed, don’t forget the nipple cream! It took us a little while to perfect the latch, which can be incredibly painful! Nipple cream saved my life.
Snacks and Drinks
I took dried fruit and nuts, chocolate bars and crisps. I took a reusable bottle for drinks that had a straw built in. That way in labour, Greg could hold the bottle for me.
Chewing Gum!! Now this is an essential because if you have a cesarean, you will get trapped gas. The pain is horrible! One way to shift it is to chew.
Phone charger, apps on your phone, magazine, book. I was being induced with Luke, and as many of you know, this can take a long time. For 6 hours, we were told to wait. We walked and chatted, but we were bored! Luckily, I had downloaded a few good books and some games on my phone. They saved me!
I took my old and rugged V pillow and a blanket.
The hospital did provide towels, but they were all so small. I took a huge, old bath towel, which was really helpful. I deliberately brought a dark coloured one, just in case!
Before you think about anything else, make sure you have that car seat. DO NOT FORGET IT! How else will you get baby home?! If you are using an isofix bracket, get it installed early on and practice getting and out. I really recommend getting used to the straps, too.
To make it nice and easy, put a pack of vests (5) and two packs of onesies (6). This may sound excessive, but within a day, Luke had gone through all 5 vests as we were getting used to the fact that boys can pee on everything with no warning!!
I also brought two special onesies for pictures and the classic coming home outfit.
Although I was told not to bring bibs, they were brilliant. They saved us a few changes of clothes! I only packed one, but that was more than enough.
With a newborn, you can be changing up to 12 nappies per day! I took a full pack of nappies for Luke (22) and due to our long stay, it wasn’t enough! But if we were in for 2 days, it probably would have been.
I took 2 packs of WaterWipes, too. I know many people prefer cotton and water, but I couldn’t get my head around it!
Muslin and Blanket
I brought a muslin swaddle and a blanket. The heating was definitely on in the hospital, and we were all very warm. The muslin was a life saver!
If you plan on formula feeding your baby, you may need to bring your own formula.
We planned on combination feeding Luke, but we were really lucky in that the hospital supplied it.
Yes, cash and card! I know that a lot of places take cash and card, but you don’t want to risk it. Suss out the parking at the hospital – does the machine take coins only?
Toiletries and Clothes
Luckily for us, Greg was allowed to stay overnight at the hospital with us. Unluckily for him, he wasn’t allowed to shower or a bed! He took shower gel, a flannel, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste. That way, he could at least have a wash! He brought two changes of clothes, too. Slippers were a good shout, too.
Food and Drink
Food was supplied for me, but not Greg! They offered him a few times, but forgot to come back. On reflection, I wish we had brought more snacks and a few microwave meals! If you bring snacks and drinks, they have no excuse to vanish.
Phone, charger. Greg brought his iPad, too. It can be boring for them, especially if there is a lot of waiting around!
A contraction timing app is a great way to get them involved in the early stages.
As I said, he was allowed to stay but he was given just a chair. We brought a blanket and pillow – thank God we did!
I took one but I didn’t use it at all. Despite the temperature on the ward, you will get the Mum Sweats after giving birth!
I used a LOT of nappy cream on Luke from a very early age, but for the first week of life, their skin is adjusting a lot. I kept his skin clear of all creams and balms to let it settle.
The chances are, if you need to express milk in the hospital, the midwives will show you how to hand express. My hospital actually supplied breast pumps for those with a need (if their babies were in special care).
Bottles and Dummies
My son has a dummy. I think they are essential for the first 6 months of life at least as they are proven to reduce the risk of SIDS. HOWEVER, when you are in the hospital, you and your baby are being monitored constantly. The first few days of your newborns life, they will sleep without needing any encouragement.
It is really recommended that you remove any rings before labour. If you go into surgery and you cannot remove your rings, you risk them being cut off.
What were your essentials? What didn’t you need?