From about week 36 of your pregnancy there will be a bag sitting by the door of your house. In this bag there will be items that float in and out of it. You will look at it as the final few weeks of your pregnancy drag by and repeatedly wonder ‘Do I really need that much stuff?’ It is, of course, your hospital bag. The bag that is packed for not only you, but your baby and maybe if you are generous, the bag you have also chucked some lollies into for your birth partner.
So what do you pack in this bag? Coming from a new mum who has been there, over-packed and come out the other side, here are my five essentials.
For the birth: a loose top, maternity bra and running shorts is what I found most comfortable, but hey it’s your labour, wear what you want to wear!
For after the birth: this may or may not come as a surprise to you but you will not return back to your normal pre-baby body as soon as that baby is out, so take comfy maternity clothes, tops that you can breastfeed in are essential. For the bottom half, yoga pants, leggings and pyjama pants were great for me.
2. Clothes for the baby.
Take two sizes… just in case. Speaking from experience not all babies are 0000 when they are first born, so take options.
As well as clothes have some swaddles, the hospital will have some but it is nice to get practicing with the swaddles you will be using at home.
Now this may seem like an obvious one. But I refuse to believe that I am the first new mum out there to forget shampoo and body wash. Even if you just washed your hair the morning you gave birth you will need your shampoo and conditioner, trust me. You can buy little travel containers for toiletries so to save you taking all those big bottles buy some of these. This will also ensure you won’t forget them as you can have these ready and waiting to go.
4. Recovery items.
No one is under the disillusion that labour is pain free; you will be sore and there will be bleeding. Clots the size of golf balls are considered ‘normal’ so take maternity pads and lots of them. I took a few packets and wore two at a time; the second pad giving extra padding down there and the reassurance that there would be no leaks.
Just like you most likely won’t be straight back in to your pre-baby clothes, you will also take a while to get back in to your pre-baby underwear, so take lose fitting black granny knickers (or whatever colour you want just black is not as easily stained if there are any mishaps with maternity pads).
5. Breastfeeding supplies.
Now this point all depends on how long you will be staying in hospital and if you are or are not planning on feeding. If you are planning on feeding you will need these things. (If you’re planning on formula feeding you’ll need to check with your hospital on what is provided and what isn’t).
Firstly breastfeeders, go and get yourself a maternity bra a few sizes too big. When your milk comes in, usually about two days after birth, your boobs will feel full, sore and swollen. This settles, but in the mean time you will need a bigger bra that doesn’t dig in and cause any discomfort or block any ducts.
The other breastfeeding essentials include, absorbent nursing pads, for any leaks while feeding or even in between feeding for that matter, Lansinoh (or any other form of nipple cream), to help prepare the nipples and ease the pain of the first few days of feeding.
Other bits & pieces
Depending on the size of your bag, you might be pretty full up by now, you may even decide that having two bags is a better option, one for birth and one for after. Whatever you decide, if there is still some room, some other little bits that you may wish to pop in there may be, your camera, phone charger, some food for your partner during labour, slippers and maybe even a roll of soft toilet paper as hospital toilet paper tends to be scratchy. Ever girl needs a little comfort – especially post baby!
From me to you, happy packing – and good luck!
About the Author: Jess Moodie is a mum, blogger and podiatrist from country Victoria. Jess started up her blog ‘The New Mum Blog’ shortly after giving birth to son, Leo, in a way to fill the gaps between feeds and naps. Now, with a one year old and not so many naps or feeds, Jess still finds the time to blog all things motherhood and baby, she tells stories of her life as a new mum in an open and honest way. You can follow Jess on her blog, Instagram @jess_moodie and Twitter @_thenewmum.