10 Hospital Bag Essentials
Packing a hospital bag is an exciting part of motherhood prep. It tends to be something you start to think about later on in the second trimester as your due date starts to become a reality. Once it’s finally packed you really know you are on the way to having a baby!
It’s down to personal preference what you put in your hospital bag but there are some common items that really are a must. Who knew at the time of writing this post there would be two new unlikely entrants on the list in the form of hand sanitiser and face masks?
We’ve checked out some of our favourite influencer accounts and spoken to some of our mama friends to draw up a list of 10 hospital bag essentials you’ll definitely want to pack along with a list of some optional extras.
Yes, we know. You might have the most wonderful images in your head of swanning around in your loungewear and G-string but trust us, it’s just not practical. Until it’s happened it’s hard to predict what sort of birth you will have. Clearly things down below can get a tad uncomfortable, so comfort really is your best friend. It’s not forever and you have plenty of time to get yourself back into your slinkies. Choose breathable materials like cotton or microfibre and consider having some high waisted undies to hand in the event of an unplanned C-section (lower cuts will irritate your C-section scar).
Supermarket briefs will do the job just fine but there are, of course, specialist maternity pants available at retailers like JoJo Maman Bébé or on Amazon. Bear in mind that regardless of your delivery you will experience bleeding for at least up to 10 days after birth so some women favour using old undies that they can dispose of. Alternatively, buy dark or plain black underwear that will stand up to the task in hand.
Pregnancy and Feeding Pillow
Now this is one of those items that is often left at home looking pretty ready for when you arrive home with your new arrival, but here’s the thing. Babies need feeding from the moment they are born and there’s no better place to start getting to grips with your baby pillow than straight after birth.
A multi-use pregnancy and nursing pillow can be a real godsend and regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding you’ll find a maternity pillow a huge support, especially when you’re in a hospital bed and not surrounded by all of your home comforts. You’re likely to be feeding in a chair or single bed in hospital so comfort is not necessarily going to be of the standard you’re accustomed to at home. A feeding pillow will give you the comfort and confidence to start your feeding journey whether it’s breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Of course, the other point to note is that if you are allowed a partner in hospital and you choose to bottle feed, they can use the pillow too!
The Widgey feeding pillow has been designed to be wider than other pillows allowing your elbows and forearms to rest on the pillow with ease. This stops you from hunching your shoulders and creating stress and tension in the neck. It also provides ample room to accommodate your baby and to support them during feeding.
We’re guessing that feeding pillows in hospital bags are often overlooked because of their size but they are consistently mentioned on real mums’ hospital essentials lists.
This is another firm favourite. There’s nothing like a long labour and incessant feeding to spark a serious appetite that only an industrial pack of Haribo’s and an endless supply of nibbles will sate!
Pack a good selection of energy-boosting healthy bites with some naughty treats for good measure too. Think packets of nuts and seed mixes, dried fruits, crisps, biscuits and healthy cereal bars and flapjacks. Boiled and gummy sweets are a good shout, especially after labour when you will be feeling parched and for during breastfeeding.
Unless you’re booked into The Portland or The Kensington Wing, you’ll want something to separate your tootsies from the well-trodden floor of the shower cubicle. Of course, hospitals are cleaned regularly and are usually pretty hygienic, but these will be shared facilities, so you’ll feel better for a little more distance between you and the surfaces and you’ll certainly value your flip flops for the visits to the bathroom!
There’s more than one part of your anatomy that gets exposed during childbirth and your feet might may not be your first concern when you’re drafting that birth plan. Your feet could be exposed for a long time and they can get very chilly so treat your toes to some super fluffy socks. You can even get an encouraging meme in there with some Keep Calm & Push Socks!
Nightshirt (preferably with buttons or poppers), Dressing Gown & Slippers
Instagram will have you believe that maternity ward dress code is luxe loungewear and coiffed hair, but in a similar vein to Big Knickers you need to think beyond those perfectly staged squares and focus on practicality. Put simply, you need to whip open and off your nightwear at will, especially if you are planning to breastfeed. A nightshirt with buttons is great but one with poppers is even better. You’ll probably enjoy the freedom of forgoing pyjama bottoms – they’ll definitely be a no-no if you’ve had a C-section.
There are some things that just signal home comforts and a dressing gown and slippers are a winning combo. Though maternity wards are notoriously hot for obvious reasons it’s good to have some creature comforts to make you feel more relaxed during your stay.
Water bottle and Straws
Naturally, you’ll be given food and water during your stay in hospital but when it comes to the latter it’s likely to be a plastic jug and annoyingly small beaker affair. Nothing beats having your own water bottle, preferably of the anti-leak variety, so you can deposit it within easy access on the bed for your convenience. If you’ve had a C-section you won’t appreciate the constant stretching and reaching and if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need to keep hydrated. Straws are also a good option for making water intake an easier task, especially if you’re bed bound and unable to sit up and stretch easily.
Maternity & Breast Pads
Probably obvious but definitely essential. Most hospitals will supply maternity pads for post birth but it’s a one-size-fits-all approach and you’ll be more comfortable with your own supply.
It won’t be long after birth before you discover the miracles of the human body and the joy of leaky boobs. Dignity is something you’ll look to preserve where you can so keeping those glaring headlamp t-shirt wet patches at bay is a good call.
Pot of Vaseline
This dream product will serve you and your hospital bag well and delivers value way beyond its diminutive size. It’s well documented that your lips get very dry during labour, so it makes a great no-nonsense lip balm. Many also say comes it comes into its own for addressing that first meconium poo. And even if you think you will be prepared after those marmite trial run nappies at NCT classes, you’ll be glad you read this.
This may not feature prominently on conventional published hospital bag checklists but it’s something we came across often in our research and we couldn’t help but agree. Even in the age of Apple Pay and contactless you’ll be surprised by how handy a stash of coins can be when it comes to the hospital car park or the vending machines – especially at those inconvenient for those early hours of the morning munchies.
Arguably more important than that first perfectly orchestrated outfit is the ‘receiving blanket’. Although it’s not likely to be the blanket your baby is wrapped in straight after labour, you will be glad that you have your own super snuggly blanket to wrap baby in and place over them in their hospital cot. It will also feature in all of those first pics so it’ a great time to get the family heirloom in and earn some mother-in-law brownie points early doors.
Well, that’s quite literally our starter for ten but there are other essentials you’ll need. We’ve included these, and others on the handy little checklist below. Let us know if you have any words of wisdom when it comes to hospital bag packing. We’d love to hear your stories.