Whether you’re excited about it or dreading it, there’s no getting around it; sooner or later you’ll need to have your hospital bag ready.
Packing your labour bag can feel daunting, because it reminds you of just how close labour is and makes everything seem that little bit more real. However try not to worry, packing your bag is a positive experience and it will give you confidence and reassurance once it’s complete. Read on for some tips and great ideas of what to pack in your bag.
As a guide, you should aim to have your hospital bag ready between 32 and 35 weeks. Of course you can start at any time, and it’s a good idea to do so, by beginning with a list of what you will need to buy and pack. A good time to start writing your list is around 28 weeks, at the beginning of the third trimester. This gives you plenty of time to buy, wash and pack the things you will need. The below list is just a guide which you can adapt to your own individual needs but this should give you a good start and some ideas to help you get going with your own bag.
- Your maternity notes including your birth plan.
- A nightdress to wear while giving birth and one to wear afterwards – ideally with buttons
- Plenty of underwear including nursing bra if planning to breastfeed
- Dressing gown
- A fan to help keep you cool
- MP3 player
- Books / magazines
- Washbag / toiletries – consider using travel size items to save space
- Your own towel
- Breast pads
- Maternity pads
- Comfortable clothes to wear going home
- A carrier bag or two to put dirty washing in
For Your Baby
- Socks or booties
- Scratch mitts
- Babygro / sleepsuits
- Going home outfit including cardigan, coat or snowsuit
- Baby towel
- Muslin cloths
- Cotton wool balls
For Your Partner
- Change of clothes for freshening up
- A camera including spare battery
- Handheld game / books for entertainment while waiting
- Snacks / money for buying snacks for you both
- Mobile phone and charger with list of phone numbers if not programmed in
It is recommended that all of baby’s clothes, blankets and muslin cloths should be washed, so plan in a time to get this done and everything ironed ready to pack.
You may not wish to take everything to the hospital right away, remember that your partner or another family member can pop home to collect things such as your going home outfit or anything you find you need more of, so if you’re struggling for space just pack the essentials you will need to begin with. If you’re kept in you can send your partner home to get more things, for example the baby’s car seat for travelling home.
Remember it’s no good having a hospital bag if it’s not with you, so if you take any trips away put the hospital bag in your car boot and also note the telephone number of the nearest maternity ward, just in case, and ensure you take your maternity notes with you as well. Remember, it’s always best to be prepared!
More ways to prepare for your baby:
- 6 Tips for Introducing Siblings Without Tears
- How to Bathe Your Newborn
- Choosing a Sling for Your Newborn