I’m not quite sure why the packing of the hospital bag invites such confusion – the practicality of the occasion should override any vanity concerns. Yet, here I am lamenting about the fact it took me two weeks to work out what I was going to pack.
I think it’s also harder to imagine first time around. In the end, my partner was still popping home to drop things off and pick things up.
The below is comprehensive and you shouldn’t really need much more for a 5 night stay:
- Comfort is your number one priority.
- Make sure the family have a set of keys so they can pick things up if you need.
- Don’t try and get it perfect. You’ll be close to home so worst case scenario someone will pop home or to the shop and get whatever you need.
- If you already have a child/children get them a little birth gift – a little toy or keepsake so that they are part of the experience as well.
For you, the Mum:
- Comfort and easy access is key – someone will need access to various parts of you at any given time so choose clothing that will allow easy access.
- Sleepwear (4 night dresses/nursing gowns) – I had a jersey dress like nursing gown which was easy to pull down (and up); and a kimono style wrap gown which was equally easy to open.
- Leisure wear for day (e.g. tracksuit). Comfy cotton pants e.g. lounge pants with a tie no elastic, a maternity tee or two and a cardigan or sweater that has easy breastfeeding access.
- Underwear (6) – get maternity underwear – it’s so comfortable.
- Nursing bra (3) – forget lace, go soft cotton.
- Light dressing gown (2) – this will be great for the first day when you don’t feel like getting out of your nursing gown.
- Sweet dreams – tips to help baby sleep by Pinky McKay
- Au pairs and daycare: A parent’s guide to child care options
- Comfortable footwear (i.e. slippers or slip on shoes).
- Warm, comfy socks
- Toiletry bag – hairbrush, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser/oil, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, face spray, body oil, hair bands, wipes or cotton wool balls.
- Maternity sanitary pads – 4 packets.
- Breast pads eg Bamboobies, Organyc, Mama Minx
- Nipple cream &/or butter – have both with you to see which one works best for you.
- Tucks pads – i.e. Witch hazel pads.
- Your birth plan and maternity notes
- Water bottles
- Snacks for you while you are in labour
- Nursing pillow
- For a bit of home luxury – take your own towel and face washer with you
- 8 onesies (grow suits) – I prefer the two-way zip variety with turn-over mittens; also the kimono style, cross over grow suits as they are easy to get on and off.
- 3 singlets.
- 2 pairs booties/socks.
- 1 knot hat or beanie.
- 1 pair mittens (not necessary if you have this built in to the onesie).
- 1 x going home outfit (optional).
- 6 wraps/swaddles – 3 x lighter bamboo or muslin; 3 x warmer cotton / bamboo.
- Small cot blanket – warm, knitted.
- Dummy – cherry shaped i.e. NOT orthodontic (optional).
- Newborn nappies – plan 10 per day for breastfed babies, try Ecoriginals.
- Baby wipes (unscented, natural or organic) eg Wotnot or Bambure.
- Baby bath soap/ body wash – natural/organic products recommended.
- 1 x small emery board.
- 1 x Baby towel.
- Comfortable clothes & shoes (e.g. jeans, track pants, t-shirts, jumper & sneakers) for the length of his stay.
- PJ and slippers if he is staying overnight.
- Watch with a second hand, to time contractions.
- Check with your hospital about what paperwork they will need to admit you – e.g. blood group card, health insurance details, Medicare card, pregnancy & medication records from your obstetrician and photo id.
- Your car must be fitted with an approved Australian Standards baby seat/capsule prior to going home.
- Keep valuables e.g. jewellery to a minimum.
- Bag for laundry.
- Camera, charger, batteries and spare memory card.
- Phone, tablet and chargers.
- Keep books and magazines to a minimum.
- Notebook and pen – keep track of contractions, visitors, memories.
For those of you who have “been there, done that,” what was the one thing that made the biggest difference to you in hospital?