What to pack in your Hospital Bag when you’re expecting – before, during and after birth!

What to pack in your Hospital Bag when you’re expecting – before, during and after birth!

We are 7 or so weeks away from meeting our little girl, my tummy is unmissable now and my bladder needs emptying almost immediately after drinking anything – time to start thinking about the Hospital Bags!

This is round 2 for James and I so we have done this before, although I do fully understand how people can say that you forget a lot of it (like it totally slipped my mind that we would need a capsule to get the baby home?!?).  Nevertheless we made our lists last night in an attempt to be ready to roll when the time comes.  I am likely to have a c-section so my list comes from a place of previously having a c-section but I have also added in some great new mum items for vaginal births too (with the very helpful advice from the ladies in my antenatal group – we’re still going strong 2 years later!).

So what do I deem to be required for my hospital bag?  Well firstly I think I went a bit overboard when Georgia was born, but I think that is to be expected as a first time parent as I had no idea what I was in for except for what I had read up on.  I totally over catered on maternity pads (these are provided in hospital and birthcare so I didn’t need to take 3 packets!) and totally under catered in the snacks department and I didn’t know how hungry I would be and that James wouldn't get any food or drink in hospital.  I also packed a whole lot of clothes but I found I lived in my kimono style dressing gown with no bra on (easy access while stumbling through learning to breastfeed) and long compression socks to help with the swollen legs (I had an emergency c-section with Georgia).  I was also induced with Georgia and under catered for activities while waiting in hospital to be induced – I had my phone but I would recommend other things to keep you occupied – a travel sized puzzle, book, filling in your baby journal, knitting or whatever you are into. 

However in saying what I have above, I am a firm believer to be over prepared vs under so I would highly recommend you take anything you think you will need to be comfortable!  If you don’t use it then nothing has been lost!

Lastly becoming a mum will mean a different array of clothes and toiletries are required (or highly suggested) for comfort when recovering from birth and looking after your new baby.  Below is what you will find in my hospital bag as well as what we will pack for baby & what James is going to pack for himself.  We haven’t packed a bag for Georgia (our 2 year old) as she will be with my mum and will just come in for visits.

My ‘Mum’ Hospital Bag

Clothes:

  • Maternity/breastfeeding bras – if you're breastfeeding you will be feeding a lot so easy access is key. I have a mix of Cadenshae Breastfeeding Sports Bra - Smoothie Crop Black | Cadenshae and Berlei bras Berlei Barely There Cotton Maternity Bra C-E - 30201 (farmers.co.nz) packed as I find them really comfy.
  • Maternity undies – big and black! You will be wearing large maternity pads for the next wee while so comfy, big, breathable and dark in colour are a great option! If you end up having a c-section bigger ones are great as they sit above your scar so don’t rub on it.  I got a 5 pack of these bad boys from Kmart. 3 Pack Cotton Hi-Cut Briefs | Kmart
  • Breastfeeding friendly clothes – think button up tops and maternity singlets. I have some basic maternity singlets from Kmart that have a basic built in bra and clips to pull down to breastfeed Maternity Camisole | Kmart.  I also have a couple of breastfeeding singlets and t-shirts from Cadenshae Breastfeeding Tops - Casual Tank Peacock | Cadenshae and Close to the Heart that also have fantastic easy access for feeding and look fabulous! V Neck Tank l Alpine l Breastfeeding Tops l Close to the Heart
  • Baggy clothes – t-shirt or nightie for labour and post birth comfort, baggy loose pants and skirts (especially if having a c-section)
  • Dressing gown/Kimono – I lived in this while in hospital and birthcare with Georgia – easy to breastfeed in and covered me up when needed to (for most of the time I just wore this with no top on below). You also have a catheter in hospital for the first day after a c-section so a kimono was easy to move around to deal with that.  I got a basic cotton one from Kmart. Kimono Cotton Gown | Kmart
  • Slip on shoes - great for swollen feet (after a c-section you can have swollen feet for 7-10 days and wear compression socks) and are easy to slip on and off to go to the toilet or go for a short walk.
  • This time around I want to get some nicer first photos at the hospital/birthcare with baby and with the family so I am going to pack some comfy but nice clothes to get a couple of nice brand new baby and family pics. I haven’t quite decided what this is yet but it will probably be a nice top, a bit of makeup and a hair brush!

Toiletries & Personal Care:

  • Glasses and contact lenses – it sounds obvious that you will want to see your brand new baby, but glasses are especially important if you have a c-section you can’t wear contact lenses in the theatre room so if you want to see anything I suggest taking your prescription glasses with you.
  • Toiletries – all the regular stuff (moisturiser Lotion Sticks – Road To Georgia, lipbalm Organic Lip Balm – Road To Georgia, toothbrush, make-up, deodorant, dry shampoo Dry Shampoo – Road To Georgia) to make you feel fresh and human.
  • Now we move into the 'new mum' toiletries – for vaginal births Viva La Vulva perineal spray or products with witchhazel are like heaven down there providing a bit of cooling relief Postpartum Healing Spray Kit – Road To Georgia
  • Hydrogel breast pads – pop these in the fridge and pull out when your milk has come in and your boobs are hot and full. They are like iceblocks for your boobs and feel so good! Rite Aid Hydrogel Breast Discs - Feeding (farmers.co.nz)
  • Breast pads – it can take a few days for your milk to come through but once it does they have a mind of their own, they can hear the baby cry while you sleep and start lactating so breast pads are a good idea to have on hand Avent Washable Breast Pads, 6-pack - 667 (farmers.co.nz).
  • Nipple cream – breastfeeding can be hard to get used to at the start.  If you are like me or many others you might experience pains like razors being cut into them, or grazing and dryness.  I used Medela Purelan 100 Nipple Cream to help keep them moisturised which is 100% lanolin and doesn’t need to be removed before breastfeeding Medela PureLan 100 Nipple Cream 37g | Life Pharmacy New Zealand

Food:

  • Snacks – while waiting for baby, for energy during labour and for post birth. On my list is rice crackers, cheese slices, 1L apple juice, chocolate, chips, bananas, salted nuts and muffins plus I’ve got a list of goodies for my mum to bring in after baby (sushi, cheesecake and my list goes on!).  Also I will be taking Salted Caramel Lactation cookies with me to help stimulate milk and also because they taste delicious! Salted Caramel Lactation Cookies – Road To Georgia
  • 1L Montii Mega drink bottle with sippy lid – keeps your drinks cold, you sip the water up the straw vs having to tip it (key while breastfeeding and also with a c-section) and is large in size as I found I was super thirsty while and between breastfeeding! Insulated Drink Bottle Mega 1L – Road To Georgia

Other:

  • Phone and charger – great for those first pics, keeping in touch and boredom busters!
  • Activities – for me I am going to choose to take the ipad to watch Netflix, her baby journal to fill in the pre-baby stuff I haven’t completed (at the moment have not even started this) Bebé Baby Journals Truly Amor – Road To Georgia
  • Present for Georgia from baby sister – I am going with a puzzle as Georgia loves these at the moment
  • Present for baby from Georgia – I am going to let Georgia choose something for baby to take ownership of it

Babies Hospital Bag:

Clothes:

  • Hat, mittens, socks – babies are used to being nice and warm in the womb so until their body climatises they need to be kept wrapped up snug. You will want to keep a hat on as lots of heat escaped from their head.  Mittens are great as they grow fingernails like crazy and they like to grab at their faces so mittens protect them scratching up their precious little faces! 
  • A handful of onesies, base layers like singlets and footed pants – again to keep baby warm I have packed a mix of merino and cotton onesies, footed pants, base singlets and tshirts and cardigans to layer them up nice and warm.  This will depend on how long you will be staying in hospital and/or birthcare so I'd recommend packing 3 outfits a day (incase of spilling and poonami's).  Onesies with domes are great as you will be changing them frequently so buttons can be time consuming, especially in the middle of the night.  Layering clothes is also great as you can add or take off as needed and also if something gets soiled or spewed on you can remove the dirty items and layer on again.
  • First photo outfit – again I haven’t actually decided on this yet but will be a cute and warm onesie of some sort. This isn’t at all a necessity but if its something you want to plan out then go for it!

Other Essentials:

  • Capsule/Carseat (and base etc already fitted into the car correctly) – you can’t leave the hospital without this. I am renting one from Baby on the Move vs buying one as we will move baby into a bigger car seat around 6 months old Hire | Car Seat | Child Restraint | Baby On The Move
  • Blanket for baby in capsule – I didn’t think to take a blanket for Georgia when leaving the hospital into the car (babies need to be kept nice and warm like they are used to in the womb).
  • 3x large muslin blankets. I recommend large ones if you are going to swaddle as they are the most forgiving for new parents fumbling around as the extra room makes it easier to tuck them in tight.  These are also great as they can double up as extra burp cloths or cloths to clean up any spills, a light blanket – these are so versatile!
  • Burp Cloth – there will be a cloth nappy or similar provided in birthcare for this but I love the Little unicorn ones so will take my own Muslin Burp Cloth – Road To Georgia
  • Milestone cards – if you plan to use these and introduce baby while at hospital I would take the cards you will want to use with you milestone cards – Road To Georgia
  • Newborn nappies – these are provided in hospital and birthcare but we are travelling afterwards so we want to have some handy just incase.

Dad’s Hospital Bag:

  • Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Depending on where you birth and the set up you might need a roll up mattress and bedding if they don’t have enough and you want to stay (James had to do this at Auckland hospital with Georgia).
  • Snacks – share with mum and can also head out to get food but again James wasn’t entitled to anything as hospital and at Birthcare we needed to pay for meals for James so food for Dad is essential especially if they are staying for the full time.
  • Drink bottle Insulated Drink Bottle 600mL – Road To Georgia
  • Phone & charger
  • Camera & charger (plus check there is space on the disc) – get some nice close ups and family pics in hospital and birthcare. We got some really cool (and graphic) photos of Georgia being born by c-section so if the hospital allows and you are interested in this then I would recommend having a camera with dad in theatre.  Just make sure you save the pics somewhere appropriate so someone doesn’t accidentally stumble over them and get the shock of their life!
  • Activities to pass the time – Netflix is his activity of choice

For me the morale of the story is that you want to be comfortable before, during and after your birth and being prepared in advance will mean one less thing to worry about when it comes time to jump in the car and head to where you are birthing!  I hope the above lists offer a few handy suggestions and ideas of what you might want to include in your hospital bag. 

We have a whole section dedicated to new mums on our website which includes helpful books, baby wraps, products to help stimulate breastmilk and lots of the items mentioned above in the blog which you can find here Gifts for New Mums – Road To Georgia.  We also have a large selection of gift bags specially put together to pamper and help mums in the first months after giving birth if you're looking for a practical and thoughtful gift GIFT BAGS FOR MUM – Road To Georgia.