Let’s keep this introduction short and sweet. Here’s a list of things you will actually need when going into hospital to give birth. So many people pack the most extensive list of things in their hospital bag that they will not need! I’ve also included a list of things I thought I needed but didn’t end up using. Everything I packed for myself fit into a small suitcase that you could take onto a plane as carry on luggage. I took what I needed and did not want to go overboard. Here is a list of what I think is essential and what’s not
Disposable underwear (Depends)
Seriously number 1 on my list because these are super ESSENTIAL 😂 I’m sorry but I don’t care what anyone thinks of this one. They are the best. Let me start by saying I wish I had gotten these out when the doctors broke my waters. I always thought that when your waters break it all gushes out once and that was it… and perhaps this happens to some people but in my case it didn’t. The whole time I was labouring (for 14 hours) fluid continued to gush out on and off the whole time… Which was super annoying because I had put on my super comfy pjs I had brought to the hospital to wear during my contractions to be as comfy as I could.. and little did I know I was going to feel like I had wet myself the whole time! I changed from these comfy pants and literally had nothing else (except the tights I had worn to the hospital and the pants I would wear home) so my husband gave me his spare shorts. Again.. thought that was the end of the fluid and it wasn’t! So these shorts are what I stayed in the whole time and they were all wet, ugh! So uncomfortable!! So I wish I had used the depends underwear during this time too!
Instead when I did wear them was after Isla was born. Not straight after though, because I had a cesarean I had a catheter and could not walk for a few days so the midwives actually put big pads underneath me for the bleeding. As soon as I was able to get up and shower though I used the depends underwear. They were super comfortable and did the job. I bled for around 9 weeks but only needed the depends for about a week when the bleeding was heavy.
Phone charger (a spare one!)
Obviously to keep your phone charged and ready to go for photos of your bubba, the labour and the birth. I bought a brand new one just to pack in my bag ready to go. If you go into labour packing your phone charger may be the last of your worries. Have one already packed seperate from the one you use every day.
Reusable drink bottle with straw
Yes, one that has a straw to make it easier to drink if you are laying down. I struggle to drink water and always forget to. One thing I wanted to make sure I did during labour is keep hydrated. Having a drink bottle with a straw was the best because I didn’t have to keep taking off the lid to take a sip. I constantly sipped on my straw and drank litres and litres of water. Peter was forever filling up my bottle for me.
Coming home outfit
An obvious one. If you don’t take any other clothes make sure you do pack an outfit to go home in. I took a flowy black dress and stretchy maternity leggings. Comfort. Nothing tight. Leave your favourite jeans at home that you’ve been dying to get back into all pregnancy. Trust me.. you want something loose and baggy.
Loose t-shirt dress
This one isn’t exactly essential for everyone but I am glad I had one. I wore a loose baggy t-shirt dress to walk into hospital for my induction and I laboured in it as well. It was comfortable and worked well. I say it’s not exactly essential because you could just wear the hospital gown. As comfy as the gowns are I personally liked being in my own clothing during labour it made me feel more relaxed and at home (as much as it could make me feel at home). As I already mentioned I also wore peters shorts in the end during labour.. but my t-shirt “dress” wasn’t long enough so I felt the need to wear something underneath. I’d recommend you buy one long enough to labour in!
I know I sound like a broken record but if you don’t want to wear the hospital gown after birth I highly recommend you take a few loose button up shirts if you plan to breastfeed/ do plenty of skin-to-skin with your new bubba. I was told to take button up shirts but instead thought “na, I’ll just take baggy oversized t-shirts” .. you will find breastfeeding in t-shirts is super annoying to have to pull up and then they get in baby’s face when they are feeding. Another reason I stayed in my hospital gown. Also loose baggy pj pants!
I love socks! They make me feel cosy, comfy and at home. Some times hospitals feel cold so take some socks with you. I doubt you’ll want them in labour but afterwards you might appreciate having a thick, fluffy pair.
Again, obviously. Tooth brush, body wash, deodorant, hair brush, face wash, makeup (if you think it will make you feel yourself after birth). I think I packed mine but didn’t use it.
To ease the intensity of your contractions.. I’m kidding in case you didn’t realise. To keep your hair up and out of the way during labour… of course! Some women say they were boiling hot during labour. This didn’t happen to me… maybe because I never had to push! In fact, I just remembered I actually wore my hair down during my labour. But it’s still nice to tie your hair back while you’re in the hospital especially if you don’t feel up to washing your hair!
Your lips can get really dry and cracked during and after labour. I was literally putting lip balm on inbetween contractions. I honestly think this was to help me feel a bit nicer considering I was walking around with wet pants on and swollen legs and feet 😆 the lip balm was refreshing!
Please note ‘SOME’ snacks. I read way to many times that you should bring heaps of snacks. I was in labour for 14 hours and during this time my husband bought me lunch from a shop down the road from the hospital, I had a few bites of a protein bar and some jelly beans. I packed way too much food. So I do suggest packing some snacks but don’t over do it. In the rare scenario you do eat all your snacks and are still thinking about food during labour there are snacks at the hospital you can buy.
Things I thought were essential but didn’t use
Nipple balm and soothing pads
I had read and heard way to many stories about how hard breastfeeding is and how much it hurts that I went and bought nipple balm and soothing pads to get prepared for the pain ahead. But, let me first say that I know everyone has a different experience and breastfeeding is a major adjustment and learning curb, but breastfeeding should not be painful if it’s done right. If you are breastfeeding and experiencing pain see a breastfeeding/lactation consultant. I felt some pain in the beginning when Isla and I were learning what a good latch was but this pain went away when I would take her off and readjust her latch. So personally I don’t think it’s essential to pack nipple care products or even buy them until you need them (if you do). I can see how some women may find these products useful for tender nipples when getting use to breastfeeding or for days when your baby is unsettled and feeding constantly. But I don’t think these are essential in a hospital bag.
If you pack ‘Depends’ disposable underwear you will not need pads as well. Keep these for when you are home and your bleeding has slowed down. Don’t bother packing them as well.
Clothing for each day
I wore the hospital gown the whole time I was in hospital (6 days!). This surprised me because I thought I would want to wear my own clothing but it was just easier to wear the gown while I was learning to breast feed and laying down so much (due to having a cesarean). I am not saying don’t pack any clothes. But really, you don’t need multiple outfits. One or two max… or if you really want to be minimal.. seriously don’t bring any except for clothes to go home in and wear the gown.
Way too many snacks
As I already mentioned above I packed way too much food that just took up space in my bag!
Of course this is all very personal to me and what you think may be essential could be different to what I believe is essential to pack. If you aren’t sure what your hospital provides or recommends you take ask your midwife!
Leave a comment below and let me know what essentials you will be taking!
Until next time