I finally did it! At 38 weeks I finally packed my hospital bags 🙂 I always love to leave things till the last-minute, but better late than never right? I asked a poll on my Instastories a few weeks back how many of you were still unsure of what to pack in your hospital bags, and 80% commented that they needed help. It’s one of those things where there are so many lists around you never know quite how much to pack or what is actually needed.
You would think that on baby 3 I would pretty much have this down pat by now but there are still things I stress about forgetting. My packing is pretty streamlined and I know exactly what I will need and when so in terms of bag organisation I think I have that down. The only time you should actually stress about not having something you specifically need is whilst you are in labour, so make sure you have a “mini bag” ready for labour. The rest of the time you aren’t actually away in another city, most of the time hubby or support can pop home to fetch something you need if its urgent. I always pack for a 3 day stay as you never know what might happen, even with all the best intentions you may end up having a c-section so rather be over prepared and ready.
Here are the key items I have packed, separated into moms and baby’s bags 🙂
I pack a smaller bag inside my hospital bag, to take with me into the labour room with essentials such as:
Snacks: I cannot emphasize these enough. By the time Yusuf made an appearance I was so hungry I could have attacked anything in sight. The midwife had kindly organized tea and some breakfast for me (it was about 11am by the time I was in my room), but it did not touch sides at all. Hubby was about to go home to get some sleep himself but before I let him go I made him drive to the nearest Woolworth’s and buy 3 ready-made meals. I literally devoured 3 meals before 2pm came around. There is nothing worse than being in your room and a snack attack hits and you don’t having anything to munch on. For my suitcase I pack the Woolworth’s trail mixes, dried fruit, chips and Energades. I also always pack a packet of gum or some mints.
Identity documents – These are pretty important and can be easily missed. I have to lug my passport everywhere but if you are a South African Citizen your ID would suffice).
Socks and Slippers: Your feet get cold! I pack 3 pairs of socks and I always save up those slippers from hotel or spa stays so I pack a pair of disposable slippers ( I don’t want to take them home after walking around a hospital). You can also pack flops for the shower.
Entertainment: This is your own personal preference. I pack my iPod (yes I’m still old school and I own a separate iPod), my Qu’ran (electric and travel size), I listen to the electronic one normally in early stages of labour. This time around I’ll be packing my iPad with a few pre-downloaded Netflix series on as well. I try to sleep as much as I can when I’m in hospital because I know once I’m home and have the other kids around, rest is not something I’ll be getting a lot of. DO NOT FORGET YOUR CHARGERS!
In my Larger bag I pack:
Nursing bras: I pack 3, these are crucial. You will need the support, but you will also need to be able to whip out your boob on a moment’s notice 🙂 We have a wide selection available in South Africa now from the traditional Carriwell to the modern and functional Bravado, Sophie and Jane and Mama Noo Bras
Disposable underwear: Really, they will be your best friend. Apart from my “going home” outfit I don’t even bother with normal underwear when in hospital. I want to throw everything away. So, I pack 4 to 6 pairs to make sure I have enough. At this point I use the good sexy Carriwell high-waisted ones. The ones that look like you are wearing a hair net, on your bum 🙂
Button up Pyjamas: I only realised the power of a button up pyjama top after having Aadam. It was something as a first-time mum I have never even considered before but after my first night in hospital I promptly sent my mum out to buy me a pair from Woolies. There are some utterly gorgeous lounge style pyjamas out there at the moment, with some equally gorgeous price tags 🙂 So for now, my favourites are typically all from Woolworth’s. I pack 3 pairs.
Maternity Pads: You know its real when you have to go out and do the grudge buys like linen savers and maternity pads 🙂 I’m rejoicing at the fact that lil-lets have come to the party with their own range of maternity pads now. Making child-birth a teeeeeny bit more glamorous 🙂 With the boys I used the age-old Carriwell “boats” that you constantly had to check and made sure they didn’t crunch up or shift. I have now stocked up on the lil-lets brand as they are certainly A LOT thinner and look a lot more “user friendly”.
Breast Pads: You may not may not use these while you are still in hospital. Your milk normally “kicks in” on day 3 but boy oh boy when it does you need to be ready for leakage 🙂 As soon as I am home I use cotton washable ones, but in the hospital, I normally pack 2 or 3 disposable ones.
Toiletries: What you pack is completely up to you, but you want to make sure you have the basics covered. I pack my Johnson’s Face Wipes – if you get in visitors but don’t feel up to walking to the bathroom they are ideal for a quick refresh, I keep a pack next to my bed and apply a little make up on to look fresh! I also pack a bar of dove soap, my Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream , Toothbrush ( I throw this away as well when I leave), Toothpaste, Dove deodorant, small bottles of shampoo conditioner and body lotion and my tangle teezer hairbrush. I certainly do not apply full make up when in hospital but I do take my “basics” which include my L’Oreal infallible foundation, Maybelline Colossal Big Shot Mascara, Matsimela lip balm (always always pack lip balm), a brighter shade lippy for a pick me up. I also pack my Dettol instant hand sanitizer. You guaranteed not to run short on a hand sanitizer in the hospital, but its nice to always have your own.
Eye Mask: My cousin gifted me one at my first baby shower with a little note to say that sometimes they don’t switch off the lights or if you want to have a snooze in the day, to “use this”. I thought it was the sweetest thing ever and something I never forget to include now.
Going home outfit: You can pack this but its something ill often get hubby to bring with on day 2 or 3. So that it’s not all creased and “hospitally”. Remember to pack something looser as you will still be swollen.
Bath towel and face cloth: In case you haven’t noticed I have a slight phobia around hospitals and germs. Yes, even though you are in a labour ward, there are still germs!. I always pack my own towel and facecloth. Pack a plastic packet as well to put it in, just in case it’s still damp when its home time.
Blankets: I pack 3 muslin wraps, 1 fresh for each day. They are so lightweight and breathable, and baba is snug as can be. I also pack one softer fleece one to put over baba for a chillier night. You are guaranteed to have at least one leakage episode while in the hospital so pack an extra think blanket for just in case. I love how soft the Maccie Bamboo Muslin Blankets are.
Facecloths: 2 facecloths and one longer burping cloth. My one from Baby Little One is the perfect size!
Dummy: I always pack a dummy, with Aadam we got him on his before we even left the hospital, Yusuf never ever took to one though. The brand we have had the most success with has always been NUK.
Clothing: I pack 4 outfits (you always need a spare for any accidents and if you are having a boy I’d probably pack 5 🙂 Boys like to wee, especially when you take off their nappies 🙂 This time around I have packed outfits together in packs to make it easier to grab for changes. In each pack I’ve put a nappy with a vest, 1 x long sleeve babygro (woolies button up ones are perfect for hospital), socks and a hat. I then have a separate one for baba’s going home outfit. There’s a baby grow my mum in law brought over from the UK before I had Aadam. He went home in it, Yusuf went home in it and I’ve packed it now for this baba too. It’s quite sentimental and super cute 🙂 So that’s at least 3 x vests (I pack 4), 3 x Babygro’s, 3 pairs socks and 3 hats.
Hooded Towels: Baby typically only has one bath while in hospital, so one towel should suffice. Though I do remember with Yusuf they put one down and covered him in one too.
Nappies: That’s a given. The newborn ones normally come in handy smaller packs, perfect for chucking into your hospital bag. My personal preference for newborn nappies is Huggies. They have the best fit and they even go down a bit in the front to accommodate the umbilical cord.
Toiletries: Cotton Wool (for toping and tailing), I also don’t use wet wipes on my newborns, I only use cotton wool and water. Those first few nappies with their black “poop” are always sticky so I prefer a wet piece of cotton wool. A gentle baby wash (I use pure beginnings for my babies), surgical spirits for their umbilical cord and some bum cream. For the first few days I also don’t put body lotion onto baba. I just think their little skin is so soft and pure, If I do need anything I put a little coconut oil onto their skin. Remember newborns typically have skin that peels a bit.
You can download this printable list by clicking on the link below:
The rest is your own personal preference, but I prefer not to overpack and to keep things simple. Don’t forget your chargers. Happy packing and if you are reading this and getting ready to give birth, wishing you a beautiful birth experience, whatever it may be!