I've picked up a few tips...
So you’re about to have a baby. And you’re wondering what to pack for the hospital trip?
You may have read some wacky things like it’s imperative that your partner pack bendy straws and a hand held fan to keep you hydrated and cool simultaneously during labour and thought, yeahhhh nah, not so sure about that. Or, you’ve got a rough idea but keen to see what other people put in theirs…either way, you may find something useful (or not) below!
Well, since I’ve had this convo a bit lately I thought I’d pass on some top tips that I picked up over my four births about what can be useful. I’m not going to go into recovery stuff – I’ve already written about that (check my blog post for my c section recovery plan).
Some of this I suppose is dependent on where you give birth and how long you’re going to stay, so you may need to pack more, or less, depending on your plan. But don’t fret, whatever you don’t have you can send your partner or support person out to get for you. Or perhaps pack a secondary bag with the extras and leave it in the car.
For the Mama;
-Snacks. You might get hungry before or during and if not then definitely after. Hospital food is, shall we say, not the nicest generally speaking, and you may want to snack in the middle of the night. I also took herbal tea bags which I loved. I took some of the little bird cookies, some macarons, some grawnola, and I pre packed a smoothie, celery juice and almond milk which was put in a fridge bag that my Mum brought in when she came that evening. There are fridges on the wards in the hospitals so you can take things in.
-Probiotics – I packed a bottle of kefir water from the kefir company. I also had another probiotic drink because I had IV antibiotics and wanted to start the gut repair process.
-If you’re going in a birth pool maybe some togs/bikini top if you want
-Camera + extra battery
-Phone & charger – I took a power bank/portable charger which was handy so I didn’t have to get out of bed post surgery to charge my phone.
-Maternity bras or singlets. If you haven’t got these already go and get some. 2 or 3.
-Breast pads and maternity pads. Maternity pads will probably be provided for you, but you’ll be needing these when you get home.
- Stuff for your milk makers - I took my Haakaa Pump that my sister kindly got for me, some silverettes that my friend lent me for keeping my nipples happy, and some shea butter that another friend kindly had delivered to me the morning of the surgery.
-Pyjamas – comfy ones that button down for easy breastfeeding. I have bought a new pair each baby as a little pressy to myself.
-Big undies. CRUCIAL. I got a 5 pack of massive undies from kmart.
After birth your belly is still big, and if you have a wound or stitches anywhere you wont want any pressure from undies on it. So granny panties are a must! Even without a wound you’ll be needing to use a gigantic maternity pad which feels like a nappy so big granny panties are the ticket
-Toiletries. Brushing your teeth and washing your hair will feel like a total luxury. To save room get mini’s or put your faves into smaller containers.
-SOCKS – for keeping those tootsies warm.
-Eyemask, earplugs and headphones are a great idea if you’re likely to be sharing a room (I ended up sharing a room in hospital and headphones were really key so I could listen to music and drown out the chatting of the other people and their visitors.
-Comfy clothes for heading home in. High waisted if you’re anticipating/expecting a c section.
-Not necessary but you may like, slippers, dressing gown, things to pass the time like colouring pencils and book, music, comfy pillow, magazines, book.
-Jandals! Handy for showering. Not ideal to head home with a dose of fungus on the feet.
For your baby;
CARSEAT (leave this in the car until you’re being discharged, obvs – make sure you’ve done a practise run with knowing how to put the baby in it/strap it in the car).
If you don’t have any woollens, now is the time to get some or borrow some. When your baby is born, they won’t be able to regular their temperature well, and even though it may be warm for an adult, it’s going to feel cold for your little cherub. EVEN if you’re having a baby in the summertime, you’ll still need to pack wool.
I remember being asked by my midwife what I’d packed in my bag for the hospital with my first child. I had naively packed all cotton gear and cooler items like singlets in case it was hot because it was summer. She informed me then that woollies needed to be on the list and kindly explained why. I actually had no idea, and felt a bit sheepish. But woollies in the middle of summer seems counter intuitive.
The thing is, baby clothes are TINY so you really can pack quite a bit into a bag. Also, without knowing how long you’re likely to stay in care for, or what size your baby is going to be, it’s best to have more than less.
Keep your materials natural rather than synthetic for breathability. In fact, just don’t dress your baby in synthetic materials at all. Fabrics like fleece do not breath and you don’t want your baby to over heat. Natural fibres are key. Think cottons and woollies. No doubt you’ll have a cute baby outfit, so pack it. Baby clothes vary greatly from place to place. What is a ‘newborn’ size somewhere, is possibly a 0-3 month size somewhere else.
Personally, I love onesies as they help keep the nappy in place and keep a layer on the skin.
I packed 4-6 outfits consisting of onesies, pants, and woollen cardigans.
Hats are key, so pack some woollen beanies.
Booties are super cute but in reality they are hard to keep on, so to keep their feed warm put tiny newbown sized socks on first before the booties go on. Or pack the pants or onesies that have their feet included.
Muslin cloths and woollen baby blankets are key, both for wrapping the baby in in hospital and also for the carseat on the way home. And for burping cloths – make the most of the hospital cloths though they are great!
A long muslin cloth is also great for rolling up and putting around your baby’s head if it needs support in the carseat.
A pacifier – even if you don’t believe in them your baby might. There’s a real stigma about dummies I find. I’m all for them. My first two babies didn’t care for them, but my third and fourth enjoyed/enjoy them. My third loved his until around 9 months when he decided he didn’t want it anymore. My fourth baby is only a few weeks old but loves it. It’s also really handy for the times she wants a comfort feed without the milk aka a comfort suck. That’s when colic like symptoms can present, when your baby has overfed when all he or she is looking for is some comfort. I’m not worried about whether she’ll be still using it when she’s 15, I’m sure she’ll give it up when she’s ready and if not, I’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. In the meantime, it’s helping provide her with comfort and aiding her sleep. She is gaining weight really well – she was back to her birth weight around 5 days in, and has grown 2 cm per week that she’s been earthside so I’m not worried about her gains.
Al the very best with your birth! Would love to hear what other things you’ve found useful in your bag? Email me!