But I wasn’t told about maternity pads or breast pads or other useful things that you need as soon as you’ve had the baby.
I pinned tons of images and posts to Pinterest about what to pack in my hospital bag but, quite frankly, it was totally overwhelming. I packed my bag at 30 weeks and I filled the same case that I took on a two week holiday abroad this year. I just packed SO much stuff.
With my second I had a much better idea and packed so much more efficiently. That was a few years ago now, but with a few friends due to have a baby in the next few months, I decided to write my top tips.
I’d suggest having three smaller bags: one for you, one for baby and one just in case you have to stay in hospital for longer than a night. This way, everything is much more organised, easier to find, less overwhelming and more lightweight!
One For You
- Something to give birth in (big t-shirt or similar)
- Comfy outfit for wearing after/going home in – you’ll look about 6 months pregnant but your stomach will be soft – leggings are your friend! I’d suggest a stretchy jersey dress – black or another darker colour. There are ALOT of bodily fluids kicking about after labour and you’ll feel much more comfortable knowing you’re wearing a colour which hides any stray leakages (I know – gross!)
- Big pants. Don’t get disposables – just go to a cheap store and buy basic cotton pants in a couple of sizes bigger.
- Comfy bra – especially if you’re planning to breastfeed – make it as easy as possible for yourself!
- Maternity pads. Basically really big, thick, padded sanitary towels. You’ll need a lot in those early days but especially just after labour.
- Breast pads – because your boobs might leak (I know – more leakages!)
- Face wipes
- Mini shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant
- Handheld fan
- TENS machine – this saw me through both my labours brilliantly
- Make up
One For Baby
- 5/6 newborn nappies
- Pack of wipes
- Nappy sacks
- 2/3 newborn vests
- Outfit for home
- Bottles and formula if bottle feeding – you can get great little starter packs to take pressure off the preparation whilst you’re in hospital
Don’t forget your car seat if baby will be driven home from hospital!
One Just In Case
So this is why I ended up with a monstrously huge case first time round! I read advice and packed 12 vests and a full pack of nappies and 3 changes of clothes for myself. But you’ll only need these things if you have to stay in hospital. Second time around, I packed these things in a separate bag which we left in the car (this means not having to carry loads of luggage into the hospital!) If we’d needed it, it was there, but it meant we didn’t have a huge great bag full of stuff we didn’t need – such as:
- Extra outfits/sleepsuits for baby
- Pyjamas for you
- Couple of comfy outfits for you
- Extra toiletries
- Home comforts – favourite blanket or something similar
The bonus of this ‘extra’ bag is that if you don’t have to stay in hospital, you can still live out of it for the first few days – you don’t need to unpack it once home, just unpack it as you need until it’s empty! This extra bag also takes the pressure off your other half. I know that if I’d had to stay in hospital and my husband had been sent home for extra clothes and provisions, I’d have worried that he wouldn’t bring the right stuff back!
I’m sure everyone has a few other things they would pack but these are my definitive lists that made my second labour pretty stress-free.
I hope it’s useful 🙂