Thinking about packing your hospital bag and not sure where to start? If you’re in your third trimester, this is one of the most important things to do in the lead up to the arrival of your new baby, and early in this trimester is the perfect time to get all the essentials together!
Working out where to start can be a little overwhelming – you want to make sure you have all the must-have’s covered, but there’s also no reason to go overboard either! Read on to find out what you really need in your hospital bag, and when to pack it!
Packing Your Hospital Bag – When to have it ready
Early in your third trimester is when you want to start thinking about what you’ll need for the birth of your baby. After all, in those final weeks when you’re feeling ready to pop, you definitely won’t be feeling like shopping! No matter what type of birth you have planned, it’s a good idea to pack that hospital bag and have it ready by around 35-36 weeks, and possibly earlier if you are having twins or if your OB thinks you may go into labour early, or if you have any high-risk considerations to take into account.
You can also think about packing two bags, one for labour and just after baby is born, and another for your postnatal stay. If you’re discharged early after a very straightforward birth, you may not even need the second bag at all! (We love the Cabin Carry On bag and Shoulder Bags by Storksak which are perfect for this)
Packing Your Hospital Bag – Must Haves for Labour
– Paperwork – Health insurance, Medicare card, hospital papers, copies of your birth plan if you have one and maternity notes
– An old nightie or t-shirt and light dressing gown – no need to buy anything special as it’s guaranteed to get a bit messy…and the dressing gown comes in handy when you’re pacing those corridors!
– Slippers/Socks – Feet get cold during labour!
– Lip Balm – Not only do feet get cold but lips tend to get dry too!
– Glasses/Contact Lenses if you wear them. But be aware that you can’t wear contacts if you have a c-section and glasses can fog up, so best to have both on hand just in case!
– Hairbands/hair ties to keep your hair out of your face.
– A few snacks and drinks to keep your energy levels up, but don’t go overboard. Many mums are happy enough to chew on ice, suck on some sweets, or don’t feel like eating at all.
– Items to distract you and help pass the time. Think very light reading, games, ipad to watch TV shows or listen to music.
– Items to give you that extra bit of comfort – pillows, massage oil if you want to be massaged, heat pack, TENS machine if you’re planning to use one. Hot Tip – if you’re planning to bring pillows, use a coloured case so there’s no chance of mix ups with the hospital ones!
Packing Your Hospital Bag – Must Haves for Your Birth Partner
– Make sure your partner is fully across your birth plan, especially in the event that you might need them to express your wishes if you can’t.
– Watch with second hand to time contractions.
– Change of clothes.
– Phone/Camera if you wish to take photos or video. Make sure your partner has all the important people you want to keep updated saved as a group on their phone!
– Snacks and Drinks – you don’t want a hungry birth partner out searching for sustenance when you need them with you!
Packing Your Hospital Bag – Must Haves For after the Birth
– Loose comfy clothes to wear at the hospital and for when you go home. Your maternity clothes are a good option and don’t forget a nightie or pyjamas with easy access for breastfeeding and skin to skin.
– 2-3 Nursing bras and breastpads…and don’t forget nipple cream!
– Maternity pads and comfortable granny undies or even better, disposable ones.
– Toiletries – Hairbrush, toothbrush & toothpaste, deodorant, skincare, makeup if you fancy it! Travel sizes are perfect. Hot Tip: Buy a lovely new body wash you’ve never used before. Use it in the hospital and then take it home and use it on special occasions to bring back the memories of your birth!
– Notepad and Pen for tracking feeds, jotting down questions for your OB, midwife or paediatrician etc
– Breastfeeding pillow if you have one
Packing Your Hospital Bag – Must Haves For your Baby
– Firstly, make sure you have your infant car seat installed!
– Newborn nappies, wipes or cotton balls to use with water
– A few outfits and perhaps a special one for going home. All in one cotton onesies/sleepsuits (ones with foldover hands are great) and singlets are perfect and 2-3 should be enough unless you have a longer hospital stay. Don’t forget a beanie and socks. Head here for a list of the clothing you really need for your new baby.
– Muslins (for burping, swaddling and everything else) and a warm blanket if the weather is cold
– Dummy if you plan on using one
– Formula and bottles if you’re not planning to breastfeed
– Hot Tip: If you have an older child, don’t forget a little present for them from the baby, and likewise your older child can choose a little present for the baby too. Click here for some tips on helping your older child adjust to the new baby.
Wondering what else you can plan now that your hospital bag is sorted? Grab our FREE FIRST AID & BABYPROOFING CHECKLISTS here and have them sent straight to your inbox today!
Catherine Nelson-Williams is the author of this article and founder of The Nursery Collective. She is a mum of two and juggles being a WAHM with blogging and running The Nursery Collective – a haven for mamas navigating the early years of motherhood, where you can find unique boutiques and services for Mum, Baby & Kids all in the one place.