When your due date is getting close, around pregnancy week 37, you can start packing your hospital bag. Just in case. Regardless of the length of the stay, your experience will be much more pleasant if you feel comfy and assured that you have everything you need. Include your partner so you can double-check the list and equip them as well. A snack or two for your support person is a must!
First pack the go-bag for yourself.
The hospital will likely provide you with some of these items as well, but you might prefer your own comfy versions that will give you an ´at-home´ rather than ´hospitalised´ vibe. That way, your labour, delivery and postpartum time will be much more comfortable.
- Light and loose tops
- Soft joggers or leggings
- Cozy socks
- Slip-on shoes
- Underwear suitable for large pads
- Going-home outfit
There is no telling how long it will take before baby arrives after your water breaks or your contractions start. The hospital may provide you with scrubs to wear until you go into labour, but after giving birth, it will be nice to wear your own clothes.
Post-birth hormones can make you sweat profusely at times so pack light clothes from breathable materials and enough to change too.
Contrary to the dream pictures you may have seen on Instagram, your body will most likely not contract to your pre-pregnancy shape for some time to come. So save the skinny jeans for another occasion and style yourself a comfy going-home outfit. Who´s there to judge; you just pushed a little human being out of that body! And … comfortable is in fashion anyway.
2-3 adjustable nursing bras and breast pads
You may have already been using a nursing bra throughout your pregnancy, but be prepared to adjust the size slightly (or a lot) after your milk starts coming in.
There will also be leakage! Good nursing pads can spare you a wardrobe change or two. Wool pads are reusable and sustainable and they can help soothe inflammation. They may not be completely leak proof though. If you opt for disposable pads, change them regularly to keep your skin dry and prevent cracking or rashes.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hair ties and clips to keep your hair out of your face
- Hair brush
- Lip balm
- Nipple balm
- Shower gel and body lotion
- Shampoo and conditioner
Besides the standard toiletries, just pack your favourite essentials that will make you feel refreshed, hydrated and moisturized. Your mouth and lips are the first on the list to get dry during labour and tend to crack. So trust us on the lip balm.
So glamorous, we know. You can also ask your hospital if they provide them, but this way you get to choose your own. It will take a while for your pelvic muscles to find their way back to normal after giving birth no matter how diligently you have performed your pelvic floor exercises.
- Snacks. That is for during labour and for after delivery. Make it healthy and bring enough.
- Phone charger!
- A list of people you want to call or text. Include your loved ones and the ones that might need to help you. For example, if you own a dog, don´t forget to give your dog-sitter a heads up. It´s their cue too!
- A couple sets of clothes, including a season-appropriate going-home outfit. Don´t forget the little socks either!
- A Baby blanket to swaddle the little one and a couple of burp cloths
- Infant car seat if you’re driving home or stroller if you´re on foot
- Nappies. The hospital should provide plenty, but at least take a few
- Body lotion, nappy cream and baby wipes
For your support person
- Snacks and … more snacks. It´s for them and for them to share with you!
- General entertainment items
- Change for vending machines. Always comes in handy!
All in all, just make sure that you are not bringing too much. The essentials will make the bag heavy as it is and you don´t want to have your partner or other support person dragging a heavy suitcase around when they should be supporting you.
Otherwise, you´re all done! All that is left now is for baby to decide to come out and meet you and the world. You sure are ready for it!