Hospital Bag Checklist
At around 36 weeks of pregnancy it’s a good idea to get your Hospital Bag packed with all the things you will need for labour and the birth. If you are intending to have your baby at home you will still want to gather these things together so that they can be found easily when the time arrives.
When I had my babies it was recommended to pack two bags, one with items that you will need for the labour, and another with items that you and the baby will need during your stay at hospital. I must admit that both times I gave birth these were both completely mixed up by about half-way through labour!
This is no longer the advice, so just get yourself any bag you like that everything will fit into.
So What Should I Take?
Your hospital or midwife should be able to provide you with a list of what you will need, as different hospitals will have their own requirements. Some hospitals will provide washable nappies during your stay and do not allow disposables to be used. Some prefer to provide formula milk themselves if you are not going to breastfeed.
It's a good idea to check your hospital's policy on mobile phone use. You may only be able to use your phone in specified areas of the hospital for example.
Finally be wary of taking anything of any financial value such as a good camera, tablet or laptop or a lot of cash. Sadly items are stolen in hospitals and if you are rushed off to theatre for a caesarean you won’t be able to take anything in with you.
What to Pack in your Hospital Bag
- Your maternity notes (most important, especially if you have had any complications in your pregnancy), any other paperwork that you need and your birth plan if you have one.
- Clothes – An old T-Shirt or nightdress, one you don’t mind getting ruined, some socks – you can get cold in labour, I got cramp it was so cold in my delivery room.
- TENS machine if you are using one.
- Books or magazines in case things take a long time.
- Snacks and drinks, if you are allowed to eat during labour, or need to sneak something in desperation. You will also need food for your birth partner, as you can guarantee that the hospital café won’t be open when you need it.
- 2 front opening nightdresses (PJs are agony if you have stitches!), dressing gown and slippers, nursing bra, breastpads and nipple cream.
- Some day clothes for going home in, and to wear during the day if you are kept in for a few days.
- Old, cheap or disposable pants and maternity/sanitary towels. Proper maternity towels are worth the extra money are usually a little softer if you have had stitches.
- Toilet bag with anything you would normally take for a couple of days away – toothbrush and toothpaste, face flannel, soap, shower gel, moisturiser etc. Maybe some make-up too, if your local newspaper visits the hospital to photograph babies for its new arrivals page!
- Any prescription drugs which you take.
- You may also wish to take your iPod/mp3/DVD player, massage oils or anything else which you may feel will help you get through, maybe a picture of someone special or a water spray.
- Newborn nappies, nappy sacks and cotton wool
- 2 or 3 sleepsuits, 2 or 3 vests
- Warm clothes or a sunhat for going home in as appropriate
- Scratch mitts
- Muslin cloths for cleaning up milky dribbles
- Feeding equipment if required, for example bottles or breast pump
- Nappy cream and baby bath/shampoo
Finally you will need a car seat if you are taking the baby home in a car; most hospitals will not let you leave until they have seen a baby car seat.
If that all seems too much you can get pre-filled maternity bags at Amazon.co.uk and My Hospital Bag.
Free Printable Hospital Bag Checklist We've left a few extra lines for you to add anything else that you want to take with you.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.