Tuesday 28 June 2011

Hospital Bag for Childbirth

I'm a member of a few parenting forums and this question is often asked. Instincitvely I had a very strong feeling that I wasn't going to get to my Expected Due Date of the 7th August. What I thought would happen is that I would be admitted during my pregnancy for monitoring, and I commenced packing my hospital bag at 24 weeks. Spooky!

I know people get superstitious about these things but I truly think its a good idea to pack a "desert island" bag at 24 weeks, and then add to it as you progress in your pregnancy. Afterall you are going to need this stuff eventually aren't you?

I've asked this question on Twitter and Facebook and some of the answers have come from experienced mums. What has been a recurring theme is food! Packing food for labour and in the recover period and I think this is worthy of a seperate post.

These are ideas of inclusions, you may or may not find you need all these things, but these are suggestions that have come from a number of women (no men, sadly)

To pack for mum, you can do this from 24 weeks ish
I wouldn't necessarily pack this all at once, but keep a little list on the top of the bag and write down an item as it goes in, so you know what you've packed, and also so your birth partner knows what is in there. No point digging for the toothpaste if its not there! 
  • Anything you normally require to exist happily and safely - for example for me its Ventolin, for others it might be contact lense solution or a specific prescription item. The last thing you want to be doing is running around panicking about essential items.
  • Moisturiser, lip balm and hand cream - you can get sample sizes of these just to pop into your bag. Hospitals are very drying, and especially if you have a NICU stay in front of you, your hands will thank you for packing hand cream. I'd even go as far as to say an alcohol free sanitising hand gel is a good idea. The hospital ones are extremely harsh, I don't have very sensitive skin and my hands were a mess. If you've had cannulas in the alcohol based ones will bring a tear to your eye.
  • Big knickers - it could be the paper knickers (I couldn't find any big enough) for me I went and got the cheapest Evans knickers I could find 2 sizes bigger than I normally wear and I bought these at 24 weeks. They were invaluable and the best thing I purchased. They sat over my section scar and just made me feel more comfortable.
  • Toileteries - Becky on my Facebook page made a fabulous suggestion about buying a shower gel on a hook! Bending over either pregnant, newly delivered or following a section is hard. Toothpaste and toothbrush is essential to pack early.
  • Comfy pyjamas with a top suitable for breastfeeding. I didn't buy maternity pyjamas. Marks and Spencer sell the most wonderful black pyjama pants. They are stretchy jersey and accommodate your changing shape, but are ok when your not pregnant. I got a couple of tops there to match. I bought these at 24 weeks and popped them in my bag. I wore them after Joseph was born, and I could get away with them as trousers down on the unit!
  • If your a couple, a photo of the two of you, or a photo of yourself if your a single mum. I strongly believe that having a photo in an incubator is a wonderful thing, it makes you feel a bit like you are watching over your baby, and it also ensures everyone knows who you are. I packed one in my hospital bag and I am very glad I did.
  • A little cuddly toy. I wouldn't pack anything baby specific at 24 weeks, unless you really want to, but a toy, just in case of early arrival, is nice. We had a stripey zebra that stayed with Joseph through out his stay.
  • Paper and pen. You might want to keep a diary, but as a bare minimum a little spiral notebook is fabulous. You may want to take notes of pertinent points you are being told, you might want to make notes of questions to ask or concerns you have, or just to keep a record.
  • Maternity pads and breast pads - I didn't have these packed, and I wish I had. I was going to wait til a bit later on, but they're something your going to need at some point, so why not? Boots, Mothercare and supermarkets stock these and they are handy to have. You can also get washable breast pads, which is what I would have bought.
  • Something to read, or play, or listen to. I packed my iPod, some books, and my DSLite, but I thought I was getting six weeks bed rest. Sigh. 
  • One decent post birth outfit. I believe its a good idea to pack something respectable, in a maternity or a bit larger than your pre birth size. If your baby goes into NICU you might have to speak to doctors and other staff, and its a lot nicer for you if your not doing it in your pyjamas, and gives you a bit more credibility. It's not essential, but I'm glad I had something respectable packed.
  • Socks and or slippers. Wards can be quite chilly at night.
  • A decent cardigan that can double as a dressing gown.
  • Bra - I wouldn't suggest you go and buy an expensive nursing bra, but a friend on twitter suggested a sports crop top which is a great idea. They stretch to accommodate growing breasticles, and are comfortable.
  • Camera, memory cards and batteries - I'd keep this handy not necessarilly packed. We used our camera right from the beginning and I'm not normally a camera person!
To pack later, say from 34 weeks  
  • Baby clothes - there's a couple of ways of doing this. Personally if I had the resources I would buy a packet of vests and 3 sleepsuits/babygros in early, tiny, newborn and 0-3 size. If you don't need the small ones, they can be sold on eBay or donated to your local Special Care Baby Unit. If you don't have the right size it isn't the end of the world, as you can make do, but I think its less stress inducing if you have your bases covered. For very early babies the unit will be able to provide you essentials in the early days. 
  • Nappies - similarly I would buy a packet of micro, and then some newborn nappies. There are variations in the sizes of nappies, but the Pampers micro are, to my knowledge, the smallest commercially available nappies. Pampers do make a special teeny size that are only available to units. In our unit, once mother was an outpatient, we were required to bring our own in, once the baby was out of the specialist ones, and for some mothers, that meant immediately.
  • Snacks - I am going to do a seperate post on food, but I would pack these now rather than earlier. 
  • My good friend Jax recommends a large jar of vaseline, socks make a poor weapon to throw at annoying medical staff! (a tongue in cheek suggestion I hope!)
  • Nursing bra - Getting fitted is recommended in late pregnancy, I really loved the Bravado range and recommend them to everyone. What I liked about these is that they are stretchy but supportive so if your size changes a bit, these will accomodate you. They also make a crop top which is fabulous for kangaroo care.
 I hope this list has proven helpful, and please let me know if there is anything I have missed


  1. Great post!!! I actually got sent an advert for some sort of daddy bag... I forget what it was called but it was aimed at the father for the hospital stay.... it mainly had food and Gatorade in it ha ha ha and was about £100?!

    We looked like we were moving in and Im glad because given induction and csection we were in for 6 days, I had framed pictures, dvds, laptop; we webcast from the delivery room.... not actually during-that was fb status updates- but directly before and after we had virtual visitation with a web conferance room where more than one person could "visit us" at a time great being 4200 miles from my home and 2000miles from Matts friends. Im not a huge fan normally and I know you said youd cover food later but I have to put it here so I wont forget. Our hospital had a break room with snacks etc and Matt lived on those little lunchable things it was great for a snack and all packed up nicely. Lip salve was a definate must because you get dehydrated and I dont know if they have it in England but a little sponge so that you can wet your lips without actually drinking during labour oh oh oh and one last thing, I had an awesome lactation consultant and she gave me little plastic tubs of sugar water. When babe first comes to feed you may need a little help encouraging them to latch, you syringe just a little of this sweet water into their mouth and then they get the idea about opening to latch on... Charlie did straight away and then nursed for 25minutes first time. The nurse said they normally expect 3-5minutes first time. Ive read horror stories of friends trying for 8 hours to get that first latch so I think that would be my top pick :)

    loves xxxxx

  2. This is a great list and a great post overall anyway--how spooky that you sensed to pack early!

  3. Because of the gestational diabetes I expressed colostrum in the couple of weeks before going into labour (starting at about 36 weeks), stored it in syringes in the freezer and took it in an insulated lunchbag with a freezer block so Avery could have a supplementary feed of my milk if he needed it. Was so glad I did this.
    Obviously something to talk to health care providers about before as expressing can stimulate contractions.

  4. It's amazing to pay a quick visit this web site and reading the views of all mates about this paragraph, while I am also zealous of getting familiarity.

    Also visit my web-site :: http://www.prweb.com/releases/silkn/Sensepilreview/prweb10193901.htm

  5. Ιt's appropriate time to make a few plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I'vе гeaԁ this post аnԁ
    if I may I deѕirе tо recommеnd уou ѕome interesting issueѕ оr suggestiοnѕ.
    Maybe you can write subsеquent articlеs гefeггing to this artіclе.
    Ι wish to read more іѕsues about іt!

    My ωebpage :: V2 Cigs Reviews
    My page: Read the Full Content

  6. Yeѕterԁaу, ωhile I was at worκ, my
    sіsteг stоle mу apρle ipаd and teѕted to ѕee if it can surνive
    а thiгty fοot dгop, just so she can
    be a уoutubе sensation. Μy apple ipаd is now destroуed anԁ
    ѕhe hаs 83 vieωs. I κnow thіs іs totallу οff topiс but ӏ had to
    ѕhаrе it ωith someone!

    Feel free tο ѕurf tο mу web-sitе: scottaar.scripts.mit.edu

  7. Fine way of tеlling, and goοd ρaragraph to get infοrmation conceгning mу
    pгesentatіon subjесt, ωhiсh i am goіng tо
    ρгesent in inѕtіtution of higher

    Heгe iѕ my webрage :: www.sfgate.com

  8. I've read some good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you set to make this kind of excellent informative site.

    Feel free to surf to my web page; v2 cigs reviews

  9. Hellо theгe! Would you mind if Ι sharе yοur blоg with
    my faсеbook group? There's a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thank you

    Also visit my weblog: zakshare.Com
    My website - Usaveahead.Pixnet.Net

  10. Yeѕ! Finally ѕomеthіng abοut сοuгu.

    my weblog just click the following document

  11. ӏ ωas ablе to find gooԁ advіce from уour blog аrtіcles.

    Here is my weblοg; wearegamers.asia
    Also see my page: Going to http://www.prweb.com

  12. I used to bе suggеsted thіs blog by waу of my cousіn.
    I am not sure whetheг or not this submit is written by
    him as nobody elѕe know such detailed approximately my problem.

    You're amazing! Thanks!

    Review my webpage: Silk'n Senѕepil Review

  13. Fantaѕtiс websitе. A lοt of usеful informatіon here.
    Ι'm sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you for your sweat!

    Also visit my webpage; visit the up coming webpage
    My webpage > joozr.com

  14. I'm curious to find out what blog system you happen to be utilizing? I'm expегiencing sοme minοr secuгitу іѕѕueѕ with mу latest site
    and I'd like to find something more risk-free. Do you have any suggestions?

    Review my weblog ... Buy Silk'n Sеnsepіl

  15. Great pοst. I waѕ checkіng constantlу this blоg аnd I am impressed!
    Veгy helрful information speсifiсally thе
    last ρart :) I сare for suсh info much.

    I was seеking this ρаrticular іnfo fог a lоng timе.
    Thank уοu and gooԁ luсk.

    Feel free to suгf to my web-site .
    .. V2 Cigs Reviews
    My website :: v2 cigs review

  16. Hey thегe! I just want tο giνe you а huge thumbѕ up for your excellеnt info уou havе got rіght herе
    оn this post. I am coming back tο youг ωebsіtе foг moгe soon.

    my ωeb-sitе; Prweb.Com

  17. Hеllo! Ι coulԁ have ѕworn I've been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it's nеω tο me.
    Anyωаys, I'm definitely glad I found it and I'll bе bоok-marking and checκіng bасk οftеn!

    my sitе; Learn Additional

  18. I love reading your posts!! They are worth reading...www.mommyliciousmaternity.com/