One of my girlfriends is about to have a baby. She was packing her hospital bag and I told her that I have a packing list that I can share. Many of the girls in my mothers group loved this list so I thought I’d share it here on the blog too. You can download the packing list as an excel template which means you will be able to edit and change it to suit your own needs.
TOP 5 THINGS TO PREPARE FOR
I originally wrote this packing list while I was pregnant with my first baby. I had no idea what to expect or what I would need. Now that I’m on the flip side there are a few things that really stood out for me as “important”.
- My phone & charger + these 3 amazing phone apps & my hypnobirthing tracks loaded onto itunes
- Hydrogel discs + Lansinoh – start using these on your boobs from day one regardless if you have pain or not. It will prevent soreness later on.
- A really nice shower gel – your first shower after birth is a transformational experience. Take your time and enjoy it.
- Pear juice, flushable wipes and/or soft toilet paper, maternity pads and high waisted black undies.
- At least one button up onesie and a beautiful baby blanket for my little one.
I am so glad I packed the above items. Thank you to the girls in my mothers group for recommending them to me.
A bit of a warning here… this list is really really long! It is a comprehensive list that I have collaborated from the advice of my friends, family and mothers groups. Every time somebody suggests an item, I add it to the list. Not all items are appropriate for everyone. I encourage you to look through the list and just pick and choose what is appropriate for you. Everybody is different and every birth is different. This is simply a useful guide for those who like to be organised.
I have added in my “post-pregnancy” commentary where appropriate.
I hope this helps you during your own pregnancy!
WHAT TO PACK FOR THE BIRTH OF YOUR BABY:
There are a few different bags to pack and other things to have around before all the action begins. I have split the lists up in to different sections:
- Car Stuff – Items to leave in the car from 36 weeks onwards
- At Home Stuff – Items to have at home for labour preparation & pain management. You want to stay at home for as long as possible. Delay going to hospital until you feel ready.
- Birth Bag – The birth bag is a back pack or something that is easy for your partner (or support person) to throw over the shoulder and run with. No wheels, nothing too big, small enough to keep in the car at all times. I also had a second “birth bag” (Woolies Chiller Bag) for food and snacks.
- Your Hospital Bag – A medium size suitcase on wheels, that is easy to pull or push and doesn’t take up too much space (the hospital rooms are not very big and they don’t have much storage space).
- Partner’s Hospital Bag (Support Person’s Bag) – Overnight bag for his stay at the hospital. Please note that not all hospitals allow for partners to stay over at night. So, if they are not staying, then you don’t really need to worry about this bag.
- Baby’s Hospital Bag – A nappy bag style bag for all of the baby’s clothes and toiletries.
I have also listed a few items of WHAT NOT TO PACK and WHAT TO HAVE AT HOME for when you come home with your new baby.
Let’s start with the all the pre birth stuff..
KEEP IN THE CAR – FROM 36 WEEKS ONWARDS
- Birth bag and all the items you want to have at your birth.
- Bucket or spew bag – handy in case of vomiting.
- Car seat for the baby – installed and double checked by an authorised safety officer.
- Car seat protector – in case your waters break while you are driving or in the car. I got mine from Kmart.
- Large white towel -If your waters break while you are travelling to the hospital use a white towel. It will help record the colour of the fluid so that you can show the midwives.
- Bucket or spew bag – Handy in case of vomiting
- Plastic tarp or bed cover or towel for your bed – Use in the final few weeks in case your waters break over night while you are in bed. This will protect your bed mattress. You may like to keep one in the car too. I got a protector from Kmart.
- Gatorade/PowerAde – recommended by some midwives to keep you hydrated as it restores electrolytes.
- Fit ball – good for the final 4-6 weeks. Helps to get the baby in to “position” and good for movement during labour
- Heat packs – heat will help with pain and cramps
- Hot towels – 0ld cloth nappies, terri towels are good for this. Dip in boiled water. Use gloves so you don’t burn your hands. The heat will help with pain and cramps.
- Timer/Stop Watch/Phone App – to time contractions/surges.
- Hot Water Bottles – heat will help with pain and cramps.
- Last Minute Bag List – all the items that still need to be packed or last minute packing e.g. phones, keys, chargers.
- Contact List – Professional help and & support including: ABA, Lactation Consultant, OB, GP, Pediatrician, Acupuncturist. Stick this list on your fridge! It should be a quick reference tool for when you get home from the hospital.
- Emergency Contact List Including – Hospital, OB, GP, Birth Team, Hubby, Back Up Driver, Taxi. Stick this to the fridge, just in case you are home with a friend or family member and they need to do the calling for you.
- Clothes you plan to give birth in – but most people are naked even if they have intentions to wear something. I wore an Intimo LBD dress/skirt but then I had to change in to a hospital gown to have an emergency caesarean.
- Swim togs – this might be important for a sense of privacy during the early stages of labour, if you are video recording or if you are planning a water birth. However, most people are naked even if they have intentions to wear something.
- Dressing gown – to travel from the birth suite to the room.
**You don’t need any of these items if you have a caesarean (planned or emergency) as you will be in surgery clothes.
For Your Partner:
- Closed in shoes for your partner – in case of a caesarean as it is a surgery room requirement.
- Boardies for your partner – so that he can get in the shower with you while the midwives are helping.
- Change of clothes for your partner (undies, singlet, t-shirt, shorts) for after the shower or in case he has to come straight from work or in case you vomit or something disgusting happens.
- Any medication your partner needs e.g. Ventilin for Asthma
- Last Minute list – All the items that still need to be packed or last minute packing e.g. phones, keys, chargers
- Birth Plan/Preferences x 4-5 copies -Hubby, Midwives, OB + Back Up
- Hospital ID number – save in your phone for checking in to the hospital
- Call list – People you want to call/text when baby is born
- Camera + Camera Charger- small waterproof point & shoot – For water proof photos or in case phone batteries die. (To be honest, my iphone takes AMAZING photos, I wouldn’t bother with a camera now. Not unless I was having a water birth and really wanted the underwater pics).
- Ipod docking station/speakers or a connector cord – Check with your hospital to see if one is available in the room. Otherwise take your own for music.
- Music playlist on phones or iPod – Favourite songs, hypnobirthing tracks, relaxation.
- Phone chargers x 2 (yours + your partner’s)
- Antibacterial Hand Gel – For the trip to the hospital – just in case. The hospital should have antibacterial gel available for you to use throughout your stay but it is also good to keep one at home and in your nappy bag to cleanse your hands before/after nappy changes.
- Optional Laxative/Enema – To prevent doing number 2 when pushing out the baby.
- Face washers x 2 different colours – To cool the forehead and to sooth the perineum. Use two colours to avoid confusion.
- Flushable Wipes – To keep clean after going to the toilet. Also good for recovery period after birth – see “my bag list”. Please note that flushable wipes are not always “flushable”. Put them in the bin like pads/nappies/baby wipes to avoid clogging up your pipes at home or at the hospital. If you want to be more environmentally friendly, use cold wash cloths instead.
- Lip Balm – You can get really dry lips during labour
- Panadol – Pain relief on the way to the hospital or at home
- Rennies or other “safe” intergestion tables – for heart burn
- Acupuncture Pressure Points – cheat sheet for your partner to use – provided by the acupuncturist professionals.
- Aromatherapy Oils – Use on a tissue and not in an oil burner because you can’t get rid of the smell in the room if you don’t like it.
- Blue tac or sticky tape – To put up the vision board/ images or photos on the wall.
- Vision board / images or photos – Put it up on the wall for a focus point
- Contractions counter phone app (pre-downloaded on to both of our phones) – To start counting contractions/surges when they happen.
- Stop watch (on both our phones) – To time the contractions
- Hypnobirthing tracks (on both phone & iPod) – Listen to these during labour
- doTERRA Essential Oils or Massage oils – For pain relief/management
- Massage roller
- Pain management list – ABC cheatsheet for hubby – A list of all pain relief options and strategies that I have planned and practiced. This is a cheat sheet for hubby & midwives.
- Stress ball – squeeze & relax
- Tennis ball – for your partner to use to rub your back
- TENS machine – Pain relief machine (I borrowed one of these machines from a family member. It was great to use at home during labour. However you wouldn’t need to take it to the hospital with you).
- TENS machine – extra pads
- Water bottle – to drink water
- Water bottle – To spray water on the face and back during labour. A few drops of doTERRA Essential Oils can be soothing.
Post Birth Evaluation:
When I was packing my hospital bag I had the philosophy that I would take along everything and then decide what I needed on the day. For me, it was better to have choice rather than to not have an item available it I wanted it.
I was in labour for 4 days but then ended up having an emergency caesarean. For this reason the list changed a lot for me. I used a lot of the items in my “birth bag” at home during the early hours of labour and I only took a few small items with me to the hospital. I kept in my hands a small cross made from onyx, a bag of pure lavender and I listened to my hypnobirthing tracks over and over again… at home, in the car, at the hospital and during the surges. And… I had my husband with me. He was amazing. He coached me through every step, he knew how to help me with my pain management techniques and he remembered all of the skills that we learn’t together in our classes.
I didn’t use the tennis ball or any of the massage oils. I forgot to take the small waterproof camera (which didn’t matter because I wasn’t allowed to have a shower or get in the bath anyway) and I didn’t finish my vision board in time since my baby was born a little earlier than expected and I thought I still had time to complete it.
As I said earlier, the items on this list are not for everyone. It is just a list of ideas. Pick and choose what is right for you.
YOUR HOSPITAL BAG
- Feeding Tops – Tops that have easy access for breastfeeding. I used the bonds clip singlets and also feeding tops from nursing mama. You will want to change clothes twice a day to feel fresh.
- Maternity bras with clips for breastfeeding – bras which are supportive and easy to take off to feed baby.
- Pants/Yoga Pants/ or PJ Pants – High pants, just in case you have a caesarean – no hipsters that might rub on the scar. You will want to change clothes twice a day to feel fresh. I loved Cotton On Body pants. They were really comfy.
- Cardi/cover up jackets – Especially if it is winter. Hospitals can get cold because of the air conditioning.
- Cheap black undies that you can throw away – LOTS! Minimim 10-15 pairs – So they can be thrown away after stains from bleeding after birth. (I used these undies but didn’t stain them or need to throw them away. They were fine to reuse however lots of other girls say that they throw them away.)
- Dressing gown – With pockets – easy to throw on – winter/warm or summer/cool.
- Going home outfit – Something comfortable to wear and something that you can easily feed in. (I totally stuffed this up. The going home outfit I chose covered my shoulders and boobs. I had to take the dress off to feed. This made it very inconvenient to pack up our hospital room and go home in sync with baby’s feed times. I didn’t realise that absolutely everything I wear from now on will need to be feeding friendly – now I know).
- Pj’s – button up and high waisted or slip on nighties – Easy open access for breastfeeding. No hipsters just in case you have a caesarean, you don’t want the pants to sit on your scar. Slip on nighties are easy for going to the toilet a lot.
- Slippers with rubber sole and that are easy to slip on – no back. For walking to the toilets and around the hospital. No back on the slippers because you don’t want to bend over to put shoes on.
- Socks – Keep your feet warm in bed. The hospital air conditioning can get really cold.
- Thongs – For the hospital shower (especially if you are sharing a shower with other room mates)
- Baby photos of me & hubby (or digital on our phones) – Visitors will ask who does the baby look like? Mum or Dad? Baby photos will help with this debate.
- Orthodox Icons/Religious Momentums – To put in the room, near the baby.
- Food for guests: chocolates, sweets and/or cookies wrapped up in cellophane – it is a Greek tradition to give visitors a gift of food, when they visit at the hospital.
- Salt – Warning: This might hurt – be sure to check with your doctor/midwife first: Splash salt water on your vaginal area several times a day. It is a disinfectant and helps with the healing process if you have any tears from a vaginal birth.
- Fibre supplements: prunes, colxyl, laxatives – To help with pooing in the days after birth. (I actually drank a glass of pear juice each morning with breakfast! It was much nicer than any other option and it works really well!!)
- Medication: tablets + vitamins – Daily meds still required. Keep oroxine in fridge.
- Back support wrap – To support my back, after birth + when breastfeeding. (This was on my list but the physio actually recommended against it! So, I never used it.)
- Shapeware (the underwear that holds your gut in nice and tight with the high band) or specially designed SRC recovery pants.
- Books/magazines to read – I didn’t pack this, but it is a good idea for some. For others, it’s just way too hard to take your eyes off your new born baby.
- Hydrogel breast discs – Put on nipples from day one to prevent soreness.
- Plastic squeezie bottle and/or a spray bottle – To help with peeing after birth.
- Baby Journal – Moleskine and/or Phone App Tracker – To track breastfeeding times and baby activity. I used and LOVED BabyTracker
- Diary or Journal – To write down my thoughts and special moments of this exciting time.
- Guest Book – A reading book is good for this e.g. nursery rhymes book – A book for guests to write down their congratulations.
- List of baby names + correct spelling – Include middle names and Greek spelling.
- Notebook & Pen – To write stuff down – checklist for hubby or notes from midwives and doctors etc.
- Purse + ID + Bupa Card + Medicare Card etc. For all the paperwork after baby is born – Remember to BUPA as soon as the baby is born. Then call Births, Death’s & Marriages – order certificate.
- Thank you cards and/or gifts like chocolates – For midwives & nurses
- Bio oil – To continue prevention of stretch marks after birth
- Breast / Nursing Pads (Bamboo or Pigeon) – To avoid milk leakages on your clothes.
- Toiletries – Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Cleansers, Moisturiser, deodorant, Shampoo & Conditioner and other personal hygiene products in your toiletries bag.
- Tissues – there may be some crying in the room, especially on day 3/4 when the baby blues kick in. Or for emotional grandparents, friends and family members.
- Flushable wipes – A little bit softer than toilet paper, feels cleaner after bleeding, also good for cleaning scars from caesarean. **EDIT Flushable wipes are AMAZING! Seriously. I much preferred to used them rather than toilet paper. I got the one that was easy to pull out in the packet and used them at home for a while afterwards as well. To keep clean after going to the toilet. Also good for recovery period after birth – see “my bag list”. Please note that flushable wipes are not always “flushable”. Put them in the bin like pads/nappies/baby wipes to avoid clogging up your pipes at home or at the hospital. If you want to be more environmentally friendly, use cold wash cloths instead.
- Make up, GHD, hair brush, hair dryer, hair ties – Check with your hospital to see if they provide a hair dryer or not.
- Lansinoh nipple cream – To sooth sore nipples from breastfeeding
- Maternity Pads x 4-6 packets with wings – For bleeding after birth.
- Moisturising body cream – To help you feel good a few days after.
- Plastic bags – For dirty clothes etc.
- Soft toilet paper – Because the hospital toilet paper is not nice – especially after birth. The softer the better!
- Ural – Pain relief after birth when trying to pee.
- Change of clothes x 2-3 days
- Pj’s – because the midwife said that “husband’s are not allowed to sleep naked in the hospital” lol.
- Phone Chargers
- Protein Bars/Shakes/Shaker Bottles – because my husband is a body builder and he eats a lot of food
- Cash – Money for coffee, food etc
- Body Wash
- Cleansers, Moisturisers, Deodorants, Fragrance
- Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Shaving Razor & Cream and Other Toiletries
- Hair Gel, Hair Brush
- Baby coat hangers – To hang baby clothes in wardrobe
- Bath towel – extra soft – Use the hospital towel or take your own.
- Beanies – Colour options for boy or girl
- Blanket x 2-3 -It will be colder in winter – muslin wraps might not be enough. Use to cover the baby at night or for the trip home.
- Onesies – Size 000 x 1-2 – A onesie that is slightly bigger just in case the baby is big. (edit: i wouldn’t bother taking 000 outfits. Not unless you know that your baby is going to be in the large percentile. Both of my babies were 6 months old before they got to 000 sizing.
- Onesies – Size 0000 x 1-2 (edit: again I wouldn’t bother taking 0000 outfits unless you know your baby will big a big baby. Ask your OB/Midwife at your next check up. Also consider the size of you and your partner. Are you big people? Were you big babies? However I personally only needed 00000 for both of my babies).
- Onesies – Size 00000 x 6-10 you will need 1-2 outfits per day. Average hospital stay is 3/4 days or 5 days for a caesarian. Check if your hospital has a washing machine that you can use. If you don’t have enough clothes you can just wash while you are there. I love Bonds Two-Way Zippies because you can open up just the bottom half for a nappy change which is great in winter to keep the baby warm up top. Also much quicker than doing up buttons and press studs. However… make sure that you also pack at least 1 button up onesie (read this blog post to understand why it is so important).
- Baby Singlets Size 00000 x 6 – To wear under bonds onsies. I love the organice cotton singlets from Target.
- Going home outfit – One boy option and one girl option.
- Mittens – Prevents the baby from scratching him/herself.
- Socks x 1-2 pair -In case outfit doesn’t cover the baby’s feet.
- Swaddle wraps, muslin wraps or sleeping bag – The hospital will have their own wraps and blankets to use for the baby. However some mums prefer to use their own. If you are getting a swaddle wrap/sleeping bag check the head size and make sure it is appropriate for a newborns. Also check the TOG and ensure it is the right material for the season – hot/cold.
- Here is a helpful guide by Grobag explaining the size you need and recommended TOG for the temperature: GroBag Size Guide
- Here is a good article which discusses safe bedding and sleeping options: Save Our Sleep Save Bedding Guide
- Here is an article by Sids For Kids: The Benefits of Using a Sleeping Bag
- Here is a blog post I published explaining the reason why I took my own baby blankets to the Hospital:
- Baby wipes – For changing nappies and cleaning baby’s bum. Edit: Wipes are usually provided by the hospital so no need to pack them in your bag. But you will need them!
- Here is a good article listing all the different types of baby wipes and giving them a rating. I changed my preferred brands of wipes because of this article: Safe Natural Baby Wipes Cheat Sheet
- Bath wash – small travel bottle size – To wash the baby in the hospital Edit: Again the hospital has special soap for the babies first bath. No need to take any. In fact it is best to use just water in the first few weeks of life. You baby will not need a bath every day. Every 2/3 days is more than enough.
- Cotton buds/Cotton balls – For cleaning/drying baby after a bath or during a nappy change and for drying ears.
- Dummy – Not sure if I’ll use it… but just in case.
- MCN 3-4 newborn sizes + liners, clips – To try. If I like them I will get more. WARNING: Do not use MCN with the baby’s first poos. The meconium will stain the cloths. Best to wait for day 4 or 5 before starting. Or use lots of bamboo liners to protect the cloth.
- Note: if you plan to use modern cloth nappies for your baby then be aware that there are two main sizes: newborn mcn for the first 6 weeks ish and osfm – one size fits most. You will need the newborn size to start off with or get prefolds as a starting point.
- Disposable Nappies x 1 packet -The hospital provides 1 packet of disposable nappies and that should be plenty. Check with your hospital and see if you need to take your own nappies or if they are provided. I always keep the extra packet of nappies in the car “just in case”.
- Coconut Oil – and/or pawpaw ointment, olive oil, bepanthen – they all do a similar job – good for baby’s bum and cleaning up first poo. Also recommended for baby’s dry skin on day 3 or 4. However I wouldn’t use any type of nappy rash creams on the baby in first weeks of life. It should stay as natural as possible. Check your products and make sure they are 100% natural before putting it on baby. Don’t use a coconut oil spray that is blended with other harsh chemicals. This is not good for your baby’s bum.
WHAT NOT TO PACK
- DT’s for hubby – The midwives request boardies instead of DT’s on the men lol. I thought this was funny 🙂
- Video camera – (In birth room) Not permitted by the hospital – check with your hospital and confirm.
- Candles – Not permitted by the hospital – check with your hospital and confirm
- Heat packs – Not permitted by the hospital – check with your hospital and confirm.
- Oil burner for aromatherapy – Once the smell is in the room, you can’t get it out. It’s better to dab a bit of oil on a tissue/hankie and sniff as needed.
- Fragrance/Perfume – don’t wear perfume around your baby. Tell your partner not to wear it either. Perhaps you might even mention it to your guests too. Your baby has a very sensitive scent of smell and needs to learn your natural smell especially for establishing breastfeeding.
HAVE AT HOME AFTER HOSPITAL
- Food! Freezer meals. Lots. Or have a take-away/home delivery list of numbers and menus on your fridge. Or organise lite n’ easy or youfoodz for a month.
- Pear juice – the best kept secret that all mums need to know about!
- Pain relief – prescribed by your doctor.
- ABA Phone number saved in your phone or on the fridge. Or the contact number of a good lactation consultant.
- Antibacterial gel to clean your hands after each nappy change.
- Baby products – here is a list of things that I was kindly given at my baby shower or that I purchased: 30 Products To Buy Before Baby Is Born
- A list of foods that are good to eat to prevent the baby from getting wind.
- Sweets or biscuits for visitors.
- Nursing tops and bras.
- These 3 amazing phone aps: Tinybeans, Baby Tracker & Wonder Weeks
Is there anything that you would add to this list?
Let me know in the comments.
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- 30 Products To Buy Before Baby Is Born
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