As many women go into labour up to two weeks before their predicted due date it is important to make sure you have your hospital bag ready. There are lots of things you can pack to make your time in the hospital more comfortable and some things that are an absolute necessity. Check out our gallery for inspiration and our easy to follow check list which you can download below and print off, then just tick off the items as you pack them.
Hospital Bag Check List
Baby's First Outfit
Change Of Clothes
Muslins & Swaddles
Get ComfyThink about what you would like to give birth in, most women find that a nightdress is the most comfortable and practical thing to wear. Make sure it has good access for immediate skin to skin contact once the baby is born and has drop down panels for breastfeeding if you plan to breast feed. It is a good idea to pack a second clean nightdress that you can change into after the birth.
Other useful things you might like to pack to make your stay in hospital more comfortable are a pair of comfy slippers and a dressing gown and you may also want to take a pillow from home, but make sure you put a distinctive cover on it so it doesn't get left behind. Earplugs and an eye mask can also help you get some sleep on a busy ward if you are being kept in a few nights.
Baby BlanketLots of women get so excited about packing the first outfit for their baby that they forget to pack a blanket. You will definitely want a blanket to wrap your little one up in a keep them warm and cosy, especially if they need to stay overnight in the hospital. Although their are lots of beautiful blankets out there make sure the one you buy is a cellular blanket (with little holes in it), as these are the only blankets that are completely safe to use with a newborn
Baby's First OutfitChoosing your baby's first outfit is one of the most exciting things for many new mums, but remember that you will probably need more that one outfit and the outfit that you do put them in straight after the birth will probably not be the outfit you take them home in. It is a good idea to pack at least 3 outfits, and you may even want a few varying sizes. You can always put a little stash of different sized outfits in a separate bag that you leave in the car, or leave with someone who you know will be coming to visit you in the hospital.
Change Of ClothesThink about what you want to wear after the birth, whether you are going straight home or being kept in. You will want something nice and comfy like a pair of lounge pants and a comfortable nursing vest. It's also a good idea to pack a warmer layer such as a cardigan incase it's a bit chilly on the ward. Another tip is to pack lots of pairs of big comfy high-waisted knickers, preferably in black and preferably ones you don;t mind throwing away afterwards, Primark are pretty good for these. You will also want to purchase lots of disposable pads.
Hospital BagMany women complain that they end up either having to pack 3 separate bags or having to use a suitcase when it comes to their hospital bag. We recommend looking around for a really good weekend sized bag that you can fit everything in, this way you won't be taking up too much space on an already overcrowded ward and you also won't be going crazy while your other half pulls everything out of all your separate bags looking for that one thing you are after.
We absolutely love this weekend duffle bag from Storksak, it is not only a really generous size that will accommodate everything you need for you and baby but it is also one of the most organised bags we have come across. Not only does it have a number of internal pockets to neatly organise all your bits and bobs, but it also comes with a fold away hanging organiser which has 4 compartments for you to organise all yours and your baby's things separately, the organiser fits perfectly in the main compartment of the bag so you can see where everything is, it can even be removed and hung up once you arrive at the hospital. Each shelf is removable so if you don't want four compartments you can simply remove some of the compartments to make two larger compartments for example. The bag also comes with a small packing block which is perfect for easy access to all your baby's smaller bits and pieces such as nappy cream, nappy bags, cotton wool and wipes. The packing block slots neatly into one of the organiser compartments.
This really is the best hospital bag we have come across!
Baby's EssentialsYour baby won't need too much in the hours and days after the birth but there are a few things that you will definitely need to pack. Most hospitals do not provide nappies so you will need to pack decent amount of nappies to last at least a couple of days incase you are kept in. An average baby goes through between 8-10 nappies per day so it would be sensible to pack around 20 nappies.
Another thing that not all hospitals provide is formula, so if you are planning too formula feed you may need to bring your own bottles and formula. You can ask your midwife if this is something you will need to provide.
Other things your baby will need is cotton wool for cleaning their bum, you may want to use Water Wipes instead, nappy cream such as Sudocrem and nappy sacks.
Mama's EssentialsAfter the labour you will be given an opportunity to have a shower, so don't forget to pack some lovely toiletries to make you feel all nice and clean again. We love the Exotic Frangipani range from Elemis, the products smell divine and can be purchased in small travel sizes.
Other useful things to pack are toiletries such as moisturiser, cleansing wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste and nipple cream if you are planning to breastfeed. You may also want to purchase some nipple pads and pop them in your toiletries bag.
EntertainmentAlthough entertainment sounds almost laughable when talking about labour you may well find yourself spending two days on the ward before you actually give birth, so its important to put a few things in your bag to keep you entertained, an iPad with a few things to watch and perhaps some relaxing music to listen to, magazines, a book and most importantly snacks. Make sure you pack some energising snacks such as Lucozade, coconut water, energy bars and sucking sweets and anything else you think you might want to snack on before and after the birth.
Muslins & SwaddlesAll new mums will tell you that you can never have enough muslins, and this is true, they are the most useful versatile things that you will probably purchase. They are not only brilliant for feeding and burping and mopping up sick but the larger ones can also be used to swaddle your baby.