When you’re heading towards the end of your pregnancy you start to think about what items to pack in your hospital bag. This process can be a little daunting because it becomes more of a reality that in a few weeks you’ll be picking up your bag, actually, your partner or support person will be carrying the bag, and off to the hospital to bring a new life into the world.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent many hours Googling ‘what to pack in your hospital bag’ and asked other mums. But you still have absolutely no idea what you need to pack. Am I really going to need five jump Bonds Zippys or the kitchen sink? The answer, as frustrating as it might be, is to pack simple.
Below are some super useful items to pack in your hospital bag and tips that will make the whole process a lot less stressful!
You’re either going to need disposable nappies or reusable – the choice is yours mumma and there is no wrong answer here. It’s all about personal preference. Nappies are the only item I highly suggest packing more than you think you’ll need, especially if this is your first child. It’s a fact of life that babies poo and wee and as a new mum, you have absolutely no idea how much your little one is going to soil itself.
I remember the midwives telling me I had to change my daughter’s nappy every time the line showed blue. My daughter never was and fifteen months later still does not do “heavy nappies” so we were changing her every half hour and exhausted our supply after two days at the hospital.
So, how many nappies do I need to take? As I mention this is the one item you want an oversupply of, so grab a few packets or a large box and keep them in the car so you don’t have to worry about grabbing them on the way to the hospital. Make sure you put about 15-20 in your hospital bag. When you’ve worked your way through the ones in your hospital bag you can send your partner out to the car to collect more for you.
But, which brand of nappies should I buy? Good question! There are three options here and all are as good as each other. Thankyou Little Dreamer, Huggies Ultimate Infant Nappies and Aldi’s Mamia Unisex Newborn Nappies are loved by mums around Australia and will catch all those newborn 1s and 2s. But just remember when your bub graces you with a massive poo explosion no nappy is going to contain it and your baby and whatever it is on at the time will be covered in poop.
TIP: Check with your hospital during orientation as some hospitals supply all newborn nappies, some will give you a welcome pack with a few nappies and some won’t supply any.
Oversized Button-Up Pjs
This is a must if you have a c-section or vaginal birth and especially if you breastfeed your baby. But why oversized and button-up I hear you ask? It’s simple, you need buttons to easily breastfeed and oversized because if you have a c-section you don’t want anything tight around your stomach and when your milk comes in your chest is going to expand.
Don’t worry about buying expensive PJs for the hospital, without trying to scare you, there will body fluids and they will end up on your PJs. So, what’s your best option? Grab a couple of button up PJs from Kmart. They’ll also come in handy for night feeds.
Most likely when you go to the hospital in labour you’ll be wearing a bra, so there is one less that you will need to pack in your hospital bag. It’s a good idea to take about 2-3 additional bras with you, as you will leak through while you get used to the whole breastfeeding thing. You’ll also need to make sure the bras you pack for post birth are bigger than the size you are wearing pre-birth. For me, I went into hospital as a 12DD and came out a 14F.
I lived in Bonds Maternity Wirefree Crops as soon as I gave birth until I stopped breastfeeding 14 months later. These bras are so incredibly comfortable that your achy boobs feel like they are floating on clouds.
TIP: Pack items in zip-lock bags and write on the front in marker what is in each bag. This way when you ask your partner to get something from your bag they can easily locate it
Get ready for a leaky breast that sometimes spray like a hose. You’re going to need to contain the leaks and the best way is through reusable or disposable breast pads. I recommend packing a whole box (take them out of the box and place them in a zip-lock bag) because until your milk comes in you’re not going to know how much leakage you’re going to have. Most likely you’ll be replacing both sides every hour or so.
I found Lansinoh Nursing Pads to be the most absorbent and stay in place, especially while you sleep! While we’re talking about Lansioh, it’s worth chucking a tube of their Nipple Ointment in your hospital bag too!
Let’s be honest, we rely on our phones so much these days. Make sure you throw a spare phone charger into your hospital bag.
TIP: Leave your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode while you’re in the hospital. This way you can still use your phone but your phone won’t be buzzing constantly.
Lip Balm and Moisteriser
There is just something about hospitals that dries out your skin. It's worth packing a good lip balm and moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated, especially if you have a long labour. You’ll probably need your lip balm during labour so make sure it is in an easy to locate part of your bag!
TIP: A tinted lip balm can make you feel refreshed when people come to visit you in the hospital
You’re probably going to need more undies than you think you will. It’s a good idea to pack 3 pairs per day and assume you’ll be in hospital for 3-4 days. So, that means you’ll need about 9-12 pairs of undies. Why so many? There’s going to be blood and there’s going to be giant frozen condoms to reduce swelling.
It’s completely up to you what undies you choose. If you’re having a c-section you want to make sure the height of your undies isn’t going to press on the stitches.
Grab a packet of maternity pads for your hospital bag. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing how much you will bleed after birth, so its best to purchase proper maternity pads for after you give birth and you can swap over to normal period pads and liners when you get home.
I found TOM Organic Maternity Pads to be extremely comfortable, soft and absorbent.
When I packed my hospital bag, I 100% over packed on the baby clothes front. You’ll definitely need some singlets, Best and Less have great newborn singlets that stretch, which means you can get away with buying 0000 and they will fit small and larger babies. Work off the idea that you’ll need two singlets per day, which means you’ll need to pack 6-8 singlets.
TIP: Some hospitals will give you a welcome pack that contains singlets and clothes
Pack 1-2 Bonds Zippys, chances are your new bub most likely won’t wear any unless you want to dress them up for visitors or for when they go home. Sizing wise it’s a good idea to speak to your OB or Midwife towards the end of your pregnancy to find out how your baby is tracking. It’s worth packing a 00000 and a 0000 Zippy. Bonds usually run large too, so there will be plenty of room.
Swaddling. This is where it gets interesting. The whole time I was in the hospital my daughter was in a singlet, thick swaddle, and blanket. So she didn’t wear a Zippy or any other clothes until we went home. It’s completely your choice to traditionally swaddle with wraps and/or blankets or to use swaddle bag such as Love To Dream. We swaddled with wraps and blankets while and hospital and swapped to Love To Dream Swaddle Up to leave the hospital.
Love To Dream Swaddle Up is a lifesaver! Once you use one you can’t remember life without it. Your baby won’t be able to wriggle out and they have a two-way zipper to make nappy changing fast and easy. Pack two in your hospital bag and you can’t go wrong.
You’ll also want to throw in 1 or 2 beanies for your little bubba, especially if you’re having a winter bub.
If you plan to bottle feed, mix feed or want to have the option to bottle feed expressed milk you will need to bring your own bottle. Unfortunately, some hospitals are against bottle-feeding and will only offer you a cup to feed your bub if you’re having issues breastfeeding. If I could go back in time I would definitely have packed a bottle and a few sachets of steriliser. I had issues breastfeeding and my only option was to feed my daughter expressed milk via a cup. When I asked for a bottle I was told it was against their policy to allow newborns to have bottles.
A Bottle For You
You’re going to need to stay hydrated and the easiest way is to constantly drink lots of water. Be sure to pack a good water bottle into your hospital bag. I couldn’t live without my Camelbak Eddy!
Make sure you pack some snacks into your hospital pack, anything from your favourite chocolate to dried fruit. You’re definitely going to get hungry and hospital food isn’t going to satisfy your hunger.
TIP: Pack your hospital bag around 34 weeks and keep it near the door or in the car.
This is one totally optional. You’ll probably need to use a breast pump while in the hospital. If you take your own you’ll have the convenience of using it when you want and need to. If you use the hospital provided pump you may have to wait if someone else is using it. You pretty much can’t go wrong with the Medela Swing.
Note: We have not been contacted or paid in any way to include the above-mentioned brands. They are simply brands that we love.