When I gave birth to baby number one, I packed *all* the essentials I could possibly need for my week-long stay.
GHD? Packed it.
Face masks? They’re in the bag!
Newborn headbands? One in every colour.
Two bags and one tiny hospital room later, I quickly questioned whether my “essentials” were actually essential at all. And, after arriving home without even having opened the bag, I confirmed that no, they weren’t.
As I gear up for the birth of my second child, one of the top priorities on my checklist is packing the hospital bag the right way this time.
Armed with experience and a newfound sense of efficiency, I've curated a selection of essentials that blend practicality, comfort and a touch of style for both baby and Mum.
The ‘going home’ outfit
First up is the all-important "going home" outfit. I've found some fantastic options at Best&Less that tick all the boxes: quality, affordability, and thoughtful design.
My winter baby will be wearing a Cotton Knitted Cardigan for that first layer of warmth and style. Made from 100 per cent cotton, it's gentle on delicate newborn skin while providing just the right amount of cosy comfort. It also has buttons through the centre front for easy layering and the ribbed knit at the cuffs and waist prevent it from riding up — genius!
Underneath, bub will be wearing the Cotton Zip Romper. A practical and super cute option with smart design details (like the zip front opening) that simplify dressing and nappy changes. It also comes in a pointelle option — my fave!
As for those turn back mittens? Total game-changer for keeping tiny hands warm and safe from scratches. And at just $9 I might snag one in every pattern for the baby to wear throughout the hospital stay — I’m especially loving the bear and ambulance designs.
Affordable and absolutely adorable, a knot beanie is a must-have for a newborn, keeping that tiny head warm and oh-so-stylish. There’s different colours and patterns to suit any debut ensemble. I’m adding the 'I love Mummy' one to my bag — I deserve a little extra love after giving birth!
Wrapping it all up is a Chunky Knit Blanket, ideal for swaddling or snuggling. It comes in a range of colours (hello sage), is irresistibly cute and 100 per cent cotton. With its softness, durability, and high-quality natural fibres, it will survive being washed a hundred times and withstand the test of time.
Baby on board
It’s an obvious one, but a really important one. Purchasing a good quality car seat to bring your newborn home safe and sound is a must. Get your car seat fitted by an expert, so you're confident it's installed correctly, and practise how to use it so you’re not fiddling with straps and reading manuals in the parking lot.
It was raining when we left the hospital with our daughter, so I was thankful my hubby studied!
Comfort is key during those marathon feeding sessions, and a cosy set of pyjamas is a must-have. With convenient access for breastfeeding and soft, stretchy fabric, these pyjamas are stylish but functional. And as a C-section mum I appreciated not having to lift my arms up and put anything over my head.
A dressing gown is also perfect for wearing around the ward and keeping warm under that hospital air con.
Pro tip: Pack some warm, fuzzy socks to keep your feet nice and warm too.
Cue the postpartum bliss
A compact toiletry bag packed with essentials like toothpaste, lip balm (because hospitals are dry!), deodorant, and moisturiser will help you feel fresh — and a little more human — during your hospital stay.
Opting for travel-sized products minimises clutter and makes it easy to stay organised — especially if you’re in a shared room. And don’t forget the hair ties, lots of them!
Practical underwear, nursing pads and shoes
Maternity bras (ideal for feeding) are another must. My favourite, seamless with no under wire, helps me feel comfy when awake and asleep. Be sure to also pack a few pairs of your oldest undies that you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause. High-waisted nanna knickers (in dark colours) were my best friend following a c-section. They provided good support and avoided my wound area.
Pro tip: You’ll also want nursing pads — whether or not you plan to nurse — you’ll appreciate the support and leak protection, along with a pack or two of maternity pads.
Surprisingly versatile, a pair of thongs will be your most-used essential that you didn’t know you needed. During our week-long stay we attended hospital activities like physiotherapy class, baby bathing, and a breastfeeding class, so having something easy to slip on was great. I also wore them in the shower and bathroom to minimise germs and dirty feet.
A camera, charger and an "emotional support" e-reader
Okay let me explain. I know you’re thinking "When will I get a chance to read, I’ve got a newborn!!", but for those late-night feeds and moments of downtime, an e-reader is a lifesaver. I often found it hard to wind down and switch my mind off after being awake at ungodly hours, so my Kindle will help keep my mind occupied during those quiet hours.
And as for what to read? Think light rom-coms, magazines, and newspapers, not War and Peace.
It's also so important to capture every precious moment with a fully charged camera or smartphone so you can cherish these memories for years to come.
During my first labour, we even gave our camera to a Nurse in the operating theatre and she took some extraordinary NSFW action shots.
With these essentials in tow, I'm feeling ready and excited for the arrival of baby number two (famous last words).
Whether a new or expecting parent, checkout Best&Less for all your newborn essentials.
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