You’ve hit your third-trimester of your pregnancy and time starts moving quickly. Ironic, because you seem to be moving slower. By now you probably have the baby’s room set up and your birth plan sorted, but now there’s one last thing to check off the list… your hospital bag.
For first-time mums especially, it can be hard to figure out what you actually need to take with you. It’s sort of like packing for a holiday… only you need to stock up on a lot more underwear and you don’t really know your length of stay.
Baby clothes, blankets and nappies are the first few items that spring to mind when it comes time to pack your hospital bag, but there’s also a few less obvious things you need that you probably wouldn’t think of like garbage bags or a bangle to wear (we’ll explain later).
Deciding on what clothes to wear to give birth to your child can also be a bit of a dilemma. Some women opt for a pair of trusty tights while others swear by loose-fitting yoga pants or even pyjamas. You want something comfortable but also something that makes you feel good. After all, you just went through all that hard work and you deserve to feel your best.
The Mamamia team confess the things we aren’t told about giving birth. Post continues after video.
To help you choose the essentials, we asked our readers and the Mamamia team for their must-have items that mums should be packing in their hospital bag. Here’s what they said.
- Lip balm. “Something no one tells you is that the air-conditioner at the hospital really dries out your lips.”
- Gum or mints for when the family come to visit.
- Your favourite snacks. “Muesli bars for if there is no dinner available after you give birth in the early hours. And jelly beans for during the birth. The midwives and I were having a lovely time sharing.”
- Water bottle. “Those foam cups are a pain and get knocked over so easy.”
- Garbage bags because birth is… messy and you need somewhere to put your dirty clothes. They also come in handy for “taking home all of the presents people bring you, and even the bunches of flowers that turn up. It make it easier to have big bags to mule it all home in.”
- Undies and sanitary pads. “Lots of baggy black undies and more sanitary pads than you think!”
- A shirt with buttons or a flap for breastfeeding. “I should have brought something that was both breastfeeding-friendly (i.e. shirt with buttons) AND nice looking for when people take pics with baby.”
- Loose, high-waisted pants to wear when you leave hospital. “I hated tight clothes after my caesarean. Loose, high-waisted comfy harem pants were my go-to. Once my scar had healed and was feeling better, I went to the compression gear but still anything that sits on my scar line is uncomfortable. High-waisted all the way!”
- Your own pillow. It makes all the difference.
- Earplugs. “So you don’t hear all the other crying babies and ward activity when you try to sleep.”
- Your favourite songs in a playlist loaded up on your phone to keep you entertained.
- A pen to fill out forms or write down the nurse’s names to send thank you cards later on.
- An extra-long phone charger so it can reach your hospital bed.
- A ring or bangle. “Change after each breastfeed so that way you know which side to feed from next.”
- Your own towel and body wash to bring you a little comfort away from home.
- Slippers or slide on shoes to wear around the hospital if your feet are swollen. Thongs also make for great shower shoes.
- A present or activity for older siblings. “There is a lot of attention from all the visitors. Older siblings get bored easily and jealous.”
What was the best item you packed in your hospital bag? Let us know in the comments below.