There’s no way to predict exactly when your baby will arrive, and you really can’t plan down to the minute like you might like to… Basically, your due date means virtually nothing and your baby doesn’t care about your personal schedule (get used to this mums and dads).
But one thing you can do is make sure you’re well and truly prepared for when they do decide to grace us with their presence. Packing your hospital bag in advance and packing it in excess and as organised as possible, will save that crumb of sanity you have left when the time comes, trust us.
Some things to remember before we start:
- Even if you’re planning a home birth, you’ll still want to pack a hospital bag – just in case!
- If you think you might not need it, you’re probably wrong, just pack it anyway.
- Trust no one – check your bag yourself before you go, you know what you need more than anyone else.
When do you pack your hospital bag?
Don’t start worrying about packing your hospital bag in your first and second trimester (maybe a little shopping, if you really can’t wait), you’ll just end up taking everything out and re-packing it to make sure you have everything.
You should aim to have everything packed up by the 35 or 36 week mark, just in case your new arrival decides to pop out a little early. That leaves plenty of time in your third trimester to pick out your fave dressing down and jammies, as well as treating yourself to a new book and some treats for the big day.
Key things to pack in your hospital bag
There’s lots to think about when packing your hospital bag – it’s important to remember that you’re packing for yourself, your newborn and anything your newborn might need on the way home, as well as any extras for your birth partner. You’ll probably want to pick out a large rucksack or a small suitcase… there’s quite a bit to take.
Here are some of the key things you’ll want to pack for the big day:
- Your birth plan and any hospital notes from your midwife. Keep these close to you at all times.
- A few nighties (the looser the better) or big t-shirts, you don’t want to be too hot and you want to make sure you’re as comfy as possible for the birth.
- A small fan and water spray. It can get a little hot and sticky, no matter the time of year – make sure you have something to keep you cool.
- 2 or 3 packs of maternity pads - much softer and more absorbent than sanitary towels.
- A lightweight dressing gown and some slip-on slippers (perfect for roaming the halls of the maternity ward).
- Books and magazine – or anything that’ll keep you entertained while you’re waiting.
- Your fave lip balm. Your lips can get pretty dry during labour, especially if you’re on gas and air.
- Bobbles! Or clips, scrunchies, hair band… anything you need to keep your hair out of your face.
Things to pack for after the baby is born
You might be surprised how long you stay in hospital after your little one is born. If you have a straightforward birth, you could be home within hours, but if not you might be there for a day or two after – so it’s a good idea to pack some goodies for after the birth.
- Spare knickers. You’re probably used to carrying around spare knickers in your handbag, so this is nothing new.
- A comfy outfit to wear on the way home. If you have jeans in your hospital bag, throw them far, FAR away!
- Breast pads and nursing bras – if you’re planning on breastfeeding, you’ll want to take a nursing bra or two and some breast pads (ours are really nice, by the way).
What to pack for your baby
This is for sure the best part! It’s time to pick your baby’s first outfits, gizmos and any bits and bobs they’ll need for their first few hours in the world… we’re excited for you.
- You’ll want to make sure your baby has a good amount of vests, bodysuits and sleepwear. A solid choice would be our Swaddle wrap– perfect for healthy sleeping positions and it comes in loads of different colours and patterns.
- Nappies and wipes! Your newborn might get through around 10 nappies per day but it might be a good idea to take a few more just in case you have to stay longer.
Their blanket or shawl, for wrapping them up on the way home.
- And don’t forget your car seat! You might want to opt for a carry car seat as opposed to a car seat that is left in the car, just so you can carry your little one out of the hospital and straight home without disturbing their snoozes.
And just as a little birthday present, we think it’s a nice idea to pack them their very first toy. Our Breathable Toys are the perfect first toy for your little one – super squishy, hypoallergenic and ideal for little hands to grasp.
What your birth partner should pack
Your birth partner is obviously a very helpful and essential part of your birth experience – mostly for baggage handling! Get them to pack their very own hospital bag of things to make your and your baby’s life easier throughout the whole birth experience. We suppose they can also pack themselves some things, but that’s way less important.
- A camera (or phone) and chargers! Your birth partner is in charge of taking at least 200 pics of your new perfect baby so they best bring their phone and keep it fully charged.
- Loose change. Firstly, if their bag isn’t 50% snacks, they need sacking – but just in case, they’ll want to keep some money reserved for vending machine snacks and drinks.
- Toiletries. Your birth partner is the perfect person to hold onto both of your toiletries, namely toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant etc.
- A change of clothes – they’ll probably not get quite a messy as you but it still might be smart for them to pack a change of clothes for the trip home.
- Pillows from home. Whether it’s a pregnancy pillow or a normal one, your very own pillow might be the perfect thing to keep you and your birth partner relaxed throughout labour.
Food to pack: snack ideas for your hospital bag
And most importantly… snacks.
A couple of packet of crisps doesn’t cut it! You’ll need a plethora of your favourite foods to get you through labour. Eating lots of small meals frequently can give you an energy boost and keep your momentum going, as well as keeping hydrated with small and frequent sips of water.
These are great foods to pack in your hospital bag (and don’t forget to double up for your birthing partner):
- Nuts and raisins – a great power food for continuously snacking.
- Boiled sweets – they last long and keep you relatively distracted.
- Sandwiches – the heartier the better, your fave sandwiches fillers and thick brown bread with lots of seeds.
- Flapjacks – perfect for a quick boost and super tasty.
- Lots of fruit – whatever fruit you prefer but bananas are a good one for extra energy!
It’s also a good idea to take some metal straws and lots and lots and lots of water!