I hate packing!
Little wonder I waited till 39 weeks to pack my bags with both boys. (Not recommended!)
On the other hand, doing research and finding out things- that’s my jam.
If you are here, you are most likely like me.
You like to dot your “i”s and cross your “t”s. You want to know not only what you should pack but also what you are most likely to forget to bring in your hospital bag.
I totally get you! And you’ve come to the right place.
One by one, I’ll take you through the 13 things you probably haven’t thought to include in your hospital bag. And why they are important too.
Then, we’ll discuss how to make sure you have your bag, ready, and set before your baby arrives!
You ready? Let’s dive in…
13 Important Things You Should not Forget to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
1. EXTENSION CORD
Imagine listening to your hypnobirthing playlist whilst in the thick of labour and your phone dying on you.
What makes it worse, the charging port is so far from your bed, that your phone charger can’t reach you. Upsetting right?!
This is where the extension cord comes in.
It can prove very useful at that critical moment when you need your phone to keep pumping out those affirmations, scriptures, or music that will get you through the next contraction or surge.
TIP: It’s a good idea to go on a tour of the hospital where you’ll be having your baby. If a physical tour isn’t possible, I’ll suggest you check out a virtual tour on Youtube (many NHS hospitals have these). Or ask your midwife/call triage about the facilities present in your hospital/ birth centre. That way you know what facilities (like in-built speakers) are available.
2. BIRTH PARTNER SUPPORT CHEAT SHEET
A birth partner’s support is invaluable during labour and delivery. However, many times our partners are not sure how best to help us through such an intense time.
Some weeks before our second son was born, I remember my husband distinctly asking me how best he could support me during labour.
I rattled out a list of ways he could be very helpful to me but he kindly asked that I write those ways down so he could go over them, have it as a handy list and so he would not forget. And that’s what I did.
Creating a Birth Partner Support Cheat Sheet for your partner will prove very beneficial to you during labour. So, go ahead and write out the ways you feel your partner can help to make this birthing process easier for you.
If you are struggling to come up with a list, I’ve created this free printable for you to give your partner. You can download this free Birth Partner Support Cheat Sheet here.
3. EXTRA CASH / CHANGE
It’s a good idea to have some change for snacks from the vending machine for your birth partner. It’s also helpful to have on hand for parking.
4. ADULT NAPPIES
I stumbled on this accidentally.
I went to buy maternity pads, saw this adult nappies on the shelves, and bought one. As it turns out, it was one of the best buys on my hospital bag checklist.
They are simply disposable pants with pads embedded. This way, the pads do not shift and there’s little chance of you leaking.
They are traditionally used by women suffering from incontinence. Though, they work fantastically for post-birth bleeding (lochia).
Not only were they waaaaay more effective than the maternity pads, but they were also more comfortable. Trust me, after your baby is born, comfort trumps everything else!
These adult nappies offer full coverage from front to back. They are the best for immediate use after your baby is born.
5. DRESSING ROBE
A dressing robe is so good for keeping you warm and modest while establishing skin to skin with your newborn.
6. THANK YOU CARDS / NOTES AND PENS
I can never forget all the midwives that attended to me before and during the birth of my boys.
They went above and beyond.
In fact, one stayed with me all night as I laboured. She changed shifts a few hours before I gave birth and to my utmost surprise, came to check on me and my son in the ward the next night. I was floored!
The least we could do was give them thank you cards to show our appreciation.
I’m eternally grateful I took some of these cards along. I would have felt so bad had I not.
Giving thank you cards is a thoughtful thing to do.
The help and assistance that midwives and health care assistants offer us during this extremely vulnerable time deserve all the gratitude we can muster.
Kindly remember to add thank you cards and pens to your hospital bag essentials.
7. NURSING PILLOW
This is one item I wish I had when my first son, LH, was born.
I remember the midwives and lactation consultants propping me up with several pillows in an attempt to get my baby to latch properly. It was not the most comfortable experience, I tell you.
A nursing pillow is very useful in positioning the baby for a better latch. Also, when you’ve just gone through labour, the last thing you want to worry about is having to prop up your baby to feed when you are so darn tired.
If you are on IV fluids, the tubes can interfere with nursing. This makes nursing awkward, as you try to arrange baby around the long iv tubes. The nursing pillow will help you prop the baby to you avoiding the tubes.
8. MILK STARTER KIT
For many mums, breastfeeding does not come naturally.
There can be latch issues, milk not coming in, and a number of breastfeeding issues. A milk starter kit helps to prevent mum and baby feeling stressed after birth.
A milk starter kit is essentially ready-made formula plus sterilized disposable bottles and teat.
If you find yourself struggling with breastfeeding, the ready-made formula will be used to feed your baby. I used this when my second son, LJ, was born. He was hungry but couldn’t latch because of a tongue tie. So I fed him with the formula.
Know that despite using formula milk in the beginning you can still establish breastfeeding if this is your wish. I’m still nursing LJ and he is almost a year old now.
So, please do not feel guilty for giving formula in the early days till whatever issue is sorted out.
9. POSTPARTUM BELLY BAND OR WRAP
The birth of our babies changes our bodies. Probably the most obvious change is to our bellies.
It can be surprising seeing your immediate postpartum belly.
I encourage every mum to work at her own pace and not feel pressured to lose the baby weight immediately after birth.
I also recognize that some things help to kickstart the healing process. And early too. One such thing is using a Postpartum belly band or wrap.
With my first son, I regretted not packing this postpartum band in my hospital bag. Because I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days. I could have started using it as soon as possible in hospital.
For my second son, however, I started using the belly band by the evening of the day he was born. And this fastened my healing process!
A postpartum belly band is also a postpartum essential that should be included in your postpartum care kit as well. You’ll continue to use it for weeks after leaving the hospital.
You can read this beneficial post about the many benefits of postpartum belly binding, even if you had a c-section. Also, it goes into details about when and how to use a belly band the proper way,
10. PERI BOTTLE
After you’ve had a vaginal birth, you will undoubtedly be sore! What many women don’t realize is that for a while afterward, it stings when you pee!
This is where the peri bottle works wonders. It helps to dilute the urine as you pee thereby reducing or completely removing the sting.
A Peri bottle is also a postpartum necessity. You will use it severally till you heal.
It’s so helpful in keeping down there clean. In the early days, you will not want to use a toilet roll especially if you had stitches. Using a peri bottle rather than wiping can help prevent infection to that area.
My preference is for the one with a long neck. These types allow for better and easier navigation to the area you want to clean.
This is one item that is usually given in American hospitals but not here in the UK. Make sure this is not left out of your hospital bag.
11. BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT PROPS
You would think that after 16 hours of labour, all I will do is sleep. But I couldn’t. Blame it on the epidural or whatnot. I spent that time crafting my birth announcements and taking the perfect pictures.
After birth, comes the announcement! I really love cute well-thought-out birth announcements and I bet you do too!
A few props can help you create your dream DIY afterbirth hospital pictures. And you don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture the most heart-warming pictures of your little one.
It doesn’t take much to put together just some prior planning. The props can be as simple as a specially customized baby blanket with baby initials, or a felt board or a cuddly teddy bear or baby milestone cards/blanket.
Whatever props you decide to go with, don’t forget to add these to your hospital bag when packing.
12. A SECOND HOSPITAL BAG
No matter how well you plan your baby’s birth, no one knows exactly how it will go.
After the birth of my first son, LH, we had to stay back in the hospital for 5 days. This was totally unplanned for and I definitely didn’t have all I needed with me in the hospital.
My hubby and mother-in-law had to take turns bringing me and our baby, newborn essentials that we had run out of.
It was a particularly stressful time for us all. I had to describe where I kept everything we needed and they had to do the searching.
Having a second hospital bag packed can help to avoid this.
If you are mobile, a good idea will be to place it in your car boot, that way it’s closeby. If you are not mobile, you can have the second bag packed and in an obvious place at home (near the front door perhaps). This way, it’s easy for anyone to grab and bring to the hospital for you.
A second hospital bag should contain more newborn must-haves and postpartum essentials for you as well.
13. PRE-PACKED MATERNITY HOSPITAL BAG
This is something I recently found out about.
It’s essentially a hospital bag pre-packed for sale. So. most of what you would compile yourself has been done for you. This will be useful for you if:
- you find packing stressful and overwhelming.
- you are on bed rest and are unable to pack your bags yourself.
- your baby comes early.
You can make a quick order for your hospital bag on Amazon Prime. And get it as soon as possible. I think this might also make a good baby shower gift for some mums-to-be.
On the contrary, this might not suit you. You may want to pack items yourself. However, you feel about it, this is a last-minute hospital bag that can come in handy in certain situations.
Now that you know what not to forget when packing your hospital bag, what’s next?
I know this was a bit of a long read and you might be wondering where to start.
Might I suggest you download this hospital bag checklist printable I made to make this process easier for you?
So, as not to get overwhelmed, you can start buying these at the start of your third trimester. Then check each item off one after the other.
At this point, all you’ll have left to do is to put everything in your hospital bag(s). And that is the easiest part. Make sure your packed bag is near the door or in your car ready for D-Day.
If you do this, by the time your baby is ready to come into the world, you would be more than prepared (bag-wise) to welcome her.
Did you find this list helpful? Do you feel confident now that you won’t be forgetting any important things on your hospital bag checklist?