Looking back now – I shouldn’t have packed as much I did…BUT rather pack too much than too little right?
I was lucky – my active labour was short… I got to the hospital at 05h00 (thinking my water had broken and no contractions yet) and Monkey was born at 09h59 (you can read the full story here) – so having 2 bags (one for the Delivery/Labour ward and one for Maternity ward) wasn’t really necessary for me… there are however benefits in taking 2 bags.
if you do – these are my personal suggestions on what to pack for the hospital (excluding your hospital required documentation):
Delivery Ward Bag
- t-shirt (as big and as comfortable as you want) or a nightie to labour in. Having said this – I wore the hospital gown that they provided for me and it was A-ok!
- slippers or socks (these can be in both bags actually) as you really don’t want to be walking around in shoes or barefoot in a hospital
- Hair clips or ties – if you have long(ish) hair, you don’t want it in your face while you are sweating & pushing… trust me
- Some form of entertainment – for you and for your birthing partner (books, magazines, ipad, music, etc… I read a short story book while I waited for my contractions to kick in… but once they did… I really didn’t have any other interest in any form of entertainment)
- Heat/Cold – either hot water bottle or ice-packs for your lower back. Again, my active labour was really quick, so although I packed these I didn’t actually use them.
- Snacks/drinks – normally for your birthing partner… we didn’t use them, but they came in handy at 2am the following morning 😉
We didn’t need anything for Monkey as she was placed on my chest immediately after birth for skin-to-skin contact and we were wheeled to the Maternity ward shortly thereafter.
Maternity Ward Bag
I was in hospital for 3 days…
- Bath Towel
- Toiletries/Wash bag
- Bendy straws… whether you have natural birth or caesarean or are breastfeeding or bottle feeding – it doesn’t matter, you are normally in a position where you will struggle to use one hand to raise a cup/glass to your mouth to drink liquids comfortably. The straws are a Godsend… trust me
- Sanitary Towels – either the ultra long/night or maternity ones. The hospital normally provides you with a pack of industrial style ones… but no one prepares you for the vast amount of bleeding…
- Disposable or cheap panties… there is a pretty good chance that you will bleed through your sanitary towels. Sad but true. Get something you are willing to throw away.
- Pajamas or comfortable tops that have buttons down the front – if you are trying to breastfeed, it is easier to open up your shirt this way than trying to pull your top up (especially if this is your first baby!)
- Pull-on comfortable pants (or clothing in general) – your body will ache and you want the easiest, most comfortable clothes that you can imagine.
- Entertainment – again, I thought I would have time to read, etc – instead I used the quiet time (between Dr./Midwife/etc visits to sleep or stare at my Monkey in wonder)… so this completely up to you.
- Mobile phone & charger – you may not have the energy, but once the world is aware that you have delivered, the messages will start to pour in. HIM managed my phone and responded to 90% of the messages that we received. These days, your mobile will also double as a camera, letting you capture those first precious moments.
- Breastfeeding Bra & maternity pads/cream
- Slippers/socks – still a good idea…
Some people pack their own pillow (to sleep better), etc but I didn’t feel like I needed these.
This can go into your Maternity Ward Bag… but is obviously meant for your own little Monkey(s)
- Baby hat – they lose heat quite quickly through their head
- 5-8 sleepsuits or bodysuits – we found the long sleeved, with buttons down the side or front to be the best (and easiest)
- Baby Blanket (or swaddling/receiving blanket)
- 2 Baby towels & a few face/wash cloths – our hospital provided the towels and clothes.
- socks (if your sleepsuits/bodysuits don’t have feet) – as you don’t want your Monkeys toes to get cold!
Going home – you will need to have a car seat (most hospitals wont discharge you otherwise), a *going home* outfit (the all in one outfits are the easiest) and of course a jacket/winter suit if it is cold outside.