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What I packed in my hospital bag. The essentials from a third time Mum!

This blog covers the essential items that I found incredibly useful when packing my hospital bag for the arrival of my third baby. No sales pitch here, just friendly advice based on my personal experience. By this point, I had already been through it twice before, so I had a good idea of what was truly necessary and what ended up being a waste of space in the hospital room.

I usually got everything ready around the 36th week of my pregnancy since full-term can be anywhere between 37 to 42 weeks. This way, I was prepared for any unexpected early arrivals!

Let's start with what I packed in my hospital bag for myself:

Comfortable clothes - Comfortable clothes are a must for all new Mums. After giving birth and going through such a momentous experience, you deserve to be in clean, new pajamas or loungewear. I personally opted for loungewear since I enjoyed having visitors in the hospital, and it made me feel more at ease. I always packed darker pants, just in case maternity pads didn't provide full protection for post-birth bleeding. Loose and soft loungewear was my go-to choice. And don't forget to throw in a pair of fuzzy socks for that extra cosiness!

During labour, I preferred wearing a soft, loose-fitting dress that I could quickly put on and take off. This was especially convenient for those precious skin-to-skin moments with the baby right after birth when they would start breastfeeding almost immediately.

SRC Recover Shorts and box

Post-birth Recovery Shorts - I can't stress enough how much I recommend post-birth recovery shorts. Pregnancy and childbirth push your body to its limits, so having support and comfort is crucial. I personally chose SRC Recovery Shorts and they were a game-changer. I wore them for up to six weeks after birth, under my pants, skirts, and pyjamas. They not only aided in body movement and support but also helped speed up my recovery and get my body back into a comfortable shape. I give them a 10 out of 10!

Frank Green Water Bottle with straw

Water bottle (with a STRAW) - Here's a simple but effective tip, bring a water bottle with a straw. It may sound basic, but having a straw allows you to easily drink water while remaining in an upright or leaning position during labour. Opting for an upright or leaning position during birth is highly recommended as it allows gravity to lend a helping hand and creates a wider passage for your baby to move through. Whether it's standing, leaning over a bed, or using a birthing ball, these positions can greatly facilitate the birthing process. Staying hydrated is key to a positive birth experience and also supports your milk supply afterward. Make sure your birth partner keeps the water bottle within reach so you can sip it after every contraction.

Breast and Maternity Pads - Next up, breast and maternity pads. I recommend taking a few packs of maternity pads with you, especially if you deliver vaginally. Some hospitals provide them, but store-bought ones are often more effective.

Side tip: Pack a few ziplock bags in your hospital bag. I discovered that filling a ziplock bag with ice was a comfortable and leak-free way to reduce swelling and soreness in the pelvic region. And while you may not need breast pads until your milk supply kicks in (which can happen between the second and fifth day after birth), it never hurts to have a few on hand, just in case.

Lansinoh Nipple Cream

Breastfeeding Nipple Cream

Speaking of breastfeeding, let me mention the incredible Lanolin Nipple Cream. I've mentioned it in one of my previous blogs (My Top 6 Most Useful Baby Products), and it truly made a difference for me. Like many women, I experienced extreme pain and discomfort during the early days of breastfeeding. But after using this cream for just a day or so, we moved past the difficult learning stage and embarked on a happy breastfeeding journey together. I used this cream while breastfeeding all three of my children, and it quickly became a must-have for me after each birth. If you encounter sore or cracked nipples along your breastfeeding journey, Contact Nipple Shields can also help you heal faster by providing a much-needed break for your nipples.

Now, let's move on to other items you might find in my hospital bag:

  1. Toiletries are a must, including a hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, deoderant and body wash. However, it's best to avoid wearing strong perfumes or deodorants right after birth, as your natural scent helps with the bonding between you and your baby.

  2. Don't forget to pack extra underwear and socks for yourself, along with some snacks (chocolate is usually my go-to).

  3. Stool softeners or laxatives can be a lifesaver for your first bowel movement after birth. Trust me, you'll be grateful for them!

  4. And, of course, make sure you have a phone charger with you to keep your device powered up.

Now, let's move on to what I packed for my Baby:

When it comes to packing for your baby, here are some recommendations to ensure you have everything you need:

  • Four outfits: It's always a good idea to pack a few extra outfits for your baby, considering unexpected messes and spills that may occur during your hospital stay.

  • Four singlets: These are essential for layering and keeping your baby comfortable. They provide an extra layer of warmth and help regulate their body temperature.

  • Two terry towel nappies cloths: These versatile cloths are handy for various purposes, such as burping, wiping spills, or as an additional layer of protection during diaper changes.

  • Two muslin wraps: Muslin wraps are lightweight and breathable, making them ideal for swaddling your baby. They can also serve as a nursing cover or a light blanket.

  • One blanket: Bringing a cosy blanket will keep your little one snug and warm during their time in the hospital.

  • Hats: Newborns are prone to losing body heat through their heads, so having a couple of hats will help keep them insulated.

  • Socks: Keep your baby's tiny feet warm by packing a few pairs of soft and comfortable socks.

  • Mittens: Babies' nails can be surprisingly sharp, and they may accidentally scratch their delicate skin. Mittens will protect their face from any unintended scratches.

  • Nappies: Make sure to pack an ample supply of newborn-sized nappies. Newborns tend to go through several nappy changes in a day, so it's better to be prepared.

  • Wipes: These are essential for keeping your baby clean and fresh. Opt for gentle and hypoallergenic wipes suitable for newborns.

  • Disposable nappy bags: These bags are useful for discreetly disposing of soiled nappies and keeping any odours contained.

  • Dummy: If you choose to use a dummy (pacifier), having one on hand can provide soothing comfort for your baby.

Brown duffle bag on ground

For my Birth Partner:

Here are some recommendations for what your birth partner should pack to provide the best support during labour:

More info about the role of the birth partner in my blog (The Role of the Birth Partner) and ways they can best support you!

  • Birth plan: A birth plan outlines your preferences for the birthing process, including pain management, interventions, and other important decisions. Having a copy of the birth plan ensures that your partner can advocate for your wishes and communicate them to the medical staff.

  • Cheat sheet: Create a cheat sheet for your birth partner, summarizing key ideas and reminders on how they can support you during labor. This can include techniques for pain relief, massage techniques, breathing exercises, and other strategies that have been helpful during your pregnancy.

  • Swim shorts: Packing swim shorts allows your birth partner to join you in the shower and provide water on your back and belly, offering soothing relief during contractions. The warm water can help alleviate discomfort and provide a comforting environment.

  • Comfortable clothes to change into: Labor can be a long process, and your birth partner may appreciate having a change of clothes to feel fresh and comfortable. Opt for loose-fitting and breathable clothing to ensure their comfort throughout the duration of your labor.

  • Toiletries: Your birth partner should pack their own toiletries, including items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and any other personal care items they may need during your time in the hospital. It's important for them to feel refreshed and prepared to support you.

  • Water bottle: Staying hydrated is crucial during labor, and your birth partner should have their own water bottle to ensure they can stay hydrated throughout the process. It's essential for them to take care of their own well-being while providing support to you.

Extra tips:

Towel in the car - Consider keeping a towel in the car just in case your waters break unexpectedly en route to the hospital.

Infant Car seat installed - Make sure the infant car seat is installed and ready to go. The last thing you want to worry about after giving birth is how to get your baby home safely.

On a final note:

Finally, remember to pack your hospital bag earlier than you think! And to set the scene for a calm and soothing environment, bring a pillow from home, a phone or portable speaker for music, and your favourite scents and/or aromatherapy oils.

Being a first-time mom can be overwhelming with the abundance of information out there. But don't worry, it's okay to not have everything "perfect." My list is based on my own research and trial and error. It's all about learning what works for you and what doesn't. I hope these recommendations can help you feel more confident in your own choices and make your journey as a new mom a little smoother.

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