What to pack in your hospital bag for birth

Baby bag

If packing your hospital bag was an olympic sport, I would have qualified. Or maybe over-qualified. When you’re pregnant, it seems like you either over-prepare and have 3 suitcases packed at 25 weeks, or roll with the punches and pack a backpack once your waters break. Surely there is an in-between bliss of packing the right amount, at the right time? So where do you even start then? Here’s our ‘what to pack in your hospital bag’ cheat sheet.

For you:

  • A comfortable pair of Pyjamas that are easy to breastfeed in and change dressings etc. We recommend sizing up so you are nice and comfortable. Avoid synthetic fabrics and silky material and opt for light-weight cotton. Want to spoil yourself? We love the Piyama range
  • A pack of Postpartum Panties: No matter how you delivered your baby you will experience postpartum bleeding which can last for up to 6 weeks. Partum panties can be worn both during pregnancy and after delivery, with abdominal support, and a high waistband so they don't irritate a C-Section wound.
  • Maternity Bras x 2: After your baby is born your milk will slowly start to come in. We recommend having two maternity bras packed so you can easily change during your hospital stay.
  • Nipple Balm: Your nipples aren’t going to hurt immediately, but packing a good quality nipple balm for your hospital stay will help you stay on top of any discomfort that may arise and give you a better chance at establishing breastfeeding. 
  • Recovery pants: Once your baby has exited their temporary home in your belly, it will start to feel a lot like jelly. I remember this feeling to be quite uncomfortable and just a bit strange. I was worried all my organs were swishing around in there, not staying in place. Wearing a pair of recovery tights help keep you feeling supported in those days and weeks post-birth.
  • Slippers and socks, and a cardigan for good measure: Hospitals are cold places, so make sure you pack some things that will keep you nice and warm. 
  • Your own pillow: This isn’t a necessity but it will 100% make you feel more yourself and relaxed. 
  • Snacks and a BIG water bottle (with a straw): Labor can go on for a long time sometimes and you need to keep up your fluids and blood sugar levels. Opt for easy bite-sized snacks and a water bottle that has a straw. 
  • The longest phone charger you can find: Duck into your local Kmart and pick up the longest phone charger available. Being bed bound after birth and needing to constantly get up to check your phone is not ideal.
  • Lip Balm: Again, not a necessity but you will notice your lips dry out in the constant air conditioning. This is more of a nice to have. 
  • Toiletries: Bring as little or as many as you want. Whatever is going to make you feel like you, and feel good - do that. Dry shampoo? Yep, Face mask? Why not. You just birthed a baby. You do you girl!
  • Whatever you need to create your birth space: This is so personal! One woman may opt for a salt lamp, candle lit room with mantra cards everywhere and soft music playing. Another may just want her headphones and a hot shower. Take the time to think about what is going to work for you, and pack that. 
  • Recovery items: If you have a vaginal birth, most hospitals will have ice pack supplies so you don’t need to worry about packing ones from home. You will however want to think about packing a spray bottle down there. It will really help make trips to the bathroom in the first few days a little more bearable. If you’re recovering from a c-section wound, the recovery tights will help with that too. 

For your baby: 

  • Maximum of 4 onesies: Read that again, not 8 (May have learnt through experience there). My daughter actually only wore one during hospital, and a fresh one for going home. BUT you don’t know if there will be a mess etc., so 4 will certainly safeguard you. Opt for onesies that have foot and hand covers for your newborn and that are double zipped. 
  • A Sleepsuit: Babies, especially newborns need to be constantly swaddled to feel secure and safe. Rather than spending time wrapping and re-wrapping a tiny human burrito while simultaneously trying to recover from giving birth, opt for a sleepsuit instead
  • A Muslin Wrap: It’s still a great idea to pack a wrap for your baby. And ofcourse, it makes for the cutest newborn photos. 
  • Newborn Nappies: It depends on how long you are going to stay in hospital for, but as a rule of thumb pack 6-8 nappies for each day your planning on being in hospital. Remember though, Nappies are something your birth support person can easily pop out and restock, and most hospitals will supply them as well so be sure to ask your care providers in the lead up to birth. 
  • A pack of newborn wipes: Opt for natural newborn wipes like WotNot that won’t cause irritation on your newborn's skin. One pack will suffice for your hospital stay unless there’s a catastrophic poonamie situation (unlikely in the first week after birth). 
  • A beanie to keep their head warm: Bubs get cold very easily, so keeping their extremities toasty is a top priority. 
  • Something to play white noise on: Hospitals are loud places and babies are easily disturbed. Find some white noise on Spotify, or opt for a sleep-aid.