You’re preparing to go into the hospital for what will undoubtedly be one of the greatest, scariest and most memorable moments of your life – but we’re guessing you won’t remember much more than the moment you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. One other thing you’ll probably remember: whether or not your partner remembered to pack that one thing that you absolutely must have while at the hospital… oops.
We promise you this, regardless of what is or isn’t in your hospital bag when the big day comes, you will be OK. With that said, it is important to feel prepared when you go into labour, and it’s so helpful to have a few niceties with you to make your hospital stay a bit more comfortable. We think it’s never too early to start thinking about the essentials you may need, and we’ve got a list to get you started.
As your due date nears, put a car seat in the back of your car, or have one ready by the door to take with you to hospital. You absolutely need a rear-facing car seat to leave the hospital with your newborn, so it’s best to be prepared early and do your research. We recommend travel systems because you can’t beat the convenience of a pushchair and car seat all-in-one. It will take some time to find the best one for you, your family, and your budget, but here are our top picks:
- Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus i-Size Car Seat (does not include travel system)
- Silver Cross Simplicity Infant Carrier plus Silver Cross Pioneer Pushchair Seat, Chassis and Carrycot
- UPPAbaby VISTA 2017 Stroller with Leather Handles
Once you have your car seat in order (perfectly OK to wait on the rest of the travel system!) we recommend packing the following for your baby:
- Several nappies (size N)
- At least one muslin
- His or her first outfit – we love this adorable newborn set that includes a onesie, a velour sleepsuit, hat, and cotton mitts.
- A soft, cottony blanket to keep your baby warm on his or her first trip home.
Now, let’s talk about your bag. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A cosy and luxurious dressing gown. This beautiful jersey-material dressing gown is so soft to the touch, stretchy enough for complete comfort and freedom of movement, and will keep you warm when you’re walking around the air-conditioned hospital ward.
- A slightly bland – yet essential – product for your hospital bag is a pair of socks. We know that your feet might be the last thing on your mind, but believe us, they can get cold during labour too. We recommend these no-slip gripper socks, though typically designed for Pilates or Barre classes, these are perfect for a quick stay in the hospital. They will keep your toes plenty warm and, more importantly, the grips will prevent you from slipping on hospital floors.
- A lightweight nightie that’s affordable and easy to clean is a real necessity in your hospital bag. This is going to be in a need of a wash (or a toss in the bin) after labor so we wouldn’t advise buying anything too expensive or fancy. We recommend this cotton nightshirt; the fabric will keep you cool when things heat up and it’s chic enough that no one will ever know you’re in PJs.
- Lip balm. Make-up will probably be the last thing on your mind once you’re giving birth, but if you’re inclined to add a little rouge to your lips while in hospital, be our guest. Just make sure that it is hydrating. It’s so important to make sure you have something to keep your lips or any other dry areas well-moisturized. Giving birth can be uncomfortable enough, you don’t need to be bothered by the irritation of dry, itchy skin or chapped lips. Here’s what we recommend to soothe your lips and nourish your skin (BONUS: this body lotion by Mustela is specifically designed to be safe for use on baby’s skin from the moment you meet him or her!).
- Whether your hair is short, long or somewhere in between – you’ll want something to hold it back and out of your face while the important stuff is going on. These hair bands from Lululemon will keep fringe and frizz off your face. Plus they’ll be perfect for when you kickstart your new mama exercise routine!
- Let’s be honest, hospital pillows can be a bit… uncomfortable. A word to the wise, however: do not bring your favourite pillow from home. Things can get messy in the delivery room, and while we want you to find as much comfort as possible, you’ll be so glad you saved your beloved bed pillow. We do recommend bringing a pillow with you because the hospital ones just won’t cut it. Opt for a slightly cheaper, yet wonderfully comfortable down pillow like this one, from John Lewis.
- While grabbing a bite to eat may be the last thing on your mind, it is so important to maintain good energy levels – trust us, you will need it. This Tempting Tropical Mix from Jumble Bee is a delicious jumble of dried fruit, nuts and seeds – the perfect ingredients to keep you energised.
- Staying hydrated is just as important as staying energised – and you’ll likely have plenty of water provided by the hospital. But, you can get the best of both worlds with Rebel Kitchen’s Choco Free Dairy Mylk. This lactose-free coconut milk drink is perfect if you’re not tempted to eat but need a bit more than water to get you through labour – and who can say no to chocolate?
- Whether you plan to nurse or not, we recommend this nursing sleep bra because it’s comfortable enough to wear at night and won’t compress your chest or restrict movement. Plus – it’s only lightly lined, so you can easily slip in breast pads (you’ll definitely want some of these) to catch any leaks.
- While your hospital stay will likely be short, you will want all of your usual toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush – to help you feel at home. We’re guessing you have those all on-hand, but rather than toss them in with the rest of your hospital essentials, pop them into a foldable hanging wash bag that can conveniently rest on a bathroom hook and keep everything in place. Plus, a wash bag like this is perfect for any trip away, not just your hospital stay.
- You will want some comfortable underwear to ease you through some uncomfortable moments. Even better than comfortable for your hospital stay is convenient – and these disposable knickers tick both boxes. They’re perfect for easy cleanup, they’re comfortable enough for wear before and (especially) after birth, and last but not least, they’re hygienic, so you can be worry-free.
- Your baby’s first outfit is probably all ready to go – but have you thought of a going home outfit for yourself? you’ll want items that are loose-fitting and soft, so as not to pinch or pull in places that may be sore. Need some inspiration? We love this maternity jumpsuit from Isabella Oliver. It comes in a sleek, slimming black, and the wrap-front style is perfect post-delivery. It’s casual enough for you to be comfortable, yet dressy enough for you to look and feel amazing. Plus, it’s one of their forever-wear items so it can be a wardrobe staple even after your baby belly is long gone.