The hospital bag essentials an expectant mother should pack

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As an expectant mother, I was worried sick that I’d give birth early and my hospital bag essentials weren’t going to be ready. I am one of those people who loves shopping for new clothes and beauty products when going on holidays, so it’s not surprising that I had my hospital bag packed two months out.

RELATED: A list of things a new mum needs to care for her baby, recommended by our mum & baby editor

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However, the general rule of thumb is to have your hospital bag essentials ready to go by 36 weeks. Which is a good thing because, if you’re anything like me, there’s a chance you can have your baby early – I actually had my baby at 38 weeks.

I had plenty of recommendations from friends who had already ‘been there and done that’, so I felt pretty confident, as a new mum,  I knew what I was doing when I packing my bag. One hot tip I got was from one of my bookish friends, who packed a bunch of books in her hospital bag. She thought she’d have plenty of time to read a book or two. Boy was she wrong. So I ditched the books. (BTW – in my experience, she was right. I was way too busy and tired to focus on reading a book).

At the last minute, my mum suggested I pack undies that weren’t restrictive around the waist plus some super absorbent pads. And she was right! Firstly, I had a c-section, due to medical reasons, so I couldn’t wear anything tight around this area. And secondly, I had a heavy, heavy, heavy period right after the birth, so I needed to wear heavy duty pads for at least a week afterward.

Besides these items, I kept my bag super simple and even ditched some of the key items I was recommended like music and an oil burner. Here are the hospital bag essentials I recommend for an expectant mother:

  • A couple of loose nighties: I couldn’t wear clothing that was going to put pressure on the c-section area or get in the way of the catheter which you have inserted for 48 hours after having an epidural.
  • 10 pairs of oversized black undies: I got them in three sizes too big so that the elastic sat well and truly above the c-section line.
  • Going home outfit and shoes
  • Three nursing bras
  • Nipple cream
  • Nursing pads
  • Toiletries: including hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste, moisturiser, lip balm and deodorant.
  • Baby clothes for the hospital and going home: I made sure I bought the smallest onesie available for newborns 0000, it was a much better fit than 0-3 months.
  • Baby wraps
  • Snacks: the food was great at the hospital but I was so hungry and couldn’t get about easily to acquire any food.
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Plastic bag to put your dirty clothes in

I love hearing how other mums do things when it comes to everything from pregnancy, to birthing and beyond, so I asked the beautyheaven members what hospital bag essentials they packed.

“Black upsized undies to fit the huge pad and if you have had a cesarean you will need an even bigger ones. You won’t need for long so just get :(. Your first shower will be a big treat and you want to smell fresh and pretty so pack everything that you love the smell of; body wash, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner. Nothing too floral or overpowering so it doesn’t swamp your new little bundle but enough to make you feel human again.I wear makeup so I took that and some face moisturiser. Decant everything if you don’t want to take a whole bottle. Deodorant, toothbrush and paste, baby wipes so you can freshen yourself up.I took some treats along because after going the whole nine yards you deserve a treat or ten.Oh and don’t forget a phone charger :)” -bh member, Sparkle 77

“I packed nappies because hospital only gave 3 and all the necessities, as I am not sure what I need the first time. I live close to the hospital so it wasn’t a huge deal if I forgot anything BUT! I would put things that I may want in a box/ aside. IF I do need it (like more pads/ more undies) I will ask hubby to bring it. He’ll do it, but looking for it is a problem. What I definitely recommend mother who intends to breastfeed pack: multi- mam compress. I swear by this thing, better than lanolin honestly. It can also get boring, so ipads/ chargers and books are helpful as for washes, I just have those travel packs that are safe for babies cuddles.oh, and baby clothes to bring the baby home with.” -bh member, Cosmoslyn

“I was quite well packed. I had shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion for myself (fragranced for before childbirth and unfragranced/very mildly scented for after childbirth because the baby needs to smell you :). However, I did not pack enough undies and PJs. I had a lot but still weren’t enough. I should have packed 3 undies and 1 set of PJs for each night’s stay. I was glad that I have packed nipple cream and hydrogel. You kind of need to wear a bra for the hydrogel to stay on (I didn’t know that). Otherwise just get some tapes from the midwives to stick then on.Chocolates. For myself and to share with the lovely midwives. My hospital didn’t provide baby bath oil/gel, I wish I brought QV baby bath oil with me. I did bring some baby body lotion which was handy. One set of clothes for the baby on discharge. The onesies we prepared were way too big, so perhaps prepare 2 different sizes just in case. A hat for the baby as well if it is cold.” -bh member, skincare junkie

“Lollies (long labour sugar hit), maternity pads – you bleed so much, granny undies to hold the pads (and more comfortable over a C section incision), a nice body wash after labour to make you feel human again for your first shower, socks, nappies (but the hospital also provide nappies for the first few days), ipad (loaded with shows) I was induced overnight so this was my saving grace during contractions, book to read for the days after (hospitals are boring), BB cream and mascara to make you look alive when visitors pop around.I also took a lot of comfortable clothes such as trackies/lounge pants and tops that I could breastfeed in without having to strip completely. For bubs I’d take some beanies, onesies and muslin cloths / babygro bags to swaddle. That’s all I can think of for now. Edit: Nipple balm if you’re going to breastfeed..it feels like your nipples are being ripped off the first few days.” -bh member, Marina_87

“My babies were many years ago and things have changed so much since then. When I had my kids the hospital supplied the Nappies and the gowns so all I had to pack for bub was the going home outfit and 1 disposable nappy. For me, I found that the Sanitary Napkins I had packed were not enough with my first. I stayed in for 5 days with her but with my other two, I stayed overnight so it wasn’t an issue but even so you will want a huge stash of these for home. Even if you don’t take a lot to the hospital you should have a backup bag that you can have packed with more sanitary napkins and extra pairs of underwear. I also packed plastic bags to put my blood-stained underwear and nighties in for my husband to take home and soak for me. Breast Pads are essential if you plan to stay in for more then 2 days and extra bras.” -bh member, Meedee

What did you pack in your hospital bag? What are you going to pack in your hospital bag?

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