Firstly, we recommend packing your hospital bag early, any time after around 20 weeks into your pregnancy. You don’t know when baby will make an appearance and it is better to be prepared. You can always add bits into your bag as you go too.
Secondly, try and split it into three parts; things for you in labour and post-delivery, things for baby, and things you will probably use at home and will need to grab at the last minute.
Pyjamas – nighties with buttons at the top are probably the most comfortable post-birth. There is no elasticated waistband, and the buttons allow for easy access if you choose to breastfeed.
Slippers and a thin dressing gown – in labour you could be pacing the floors so a comfortable pair of slippers are a must. A dressing gown keeps you covered when it comes to being on the maternity ward and from experience, thick fluffy ones can be too hot.
Socks – this probably sounds like a silly item that you think you will remember but strangely your feet can get cold in labour.
Lip balm – if you experience a natural delivery and use gas and air, your lips can dry out, so a lip balm is essential.
Hair bobbles – the last thing you want is your hair sticking to your face in labour!
Nursing bras and breast pads – nursing bras mostly for if you choose to breastfeed but breast pads are great even if you choose to bottle feed because you will naturally produce milk post-birth and will still need them.
Facecloth – not only great for washing with but to use as a cooling aid on your forehead during labour.
Maternity pads – no one really talks about post-partum bleeding, and you will probably need a couple of packs. They will be needed for both natural deliveries and Caesarean sections.
Toiletries – usually hospitals will try and get you home within 24 hours but you will still need toiletries. We would recommend buying a few little travel bottles of things like shower gel, shampoo and toothpaste.
Snacks and drinks – you may not need a lot of these depending on how long your labour is. Isotonic drinks like Lucozade Sport are great as they are absorbed into the body quickly, giving you a boost of energy. Snacks can be anything like plain rice crackers, energy bars (but be mindful of sugar content) or breadsticks.
High waisted underwear – if you have had a Caesarean you will not want anything resting across your incision after birth. High waisted briefs are also the most comfortable after a natural delivery and will probably be the most suitable for your maternity pads too.
Your going home outfit – leggings and loose top are probably the safest bet as you want to feel as comfortable as possible.
Sleepsuits in a couple of different sizes – First size and 0-3 are the safest bet as you never know what size your baby will need before you meet them.
Bodysuits – these go underneath the sleepsuits and you will probably need a few in case of nappy leakage!
A baby blanket – this will come in handy when they are in the cot next to you on the ward.
Nappies and wipes – one pack of size 1 nappies should be enough for a hospital stay and due to newborns having sensitive skin a pack of Waterwipes are the kindest to use.
Bibs or muslin squares – perfect for mopping up milk dribbles.
A going home outfit – not really a necessity but a nice idea to have a special outfit to bring your new bundle of joy home in.
Mobile phones and chargers
Toothbrush & hairbrush
Change for the car park
Hope this helps!