As the due date gets closer and closer, even the most prepared parent can feel like their to-do list is overwhelming! While some things can wait until after the baby arrives, one thing that has to happen earlier is preparing for hospital admission. Here is a checklist of some items I recommend you pack in your hospital bag.
Hospital stay basics
- Paperwork – this includes your Medicare card, health insurance details, and any pre-filled hospital forms.
- Toiletries – bring whatever toiletries you feel you will need for your stay.
- Eye mask and/or ear plugs – sleep is going to be precious (and rare) the first few days. If you’re someone who has difficulty sleeping in a new environment, make sure to pack these.
- Drinks and snacks – childbirth is hard work so you may want to pack some favourites to keep your energy levels up during and after labour.
- Chargers for your phone and other electronics – keep your phone charged for all those messages and pictures you’ll likely be taking and sending!
Essentials for mum
- Relaxed labour outfit – giving birth is a messy affair, so make sure you have something loose and comfy like a large t-shirt or old nightgown to wear.
- Underwear and maternity pads – most maternity units will provide these, but if you have a preferred brand, make sure to get those with you. As a guide, I would recommend 2 pairs of underwear per day, and 2-3 packs of maternity pads (they usually come in a 12 pack).
- 2-3 Nursing bras – whether you plan to breastfeed or not, you will find that nursing bras are much more comfortable than underwire bras while you are in hospital. If you’re not breastfeeding, remember to bring any formula and equipment for feeding.
- Nipple cream or Lanolin – this to help sooth your nipples as mum and baby learn to breastfeed
- Casual hospital clothes – after your delivery, you’ll want nothing more to be comfortable during your hospital stay. Consider button-up options to make breastfeeding easy.
- Baby clothes – a couple of onesies, some booties, and a hat should suffice for a standard stay.
- Nappies and wipes – most Brisbane hospitalswill supply some but it’s good to be prepared with some extras.
- Burping clothes – very useful for cleaning up any milk your baby burps up.
For the trip home
- Going home clothes – after staying in a hospital for several days with a newborn, clean clothes will seem like a welcome luxury. Many mums like to set aside a clean set of clothes to travel home in.
- Car seat – remember to practise how to use the car seat before you need to use it because they can be a little tricky to work out the first couple of times.
- Baby blanket – to wrap up your newborn for a warm and cosy trip home.
- Togs – for your partner to wear when or if they help you shower.
- Lip balm – a must-have according to many experienced mums. This will help protect your lips from the constant hospital air conditioning.
- Slippers or sandals – you might find yourself slipping your shoes on and off pretty regularly during your stay so slippers or flip-flops can be quite convenient.
- Your favourite pillow – hospital pillows aren’t for everyone so if you want to ensure you are as comfortable as possible, bring your own pillow.
- Entertainment – you are unlikely to have a lot of spare time in hospital but you may want to bring a book or some headphonesto help pass the time.
It may be a good idea to pre-pack your hospital bag a couple of weeks in advance. That way, you have one less thing to worry about once labour starts.
As an experienced obstetrician, Dr Joseph Jabbour is your specialist support through the pregnancy journey – providing you with professional advice and compassionate care.
He offers private consultations at the Sunnybank Centre for Women and The Wesley Hospital in Brisbane, and has admission rights to Sunnybank Private Hospital, Greenslopes Private Hospital, and the Mater Brisbane.