what to pack in your hospital bag

What to pack in your hospital bag when you’re having a baby

WORDS: Ros McDonough

Ros McDonough offers discrete single midwifery appointments via Hello Baby! Midwifery, as well as a complete schedule of visits during pregnancy to six weeks after birth. Ros has over 25 years of experience as a midwife working in the South Australian public health system, as well as being a qualified childbirth and parent educator. Ros helps women harness their inner strength as they journey through pregnancy, birth and beyond, making sure they are empowered, supported and encouraged to make informed, confident choices about their care.

Most hospitals will have a basic list of things to bring in for you and your baby on their website or in the information they provide prior to your admission, but here are some additional things that you might like to consider packing in your hospital bag when you’re due to have your baby.

Things to take to the hospital when you’re in labour

  • Make sure you have your cheer squad! Partner, support person, midwife, doula, obstetrician, birth photographer – you need to have the team of your choice to cheer you on so that you feel confident and supported. Think about a birth map and give it to your delivery suite midwife.
  • For the labour wear something loose and comfortable that you don’t mind getting dirty. Women often get hot in labour so a tank or crop top, or an oversize button through shirt. Getting the oxytocin flowing is so beneficial to labour and birth so wearing one of your partner’s shirts can be a nice way of connecting into that.
  • Warm socks – hot body, cold feet… it’s a thing!
  • Bringing something from home to make the hospital room cosier and more familiar can help you relax, perhaps your own pillow or throw rug.
  • Words and self-talk are powerful! Choose some sayings or bring in some affirmation cards that will help you to focus on the positives when things get tough in labour (and some blu tack to stick them on the walls).
  • Download some familiar relaxation meditations onto your phone.
  • Oil burners or candles aren’t allowed in hospitals, but you can put some of your favourite scents on a cloth in a ziplock bag to inhale when needed to help you return to calm.
  • There is evidence-based research around the effectiveness of music as pain relief which is further amplified by using headphones or earbuds, so get your playlist sorted with a fully charged battery pack to recharge your devices. Have a waterproof speaker so you can use it while labouring in the bath or shower.
  • Pack your partner’s boardies so they can be with you while labouring in water.
  • Look into hiring a TENS machine for pain relief and remember to bring it with you!
  • Distractions to pass the time.
  • Hair ties!
  • Energy drinks and snacks for you and your partner.
  • A button shirt for your partner so they can do skin to skin and bond with babe too.
  • Lasinoh lanolin for lip balm in labour and for nipple cream in those first breastfeeding days!
  • Consider investing in some re-usable breast and perineum ice and heat packs for soothing relief.
  • Take Qiara probiotics for gut microbiome health. Antibiotics are often used over this time and Qiara will help to restore the balance of good gut bacteria. The benefits of Qiara will also be transferred to babe via the breast milk.
  • Breastfeeding doesn’t always happen quickly or easily for Mum or bub. Taking some expressed breast milk into the hospital can come in handy and ease the stress. Ask your midwife for information around the best way of doing this.

For when bubs is born:

Apart from the obvious essentials like nappies, wipes, wraps, onesies, socks, a hat and a baby blanket for when you leave, here’s a few things you might like to consider adding to your list for bubs:

  • Announcement disc for the first official photo.
  • Have your list of contacts pre-sorted so you only need to send out one announcement.
  • A rear-facing properly fitted car seat to take babe home.
  • Delegate your BFF into organising a meal roster for the first 2 weeks after you go home – one person per day to greet baby and bring food!! The best!


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