What did I need in the hospital bag?

I posted before the birth about what I’d packed in our hospital bag, and I did say I’d update! It’s all very well to say what we took, but what we actually needed is far more useful to know.

So, my labour was long. You can read our birth story if you’ve not already. But basically, 38 hours of labour and then we stayed in for another night. We only had one real “sleep” night, but we were there for a while!

We massively over-packed. One of the midwives told us off for how much we’d brought! But we’d never done this before – we weren’t to know!

So, here’s how it went down.

What I needed

  • Nursing bra x 2 – the second one was invaluable, as baby pooed all over the first one on her way out!
  • Pyjamas with button top – I didn’t wear the pyjama bottoms in the end, but instead wore the top with maternity yoga pants which felt a bit looser. I wore the pyjama top from the time I got changed after my bed bath after delivery until going home. (Actually, I think I wore it home.)
  • Black maternity yoga pants – see above.
  • Black knickers x 4 – I probably could have coped with only two spare, but yes, definitely needed these.
  • Disposable maternity pads x 20 – I didn’t use the whole pack as my bleeding was fairly light, but it was easier just to have the pack there.
  • Travel size toiletries (shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, etc) – yes and no. I used the toothpaste, but wasn’t well enough to shower while I was in hospital. I got given a bed bath, but they provided the equipment for that!
  • Toothbrush – obviously.
  • Lip balm – oh yes. The midwives actually encouraged me to use this during labour. My lips got so dry!
  • Hair bobbles and brush and comb – I didn’t pay any attention to my hair during labour, but I really wanted it tied up afterwards.
  • Deodorant – labour is hard work.
  • Fun size snacks – very necessary for after! My parents also came by with loads of food after the delivery which was great.
  • Carrier bags for any washing – my husband did all the arranging of this, but very useful.
  • Phone and long charger cable – the long charger was invaluable. Hospital beds are not always right up against the wall!
  • iPad – we could have done without this, but it was nice to be able to Facetime my in-laws after baby arrived.
  • A bottle of blackcurrant squash – I was very dehydrated.
  • Camera – very necessary! My husband got some beautiful pictures that he couldn’t have done with just a phone.

What I didn’t need

  • Tens machine – this thing was a waste of space. Stupid thing!
  • Black vests – I thought I’d be getting dressed more than I did.
  • Dressing gown – we had a private room as I was quite ill, so I didn’t feel the need to be too covered up. Also, it was insanely hot in there!
  • Socks – because I was bedbound for so long, they had me wear compression stockings.
  • Old slippers – I wasn’t able to walk around, so these weren’t necessary.
  • Button down nightie – I was in a hospital gown while labouring, due to the epidural, and then wanted something with trousers.
  • Disposable pants – I haven’t found that my after birth bleeding was that bad (no worse than a very heavy period). I was absolutely fine wearing black pants and maternity pads.
  • Breast pads and nipple cream – my milk didn’t come in until about day six or seven. This is quite normal with an extended labour, from the sounds of it, but it did mean that I really didn’t need them. I do now though!
  • Black towel – my blood pressure wasn’t stable enough to have a shower. The hospital put puppy pad type things on the bed so it didn’t matter if I bled there, and obviously they used their own stuff for my bed bath.
  • Water spray – I guess this would have been for labour? Didn’t use it, anyway!
  • Ear plugs – we were in a private room, and also I was so out of it I was just drowsing away anyway!
  • Sports water bottles – I remembered that I had this mid-pee. The first pee stung very slightly, but not too much. I hydrated myself so much (IV fluids and drinking) that my urine was so diluted and it was hardly an issue.

What baby needed

  • Babygrows and vests x 3 – I think we only needed two of each, but we could have done with them in a smaller size! We had everything in newborn and 0-3 months. At nearly two weeks, she’s still in tiny baby sizes. We were definitely expecting her to be a bit bigger!
  • Cardigans/little fleecy jackets x 2 – we only needed one of these on the way home.
  • Hat – they were so strict about making sure she had a hat! Definitely needed this.
  • Blankets x 2 – probably could have got away with just one!
  • Nappies x 1 pack – we certainly didn’t use a full pack, but we did need nappies!
  • Water Wipes x 1 pack – definitely necessary.
  • Swaddle wrap – this thing is magical and we really needed it.
  • Bag for any soiled clothes – self-explanatory!
  • Car seat – yes. We needed to bring it out of the car to take her downstairs in it, in fact, as the midwives wanted us to prove we had one.

What baby didn’t need

  • Muslins – I don’t think we used any of them. We mainly used wipes in the hospital.
  • Snowsuit or other weather appropriate coming home outfit – we just used the sleepsuit she was already wearing with a fleecy jacket.

What daddy needed

  • Phone and charger – same as me. He was also in charge of keeping my frantic parents in touch!
  • Flask of coffee – he had to stay awake for a very long time!

What daddy didn’t need

  • Change of clothes – I don’t think he changed once; he was too distracted!
  • Loose change/money for vending machines – the hospital gave him a voucher for a free meal. He was able to take some time away when I was happy with my epidural and come back well-fed!
  • Sketchbook and pencils – there wasn’t really much downtime where he wasn’t comforting me or sleeping.
  • Hypnobirthing books – yeah, we could have thrown these out of the window!

So that’s how it went down! I don’t think that there was much (or anything?) that we felt we should have brought that we didn’t.

I hope this list helps someone! What was your hospital bag like? Anything big missing, or too much included?

One Comment

  1. I’m making notes! At my midwife appointment on Friday she was asking if I’d thought about what I’d be taking to hospital. We’ve got the added complication of being helicoptered off the island if labour starts when the ferries aren’t running. I think once we have the bag organised it’ll be living in the car just in case!

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