Preparing for pregnancy is among the most exciting and nerve-racking aspects of your life journey as a woman. Most women tend to make lists - mental if not written ones - of things during the nine-month gestation period and in preparation of bringing home the baby. Organising the nursery, booking a hospital bed/room, working out maternity leave, looking for childcare help – the list is long.
‘Pace yourself’ is what most experts and experienced mothers recommend, adding that the 35th week is when you should start thinking about the hospital stay in earnest. Check details with your doctor, plan the hospital trip with your partner and keep your contacts list ready in case backup is required.
This is also when you want to start packing that maternity hospital bag.
What is a hospital bag?
A hospital bag is a customised collection of essentials that you will need in the hospital. A maternity hospital bag should contain products for the newborn too. While most hospitals provide a comprehensive list of items to the mother and infant, there’s nothing more comforting than the known during stressful times.
The kind of bag is not important here - Inner Sense suggests choosing anything from a backpack to a duffel bag or even a trolley suitcase. Pick a bag that is easy to handle. If you need to buy a bag, then consider one that can later be used as a baby diaper bag. Most times it helps to decide on the bag once you’ve collected all the items that need to be carried to the hospital.
For convenience sake, it is recommended that you make a list of the essentials (or use the one provided by Inner Sense) and pack these into four separate bags.
- For the mom
- For the newborn
- For the partner
- For an extended stay
I For the Mom
- Identity card
- Insurance papers
- Phone & charger– Choose a charger with an extra-long cord to avoid stretching and straining to access the phone.
- Hospital notes, hospital paperwork, prescriptions, medicines
- Nightgowns/Robe -Pack an old comfortable gown that you can wear during the labour; we say old as this gown is likely to get messy and may need to be thrown away.
- Clothes -A loose and comfortable outfit that you would want to wear home.
- Maternity/Nursing bras -Pack at least 2/3 of these comfortable bras to tide you through the hospital stay and as you are eased into breastfeeding. You can get organic nursing bras by Inner Sense here.
- Breastfeeding cover
- Nipple cream -Your breasts are likely to be sore in the initial days.
- Maternity pads/adult diapers
- Panties – If you can find them and are comfortable, opt for disposable underwear; it’ll save laundry time once you are home. Or else go for the softest possible underwear preferably made of organic cotton & anti-microbial fabric like these by Inner Sense.
- Comfortable footwear & socks- Your feet may swell so carry at least two pairs of footwear that give your feet enough breathing space. Anti-skid cotton socks work for when you need to walk around but are unable to slip on the footwear.
- Glasses/Contact lenses -If you wear them.
- Toiletries & makeup -Pack basics like toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, shower gel, shampoo, hairbrush, towel, makeup, lip balm, face wipes, body wipes, towel.
- Non-perishable food items –It’s always a good idea to carry some munchies from home; these will help you before and after delivery.
- Antiseptic wipes -The multipurpose variety that can be used for almost anything, including wiping the toilet seat if you are using a common bathroom.
- Favourite pillow/blanket
- Books/Magazines/iPad/Tablet -For some distraction and personalised
- Portable speaker -Music of your choice could be of great help during labour and even later, as you recuperate.
- Plastic bags -To carry home soiled clothes for laundry.
II For the Newborn
- Clothes -Dress your infant in a brand-new outfit as it goes home.
- Mittens -To stop the tiny tot from scratching its face.
- Socks, Booties, Caps -Newborn are sensitive to the surroundings so it’s best to keep them snug.
- Blankets -Several mothers prefer to wrap the infant in home washed blankets.
- Cloth nappies –Soft cotton cloth is always a better choice over store-bought nappies, however comfortable the latter may seem
- Nappies -Because apparently, newborn babies poop a lot! A lot!
- Foldable changing mat
- Cotton balls -To clean the baby during nappy change; store-bought wipes should not be used for a few weeks.
Note: Hospitals provide an adequate number of nappies and cotton for the newborn; Inner Sense suggests you have a word with the hospital about supplies before packing these.
III For the Partner
- Clothes -Labour can last long, its best to be prepared in case your partner needs to be in the hospital for more than a day.
- Phone & charger
- Books / Magazines / Tablet - Whatever it takes to help them pass time.
- Sleeping bag & pillow
- Toiletries -Toothbrush, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, glasses, contact lens case and solution.
- Non-perishable snacks & drinks
- List of contact details
- Prescription medicines
IV The Extended-Stay Bag