When I was told I was being admitted to hospital at 27 weeks (you can read about that here...), I panicked.
I had absolutely nothing with me apart from my handbag and my husband. Plus, I knew that even when he popped home, John would have to search out and pack the stuff I needed. In the end, I text him a list of what I needed (and wanted) with little instructions as to where the items could be located. It was a nightmare, so I thought it was about time I got myself organised.
I've learned my lesson and I now have a bag packed.
There are a few lists floating around, from various places such as Baby Centre and Emma's Diary. Despite this, I have created my own list, and made a printable tick sheet version which you can find and print for free here.
Firstly; try and avoid taking too much high value stuff with you. Do not bring your favourite expensive watch or diamond bracelet.
Now; here is my ultimate list of things to pack in your hospital bag, (including some explanations as to why):
For Night Time
My lovely hubby bought me a cute Minnie Mouse design eye mask, which is perfect as hospitals cannot be completely pitch black at night!
If you are not in labour, trying to get some sleep can be nigh on impossible in a hospital where people are constantly moving around and machines are beeping. At to that the midwife call button, women in labour or newborn babies and ear plugs soon become a necessary addition to your bag.
Loose trousers, a loose top and a light cardigan
I have a vest (two sizes larger than normal so it fits over my bump), a loose pair of elasticated waist trousers and a long (hip-length) cardigan light cardigan from Primark for lounging around in. I don't like the idea of constantly wearing pyjamas when moving around the hospital, before or after birth!
Sometimes hospitals can be a little chilly, and hospital beds don't have a nice thick duvet to snuggle under. Packing a blanket means you have an extra layer to keep yourself snug during your stay.
A Pair of Slippers
Slippers are useful for two reasons. 1. They are super comfy and cosy and keep your feet warm during your stay. 2. If you're anything like me, you won't like walking around the hospital floors without something on your feet!
For Your Wash Bag
I am one of those people who doesn't often use the little travel size bottles, usually I use refillable travel bottles from Primark, which come with labels in a pack of four for £1.
When I packed my bag this time, I was able to put some miniatures in because I still have a selection from last years stocking!
Here is what I have included:
Ear Buds / Cotton Balls
A Large Bath Towel
The one piece of advice I have is to keep the towel a dark colour. I have packed a black one. After you have given birth, you will bleed. No matter how well you clean up in the shower, you will probably still have some on the towel as you dry off. Best not to stain your best white towels!
A Hand Towel
I (along with many women I know!) usually use these for my hair. It is not essential for this to be dark in colour, however the OCD part of me has to have the two towels I take be a matching pair.
Most hospitals have plugs which mean you can use a hair dryer, and this is important to ensure that you keep from catching a cold (which is definitely the last thing you want to do when you have a newborn!)
In case you fancy being vain, because you know that there will be tonnes of photos being taken. Ha!
For Curing Boredom
I have packed the Hunger Games... Something I have already read but I loved enough to read again.
Puzzle Book & Pen
I love to do a bit of Sudoku, and have a small book of puzzles to do if I get bored.
Notepad / Diary
You may enjoy reading a bit of trashy mag, I personally haven't bothered with these this time.
MP3 Player & Headphones
My hubby found a cheap freestanding USB fan on Amazon which I have packed up with a charging power bank from Primark. A handheld, battery operated fan will do the same job though!
Filled with water, this is a fabulous way to cool down, as you are likely to have hot sweats while you are in labour. It's a big process for your body to go through!
Massage Lotion / Oil
If you have a partner who is super hands-on, you can get them to massage your back during your labour to help ease the pains.
For After Birth
10-15 Maternity Pads
Make sure they are the thick maternity ones - sanitary towels like Always will not cut it when it comes to post-partum bleeding.
2-3 Old / Disposable Knickers
I have packed disposables again this time. They are not the most comfortable but they are much more convenient than having to worry about any accidents or staining.
Post Partum Support Belt
If, like me, you have suffered with any symptoms such as PGP, this may be a good investment for you. The one I have is from Amazon and you can find it here.
Double check with your midwife that these are OK to take, but they are fab for reducing bruising and I used them after I had R.
Buy 100 of these soothing pads from Amazon and you'll be sorted for a wee while after birth!
Old / Cheap Wash Cloths & Witch Hazel
Putting a little witch hazel on a wash cloth and placing it over your intimate area will help to soothe those after-birth aches and pains down below.
Soothing stretch marks is an important thing to do, it will not make them disappear but it will the raw redness and help them to heal quicker.
Hot Water Bottle
Nipple Guards & Nipple Cream
Another item you may not need in the early days, but it is better to be safe than sorry. R had a really strong lach which on some days caused major discomfort for me, sometimes ending up with love bites on my nipples! Unpleasant to think about, and essential to be prepared for!
Breast Pump & Milk Bags
These may not be necessary but pumping can help to encourage the first milk (colostrum) to come through.
For when you're feeding during the day
If you are unfortunate enough to have a stay in hospital after you've given birth, it is likely you will have a fair few visitors during your time there. For privacy reasons you may want a cover to use while you're feeding your baby.
Boppy Breastfeeding Pillow
There are different support options when it comes to feeding your baby, but when you are exhausted from giving birth, having a pillow to support your baby will make it easier to hold your baby when feeding.
For OCD Reasons
They may clean the bathrooms daily but I still do not want to have a shower where post-partum gross-ness has been washed off without something on my feet. I have a super cheap pair from the Primark sale post-summer!
Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
I carry this everywhere with me, and it is perfect to use after changing your baby's nappy etc.
I have medicine that I take every day for my thyroid condition, and although they are able to get you some if needed, I find it is better to simply keep a few inside my bag anyway. Just make sure you let them know you have it when you get to hospital as they will need to update your drug chart.
Mobile Phone & Charger
In this day and age there is not many of us that would go without having this on us. They are important for keeping in touch with your partner if they are not with you 100% of the time. They are also perfect for letting people know when the baby arrives.
Power Bank Charger
I keep one of these in my handbag too, just in case of emergencies.
Glasses / Contact Lenses
I do not need these, but if you do, make sure you don't forget them!
Don't put too much thought into this... I had a whole plan for R and it went straight out the window as nothing went as anyone expected.
Some people simply pack a carrier bag to put dirty clothes in, but I quite like having a proper laundry bag included.
Pack of Tissues
You never know when these might come in handy.
Most smart phones have a camera included but it can be nice to have a camera to capture those early moments of being new parents.
I would recommend packing your own snacks, but it is also worth having a little change in case you fancy grabbing something from the vending machines, for you or your partner.
For Going Home
Comfortable 'Going Home' Outfit
Make sure that this is a loose fitting outfit, as you are likely to find that everything is a little tender and achy after giving birth! Spice it up with a pretty top or accessories if you want to look good in those "we're heading home!" photos.
It's like that the swelling you experience later on in pregnancy will only start to disappear a few weeks after birth, so having comfortable shoes is a must for getting you home without blisters or discomfort.
Just in case, like me, you want to cover up the dark circles under your eyes and pale skin that is often a result of little sleep during labour and the first few days (weeks, and months) of having a newborn.
I drove myself to hospital the day I gave birth to R, and the hospital validated the ticket so we didn't have an extortionate ticket price to pay upon leaving. However it wont be free, so have some change handy to make sure you can get your car out of the car park.
For anyone wondering, posts on what to pack in your Baby, Sibling & Daddy bags will be posted at some point in the future!
My number one piece of advice? Do not panic too much. No matter how prepared you think you are, life will always surprise you. It is not the end of the world if you forget something, or miss something.
Disclaimer: This list should only be used as a guide. It is highly comprehensive in comparison to others that are available, however there is no guarantee that all the items you need are on this list. This list is simply what I consider to be my personal 'ultimate' list of items to pack.
Please note that the free checklist - my 'Ultimate Mummy Hospital Bag Tick List' - is ©MeBecomingMum2016