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Preparing your bags for hospital

Pregnant woman packing her bag for hospital marking things off in a notebook

Preparing for your hospital stay would possibly be easier if we knew exactly when it were to happen, however as it is commonly reported, only approximately 5% of babies are born on their actual due date. So when is a good time to pack your bags and what exactly should you be bringing to hospital?

It never hurts to be organised or to start to collect things that you may need during your hospital stay, but from around 36 to 37 weeks it may be a good idea to start to gather essential items together and start to pack your bags. If you have attended antenatal classes through your hospital you may have been provided with a list of suggested items to pack or you may have accessed this information from their website. If not, here are some of the things you may want to think about…

Paperwork:

A folder with any hospital paperwork, insurance details, Medicare card, consent forms, antenatal card, blood group record and a copy of your birth plan (if you have one) should be brought to hospital with you. If you are not sure about any of these documents, speak to your obstetrician of midwife as you approach the last month or so of your pregnancy.

Miscellaneous items:

A smaller bag with items needed particularly for the labour and birth may be a good idea, as sometimes you may not yet have been allocated a room on the postnatal ward, and there may not be space in the birthing suites to bring in all of your bags. In this smaller bag you may have items such as:

  • Your camera (including batteries, memory cards, etc.)
  • Mobile phone
  • Chargers
  • Laptop or tablets (wifi is available in most hospitals)
  • Books or magazines
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Music
  • A pen and notepad
  • Massage oil or lotion
  • An old, loose tshirt for labour (alternatively you can wear a hospital gown if you prefer)
  • Something comfortable to put on afterwards

Items for Mum:

  • Loose, comfortable clothing for while you are in hospital
  • Sleepwear
  • Dressing gown or warm cardigan
  • Personal toiletries and shower supplies, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Maternity pads
  • Breastfeeding pads
  • Maternity bras
  • Button up/front opening shirts for breastfeeding
  • Supportive underwear
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Lip balm
  • Nipple cream
  • Hair brush and hair tie
  • Going home clothes

For your partner or support person:

  • Change of clothes
  • Personal toiletries and shower supplies
  • Pillow (handy tip… don’t bring it in a white pillow case as it may get mixed up with hospital provided supplies)

For your baby:

  • Baby outfits (5-6 outfits is a good start), include singlets
  • 5-6 light weight wraps/bunny rugs
  • Baby blanket
  • Hat
  • Socks or booties
  • Nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • Baby bath supplies
  • Nappy cream

Other things to remember:

  • Make sure that your baby car seat has been properly fitted.
  • Check with your hospital what the visiting hours are and where the waiting area is.
  • Prepare a plan for who will care for other children or pets, supplies for them, ensure that you have a backup plan.
  • Contact your hospital if you have any questions about car parking arrangements, restrictions or access to the hospital.

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