A midwifes top hospital items to pack
Written by Midwife Aliza Carr
Anytime from 34-36 weeks pregnant is a great time to make a list and pack your hospital bag, placing it near the front door or in your car so it is easy to get when you leave home in labour. What you take to the hospital will depend on what birth you are planning to have and how long you stay in the hospital for after you have your baby. This may look like a 6-hour stay after birth or could be up to 5 days or more. The length of stay in a public hospital and private hospital varies, therefore it's important to chat to your healthcare provider in the antenatal period regarding what the expectations are.
After a vaginal birth in a public hospital, the general length of stay is 6-24 hours and privately it is 3-4 days. Length of stay after a C-section is 3 days in a public hospital and 5 days in a private hospital. Discharge from the hospital depends on your health, the baby’s health and how they are feeding. Always remember that you can request to go home earlier or stay in the hospital longer if you have a valid reason, it is ultimately up to you and your partner and what you feel comfortable with. Therefore, consider your length of stay when packing your bag and your baby’s bag, because this will mean you may need more or less than described below.
Furthermore, have a conversation with a midwife from your birthing hospital prior to packing your hospital bag and ask them what the hospital provides. Some hospitals have diffusers and speakers in the birth suite that you can use and others provide nappies and wipes, which means you don’t have to pack as much. If you plan on having a homebirth, it is a good idea to still have a small hospital bag packed by the door just in case you have an unexpected trip to the hospital before or after your baby is born.
- Paperwork; Medicare card, antenatal record (if given one), birth plan or preferences
- Phone and/or camera
- Speaker to play music
- Diffuser & oils for labour (if desired)
- Snacks or certain foods you would like
- Water bottle (ideally with a straw)
- Chargers for phone, camera, speaker and diffuser
- A waterproof bag to put wet or dirty clothes in
- Baby car seat - safely installed and ready for the drive home
Labour items (if planning a vaginal birth):
- Comfortable clothing that is loose such as a dress or baggy t-shirt
- Underwear and bra or crop top
- TENs machine
- Massage oil or lotions
- Hair ties or headband
- Lip balm
- Hydration fluids & large drink bottle
- If you plan on using the shower or bath, bring some spare shorts/clothing for your partner
- Cooler bag if you are keeping your placenta
- Sleepwear - consider buttons to make for easy breastfeeding access
- Maternity bras
- Black high-waisted underwear (going up a size means there is room for maternity pad) or disposable underwear
- Clothes that are comfortable or extra PJs (keep in mind feeding access)
- Lovekins Night Pads or Sanitary Pants (mum’s generally bleed for up to 6 weeks)
- Breastfeeding pads
- Lovekins Nipple cream (if breastfeeding)
- Dressing gown
- Thongs, slippers and socks
- Toiletries and shower essentials (dry shampoo is very convenient)
- Your own pillow if you’d prefer
- Items for your partner- clothes, toiletries
When packing your baby’s bag, consider a bag that has easy access for clothing, nappies and wraps. Organising baby’s clothing into individual zip-lock bags or cell dividing bags will make it easier and quicker when you need to change your baby.
Also consider the size of the clothes you pack, with most newborns fitting into a size 0000, but every brand of clothing is slightly different sizing and you never know if your baby will be a bit bigger or smaller so it can be a good idea to pack a 00000 and a 000 as well.
- Singlets x1-2 for every day in the hospital
- Jumpsuits - long & short
- Sleeping bag or sleepsuit
- Muslin wrap or blanket for swaddling
- Lovekins Newborn Nappies (estimate around 8 per day)
- Baby wipes (if your hospital doesn’t supply them)
- Beanie, mittens & socks if weather is cold when baby is due
- Going home outfit
- Dummy or pacifier if you are choosing to use one
- Frozen colostrum expressed in the antenatal period
- Lovekins Body & Hair Wash if you plan to give baby a bath in hospital. This is generally only recommended 24-48 hours after the baby is born).
Bring anything else that makes you and your partner feel more comfortable and relaxed. Items and bags can always be left in the car until needed. Many hospitals offer ‘early discharge’ programs meaning if mum and baby are well - they can be discharged early and a midwife will follow up at home. This can be really helpful and a great support, especially for first-time parents.