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A Midwife's Tips for Packing your Hospital Bag

Packing your hospital bag can be both exciting and overwhelming as you prepare for the birth of your baby. In this article (and accompanying podcast episode), we'll delve into essential tips and considerations to ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable and smooth experience during labor and postpartum.



I get asked this question all the time - what should I pack in my hospital bag? In fact, I dedicated a whole podcast episode to the topic which you can listen to here, and you can also grab my Printable Hospital Packing List so you can make sure you have everything you need. It’s super comprehensive and a great place to start when getting organised. 




Practical Items

Firstly, consider practical items such as your hospital pregnancy record, commonly referred to as the 'orange book' in South Australia. This contains vital information about your pregnancy and medical history.


A phone charger with a long cable is so helpful, as the powerpoint in the room is often in an impractical spot and you might be using your phone in labour to play music or hypnobirthing mp3s. Additionally, consider bringing along options like a book or iPad if you’re planning an induction of labour to help pass the time while you’re waiting for labour to start.


Clothing and Comfort

Comfort is paramount during your labor and postpartum recovery. Choose clothing that is comfortable and allows easy access to your belly, such as oversized t-shirts or high-waisted pants. Consider packing button-down pyjama tops for convenient breastfeeding access post-birth.


Pack extra pairs of soft and stretchy underwear, preferably one size larger than usual, along with maternity pads and disposable underwear designed for postpartum bleeding. 


Comfort Measures for Labor

Explore comfort measures for labor, including essential oils, heat packs, and a water bottle with a straw for easy hydration. A supportive birth environment with familiar items like your own pillow can enhance comfort and relaxation during labor. You can join one of my hypnobirthing courses to learn more tools for working with labour. 


Nipple Care and Hygiene Products

For nipple care, consider expressing a small amount of breast milk onto the nipples to promote healing. Lanolin-based moisturisers and silver nipple cups can also aid in nipple healing and comfort during breastfeeding. There are many more breast feeding products available, but truthfully they are just not needed for most women.

 

Basic personal care items such as shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste are of course essential for maintaining hygiene during your hospital stay. However, avoid strongly scented products to prevent interference with your baby's sense of smell and breastfeeding. Even essential oils, while natural, can disrupt your baby’s ability to seek out the nipple when feeding (their sense of smell is involved in this process). 


Baby Essentials

For your newborn, pack a few onesies with zipper closures for easy dressing, along with blankets and diapers. Ensure the car seat is correctly installed and ready for your baby's journey home.There are car seat installation services available in each state which can give you peace of mind that the seat is installed correctly, as well as information on how to make adjustments as your child grows in the future. 


My final tip - lay out all items you plan to pack in your hospital bag and let your birth partner assist with packing. This ensures easy access to essentials during labor and postpartum recovery because they will know where to find everything. .


Preparing your hospital bag is an essential part of the birth journey. By considering practical necessities, comfort items, and baby essentials, you can ensure you’ve got everything you need for your comfort in labour, as well as postpartum.




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