Going into the hospital to have my baby was the most terrifying experience. I had no idea what to expect, and because I had never stayed over in a hospital before, and I was even more uncertain about what lay in store.
I remember packing my hospital bag in the first trimester. My hubby thought I was crazy, but the OCD in me just couldn’t comprehend not being absolutely ready for when the big day came. And then the big day did come, and I realised that 90 per cent of what I had packed was completely irrelevant. So, if you’re about to have a baby, to save you the stress, I’ve put together a list of essential vs non-essential items to pack in your baby bag.
Essentials for mom:
Comfortable, loose clothes. You will still (unfortunately) look eight months pregnant and everything feels swollen, heavy and bruised. Pack loose pyjamas, leggings, slippers and a gown. Maternity wards are generally overheated so keep this in mind when packing your clothes.
Lip ice. All that kissing of your newborn bundle, and all the kisses from over enthusiastic aunties will mean your lips dry out faster than your bank account, post-birth.
Snacks such as sweets, biscuits, juice and water. Hospital food is less than thrilling and the munchies tend to hit at 03:00 when the nurse is taking your blood pressure for the 18th time that day. Breastfeeding ladies also work up a huge appetite so snacks are essential! If coffee is your thing then make sure you have a regular morning visitor who can bring you something more palatable than what the hospital offers.
iPad, camera, cellphone and chargers. You will become very trigger happy in those first few days! Remember to pack a padlock for your valuables as well.
Nipple cream, disposable panties and breast pads.
Ziploc bags. These can be used to store dirty or soiled clothes, outfits for baby or toiletries.
Essentials for baby:
Most hospitals tend to provide everything you need for your baby in the form of nappies, lotions, medicine and cream.* Check with your hospital beforehand, and if they do provide the above, then don’t waste your time bringing your own. Rather, pack:
Clothes and a beanie.
Swaddle blankets (if you’d prefer to use your own).
Dummies and bottles.
If you’re breastfeeding then nipple caps and your pump in case you need to express.
Infant car seat - without it you won’t be allowed to take your baby home.
My time in the maternity ward was one of the highlights of having a baby. Those four days, surrounded by staff, family, friends and my newborn were absolutely wonderful. Use that time to relax and embrace your new role of motherhood as much as possible!
*Please note that I have based this list on what an average private Hospital provides, and not a Government one.