The third trimester in pregnancy is the time that you *should* pack your hospital bag (I was overdue with my second baby and still ended up packing my hospital bag in between contractions!)
The hardest part to figure out is what NOT to pack because what might seem like a good idea now, it may not leave your bag at all. It’s important to pack the essentials and organise them in such a way that you can easily retrieve what you need, keeping in mind that you may not be able to do it yourself.
Some tips that I found useful were:
- Divide - Pack things in 2-3 smaller bags. Use one bag for things that you may think you need during labour and another for on the recovery ward afterwards. For my second baby I knew I was staying for a few nights, so I packed a bag for bub and just left it in the car for my partner to bring to me once I was in recovery.
- Documents & medication- Pack any medication, birth plan, insurance, medical and identification documents separately for quick and easy access.
- Don't forget to pack for your support person – this includes snacks, change of clothes, swimmers, and some basic toiletries.
- Check with the hospital about what they supply. Some hospitals provide nappies, maternity pads, soap, baby clothes, whilst in other hospitals you may need to bring everything.
Things that I packed and/or worried about but never saw the light of day:
- Books & movies
- Curated birth playlist
- Baby clothes – our hospital supplied basic clothes…between all the nappy changes and the midwives checking them every few hours that anything other a singlet was annoying.
Things that turned out to be really useful:
- Ear Plugs. Hospital wards are noisy especially if you are sharing a room.
- A jumper. Hospital wards can get quite cold – use one with a zipper if planning to breastfed.
- Baby swaddle. Hospital blankets can be difficult to swaddle a baby in. Choose one that is easy to use, preferably made from jersey cotton so you can a good, tight wrap.
- Coffee cup & Water bottle. Hospital cups are tiny. If you are like me and drink lots of water or enjoy a big tea or coffee, bring your own.
- Breastfeeding friendly clothes and pajamas. If you plan to breastfeed, you will spend most of the time in hospital with your boobs out, so try to bring clothes that provide easy access to the girls without having to undress each time.
There are many checklists available online, however I found the Health Direct Pregnancy Birth & Baby checklist to be practical and covers the essentials you may need. It is easily downloaded from https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/what-to-take-to-hospital-checklist