Essential Items To Include
In Your Hospital Maternity Bag
In Your Hospital Maternity Bag
You’re in the final stretch of your pregnancy. Your baby could arrive any day now, so it’s a good time to start packing your bag.
To help you, we’ve compiled a list of must-have items you’ll need for the duration of your hospital stay. But first, let’s talk about when is the right time to pack your hospital bag.
When to pack your hospital bag?
Whether you’re planning to have a c-section or vaginal delivery, some babies arrive early, and you’re more likely to forget essential items when you’re pressed for time.
From 35 weeks onwards, we advise you have your bag packed and ready to be loaded into your car. Also, place a notecard on top of your bag listing any last-minute items you’ll need to pack.
How long should you pack for?
Moms who have a vaginal delivery are typically admitted to the hospital for 1 to 2 days, whereas c-section moms usually stay in the hospital for 3 to 4 days.
While you may set out to have a vaginal delivery, you could unexpectedly be scheduled for an emergency c-section. You want to prepare for the unexpected, so pack for four days just in case.
What to pack in your hospital bag?
- All the necessary documentation you’ll need for your hospital stay. This could include:
- Proof of identification (Passport/ID)
- Medical aid card or certificate
- Medical aid authorisation letter
- Hospital Admission Form
- Welwitschia Hospital Dear Baby Passport
- Birth Plan
- Four sets of comfortable and loose clothing: You’ll want to wear apparel that won’t irritate your incision. You’ll also use bulky maternity pads for the first week after giving birth. Some might say they’re similar to adult diapers, so save your skinny jeans and yoga pants for a few weeks. Instead, stick to loose or baggy pants. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, remember to pack nursing-friendly tops or dresses (something with buttons down the middle).
Pro tip: Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a c-section, you’ll bleed quite heavily after giving birth. If you happen to bleed through your maternity pads, black pants are more discreet.
- Slip-on shoes: Flip flops are great if you want to avoid bending after having just had a c-section. And if you prefer not to shower barefoot, they’re the ideal footwear to use in the shower.
- Two maternity and sleeping bras: Nursing bras make breastfeeding more accessible and are generally roomier and more comfortable. Even if you don’t typically sleep in a bra, the extra support will go a long way when your milk comes in or if you need to keep cabbage leaves placed on your breasts.
- Maternity hospital panties or high-waisted/oversized underwear: While these aren’t the most flattering lingerie, they’re incredibly comfortable and designed to support your maternity pads. If you’ve had a c-section or episiotomy, this underwear won’t irritate your incisions.
- A robe and sleepwear that is loose fitting and unbuttons quickly for nursing.
- Slippers or non-slip socks: You could be rocking your baby to sleep in the early hours of the morning, so you’ll want something warm and comfortable to slip your feet into. Slippers or non-slip socks are ideal.
- Cell phone and cell phone charger: Between your loved ones reaching out to congratulate you and the number of photos you’ll want to be taking with your new bundle of joy, you do not want to forget these items.
Pro tip: Extra-long chargers are more convenient.
- Prenatal vitamins: Now more than ever, you need to boost your body. You’ve just been through labour which is tiring, and you’re busy learning your new baby. It’s not uncommon to be awake late into the night trying to breastfeed and put your baby to sleep. So make sure you dose up on a good prenatal vitamin while in hospital.
An empty squeeze water bottle and coarse salt are also excellent for moms who have episiotomies. Mix a couple of spoonfulls of salt with water in the bottle and apply to the swollen areas a few times a day. This coupled with salt mixed into your bath and ice packs (apply to bruised areas), will aid your healing and reduce swelling.
A perineal bottle or Kleenex flushable wipes are also much kinder than toilet paper after having a vaginal delivery.
- Pack all the toiletries and accessories you’ll need to feel clean and comfortable. This might include:
- Shampoo and Conditioner (Pro tip: Dry Shampoo is a convenient alternative)
- Satin hair wrap or bonnet
- Hairbands, hair ties, and bobby pins (Pro tip: Braid your hair before labour/surgery to keep it out of your face)
- Skincare (face wash, moisturiser, night cream, facecloth, etc.)
- Eye care (spectacles, contacts, contact solution, and spectacle case)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Lip balm
- Make-up (if you’re so inclined)
- Nursing pads: The first few days after having your baby, you’ll produce colostrum, a sticky yellow substance full of nutrition. Should your milk come in early, breast pads are handy for preventing leaking.
- Nipple cream: You’ll be surprised by the force of a newborn’s suction. It takes a little time to get used to, and your nipples will feel tender at first. Apply it after each feed, and you can prevent your nipples from cracking. Best of all, it doubles as a lip balm.
- Maternity pads or adult diapers: You bleed quite heavily after giving birth, so pack about 20 maternity pads.
- Water bottle: Although the hospital routinely gives extra IV fluids, any extra hydration, especially if you’re breastfeeding, will have you feeling good.
High-energy snacks: While the hospital does provide meals, you’ll be amazed by how much energy you burn. This can make you really hungry, so pack a few extra snacks to nibble on.
You’ll need a pick-me-up after the birth, and many mothers swear by jungle juice. It gives you a boost of energy, keeps you hydrated, and might help with milk production. Best of all you can prepare it in advance. These are the ingredients you’ll need:
- One litre of apple, grape, or berry juice
- One litre of water
- 60ml of Schlehen Blackthorn Berry Elixir
- You can also add eight to ten drops of Rescue Remedy to each glass you drink.
Pro tip: For moms having abdominal surgery, include Halls in your snack pack. Coughing can be quite painful, so these suppressants come in handy, and they double up as a breath mint.
- A nursing pillow is massively helpful when feeding your newborn as you can rest your arm while holding your baby to your breast. Additionally, it’s great for moms who have episiotomies to sit on and relieve the pressure on their stitches.
- Heating pad: Heat works wonders to relieve uterine cramping, which typically occurs the first few days after you deliver your baby (true for both c-section and vaginal delivery).
- Nipple shields: Are your nipples inverted or flat? If so, you’ll want to pack nipple shields, especially if you’ll be breastfeeding.
- Breast pump: If you plan on exclusively pumping, you’ll want to bring your own breast pump to the Hospital. This way, you can ask a lactation consultant or nurse for assistance on how to use it.
What to pack for your newborn baby ?
Now that your bag’s packed and ready to go, you’ll need to pack for your newborn. Consider packing an individual bag for your baby. This way everything is more organised and easier to find.
Here are a few essential items you’ll want to include:
- Four sets of newborn onesies, body vests, beanies, hand mittens, and socks
- Premature or newborn diapers, bum cream, and unscented wet wipes
- Head-to-toe wash and body lotion
- One towel and two washcloths
- Surgical spirits and earbuds
- Two receiving blankets and one fleece blanket
- Baby bottles if you won’t be breastfeeding.
- A pacifier (if you are so inclined).
What not to pack in your hospital bag:
While it’s good to be prepared for every situation, you don’t want to overpack. Coming home with your new baby is exciting, and you want to spend that time with your baby, not unpacking.
So here are the items you won’t need to include in your hospital bag.
- Stool softeners or urinary alkaliniser: Chances are your doctor will prescribe these to you after giving birth. To prevent contraindications with your prescribed medication, leave your stool softeners and urinary alkaliniser home.
- Baby book: You won’t have the energy or time to complete your baby’s milestones during your hospital stay. Instead, record it on your phone and complete your baby book in the comfort of your own home.
- Hairdryer, straightener, or curler: In the first few days, you generally don’t care about straight, curly, wet, or unwashed hair. Many moms prefer to pack dry shampoo and leave their shampoo and conditioner at home.
- Pillows and Towels: These only add to an already full hospital bag. Unless you simply must have your pillow or towel, leave these at home. The hospital provides plenty of clean towels and pillows, and they’ll happily bring you additional ones if need be. Just ask.
Get your bag packed and avoid last-minute stress
Some babies arrive sooner than expected. Others take their time. You never know when your little one will be ready to make their appearance. So, don’t chance it. Get your bag packed and load it into your car. Lastly, don’t forget to install the car seat.
If you’d like to learn more about having your baby at Welwitschia Hospital, read about our Dear Baby Programme and download the brochure, call us on +264 64 218 911, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share this journey with you.
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