When you start coming to the pointy end of your pregnancy – have you got your bags packed? is a question you’ll hear a lot. But if you’re like many first (or second, or third) time parents, you may not have a clue what to actually put in them.
We talked to midwife Tori Srour about what to put on your hospital baby bag checklist and she suggested we were thinking too small. Tori recommends her patients pack not one, but FOUR bags.
“Whether you've been in for an induction or it's spontaneous labour, it's always a bit frantic. It’s a good idea to have your bags separate instead of having everything in one big bag,” she says.
The labour bag
This is the bag that you should walk through the doors with when you arrive. It should have anything in it that you may need during the delivery. Some deliveries can take a long time, so it’s a good idea to think about everything you’ll need for a 24+ hour time period.
- your birth plan/guide
- antenatal record
- 2 x comfy undies
- bottle with a straw
- snacks (like fruit and nuts)
- lip balm
- phone charger
- TENS machine, if you are using one
- any personal items to you want in the room
The support person bag
Tori says, “We always forget the poor support person, as medical providers, we can’t actually give them anything.”
- any medications you may take
- some clothing you don’t mind getting wet for shower support
- thongs for wet areas
- enclosed shoes in case you need to go to theatre
- snacks, drinks and money for meals
The postnatal bag
This bag should have everything mum needs once the baby has arrived. Labouring is hard work, and you don’t want to find yourself without comfy undies or shampoo when you’re on the other side.
- maternity pads – you’ll need a lot as you change every 2-3 hours
- comfy clothes that have front buttons for feeding (if you’re planning to breastfeed)
- soft bras with no underwire
- toiletries and thongs for the shower
- warm, soft cardigan as it can get cold in maternity wards
Tip – after delivery, the midwives will need to monitor your blood loss. So, period undies aren’t a good idea. Stick to maternity pads that can be easily changed and checked.
The baby bag
Bag number four is the baby bag, which should have everything you need for bub while you’re both in hospital. Tori stresses that your baby doesn’t need any soaps or moisturisers for their first bath, but you do want to make sure your baby’s clothing and towels are prewashed.
- chemical free baby wipes
- 6 x nappies per day
- 3 x stretchy swaddles
- soft cloth and towel for the first bath
- 2 x outfits per day
And don’t forget to have your car seat installed and ready to go!
The midwives are there to give you any tips for settling your newborn baby, feeding and bathing. It’s OK to ask lots of questions while you’re still in hospital.
- How to get better sleep when pregnant
- Your most common pregnancy FAQs answered
- How often should you bathe your kids
Tori Srour is a Northern Rivers based midwife who is passionate about empowering and educating women so they can walk away from their birth physically safe and emotionally well.
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board September 2021.