Hospital Bag Essentials for Mom and Baby
Nothing is more important than packing your hospital bag in the lead up to your expected date of delivery. However for everyone who is expecting, please note expected delivery dates are not sacrosanct. I delivered 2 weeks prior to my EDD and you would have heard cases of delivery even earlier. I would say keep your hospital bag packed and ready by week 35 itself. I did the same and needed nothing beyond what I had packed and it definitely made my post delivery experience smooth and relaxed.
Here is a list to help you pack your bag but do remember that different hospitals have different inclusions and hence it is always good to check with the hospital before.
Starting with the Mom’s must haves
- Maternity bras: Do remember that you kick off your breastfeeding journey immediately and managing with a regular bra is just not practical. So do invest in a couple of maternity bras. I say invest because you would be switching to these bras for as far as you are willing to take your breastfeeding journey.
- Disposable underwear: Well, I cannot emphasize enough the utility of this in the postnatal period. Be it C section or normal delivery, there would be stitches and there would be bleeding. My hospital did provide taped adult diapers that I found uncomfortable. Hence I would recommend picking some disposable panties. In fact I would suggest picking up enough for at least 2-3 weeks because that’s how long the bleeding continues on an average. You can also opt for sanitary napkins for this period but I ended up with rashes and hence - do remember you have a baby to take care of and you do not want any more on your plate than already is.
- Clothes :You would need at least 2 nighties for the duration of your stay at the hospital. A lot of hospitals provide nighties but I preferred to carry my own. In any case, these are useful for the entire breastfeeding period. For clothes, carry a couple of buttoned dresses/ kurtas that you can wear in the day. You will also want to carry a separate dress for your homecoming.
- A comfortable pair of slippers to walk around for the 2-3 days that you spend at the hospital
- Basic toiletries – face wash, lotion, shampoo, dental kit, basic makeup
- A sweater/ shrug / shawl: It is advisable to stay warm post delivery
- Nursing pillow: Every mother has their own unique experience with respect to breastfeeding. However I cannot emphasize the importance of a nursing pillow for first time mothers. We already have a lot to cope with and breastfeeding should not further strain our already weakened body. A nursing pillow not only helps maintain a proper posture for the activity that is going to take up most of your time the next few months, it also helps put the baby at ease. And it also leaves your hands free to caress and soothe the baby if needed and also helps you engage in other activities like reading a book while the baby is feeding which mind you is almost 3/4 th of your day in the first 3 months.
- Breast pump: The breast milk supply purely works on the principle of demand and supply. While some embark on the breastfeeding journey smoothly, there are others who can struggle with the milk supply. While it is always recommended that the baby should feed in the golden hour to kick start the journey, for some reason if that has not been done or the baby is admitted to a NICU or if supply is an issue, use the pump to replicate the demand.
For the baby,
- Swaddles: Swaddling is highly recommended in the initial few months as it helps simulate the protective world of the womb for the baby outside. The hospital staff would guide you on how to swaddle your baby or there are multiple videos and articles that can help you on this.
- Newborn clothes: In India, we do not make newborns wear new clothes unless there is no option available. Usually there are pass me down clothes available from an older sibling or your close relatives. Just make sure you have 5-6 change of clothes available for the hospital. Considering you would have your own nervousness around handling your tiny baby and diaper changes need to be done very frequently, buttoned onesies are preferable. I opted for them till my baby could hold her head- it makes clothes changing relatively simpler.
- Diapers and wipes: The hospital provides you their preferred brand of wipes and diapers however if you already have an experience of using certain brands, you can carry the same to the hospital. Wipes contain alcohol and can harm sensitive skin over repeat usage so you can choose brands with minimal amounts of alcohol while selecting the wipes.
- Basic toiletries: The first bath for the baby will happen in the hospital. Baby wash, baby lotion, diaper rash cream are the basic toiletries you may need in the first few weeks. Oiling is not recommended till the umbilical cord stub falls off so you can pick massage oil later.
- Sleeping bag/ Car seat: You can carry your baby home in either a car seat or a sleeping bag. Though car seats are not mandated in India yet, it is obviously the safest way to take your baby home. Mostly people prefer to carry the baby in a sleeping bag.
Do remember to take the hospital file along with you as it contains all the records for the doctor on duty to review and take action.
While the above list may not be exhaustive, it captures all the essentials that you would require to have a hassle free hospital stay! Hope it helps.
A typical engineer cum MBA working as a marketing professional in e-commerce and a mother to a 6 month old munchkin. Love doing everything under the sun- dancing, exercising, painting and reading but now fully occupied with momma duties. Picked up writing during my maternity break to share experiences with other new moms starting out on this adventure.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.