What to pack in hospital bag
Download a pdf version of a hospital bag checklist that I created for you.
Hospital Bag for Mum: Labour and Delivery
- Hospital file, ID and insurance papers.
- Birth plan (if you have one). Have it in 2-3 copies just for sure, translated to Czech language if you have that option. You might have discussed your birth plan with the doctor, but having a few copies printed and available for doctors and nurses when they change shifts means, that everyone can refer to it, in case last-minute questions arise.
- Dressing gown. You can use your own or the one that the hospital will provide.
- Socks. Many mums pop on some warm socks if their feet get cold during labour. Keep that oxytocin flowing with feeling warm.
- Slippers or flip-flops. You’ll want slippers that are comfortable and easy to slip in and out to wear as you walk around the hospital ward. Pack some flip-flops for using in the shower.
- Lip balm. Your lips can get dry during labour. Having some lip balm on hand will help hydrate your lips.
- Body lotion or massage oil. Some mums-to-be find a little massage during labour relaxing. If this could be you, pop some lotion or oil in your hospital bag.
- Water spray and sponge. During labour you may feel you’re getting a little hot. It could help to spray some water on your face and neck, or to sponge some cool water on your forehead.
- Comfortable pillow(s). Your hospital will provide you with pillows, but they might not be the right kind for you. If you have a favourite pillow, then it can’t hurt to take it along as well.
- Relaxing pass-times. Pack some things to help you pass the time like a book, magazines, a tablet with movies or series downloaded on it, or a music player.
- Eye mask and earplugs. To help you get to rest in a busy and bright maternity ward, an eye mask or earplugs could be just what you need during the downtimes of labour, or for your well-deserved rest following the delivery.
Hospital Bag for Mum: After Delivery
- Nightdress, if you wish to use your own. Choose a front-opening one if you plan to breastfeed.
- Heavy-duty maternity pads. Although the hospital may provide some, pack plenty of heavy-duty maternity-pads, just in case. It’s normal to bleed a lot after the birth, and maternity pads are softer and more absorbent than standard ones. Initially you may need to change pads every one to two hours, but within a few days, the flow will start to decrease. You can find organic postpartum pads here or they are available in the pharmacies or online – ask for “porodnické vložky“.
- Underwear. Pack several pairs of comfortable underwear that you won’t mind getting messy, or buy the disposable ones (available in the pharmacy – ask for “jednorázové poporodní / síťované kalhotky”).
- Bras. Be prepared with a few nursing bras or any other comfortable, well-fitting bras. Prepare for some breast engorgement that is typical for the 2nd or 3rd day after birth and pack bras, that are a little bit bigger than what you need currently.
- Toiletries. Don’t forget towels, tissues, hairbrush, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, hairdryer, hair clips, and hair ties. Pack a plastic bag to pop dirty clothes in.
- Cosmetics and skin care products. Make sure you pack some moisturisers as your skin may feel drier than usual.
- Glasses and contact lenses (if you need them). It may seem obvious but sometimes it’s these little things that can escape your attention when packing your hospital bag. Don’t forget contact lens solution if you use contacts.
- Phone and charger. Unless you opt for a little digital detox during this special time, don’t forget your phone and charger. That way you can stay in touch with loved ones, doula or a lactation consultant, you can use it to take those first few pictures, and post your special news on social media.
- Clothes. You might choose to take some comfortable clothes to wear during your stay in hospital. Pack an extra outfit to wear home. Choose something loose-fitting, with a drawstring or an elastic waist.
- Soothing products for vagina and tummy. You should always follow the advice of your medical team, but you might consider packing: an ice pack for your vagina (or ask the nurses, they can provide this for you sometimes); haemorrhoid cream (again, for potential use after a vaginal birth); a bottle which you can use to squeeze warm water over your perineum, vaginal opening and anus instead of wiping when you go to the toilet which can get uncomfortable after a vaginal birth; a belly wrap (these can be good after both vaginal and Caesarean births); and ointments that can help reduce vaginal swelling and bruising. After a Caesarean section medical staff will treat the wound during your stay, and will advise you how to take care of it going forward.
- Snacks and drinks. Labour can sometimes be very long, so you could consider packing some snacks and drinks. It is usually allowed and up to you, how you eat and drink during labour. Also, consider packing some of your favourite snacks for after the labour as you may feel like some comfort food during your hospital stay.
Hospital Bag Essentials for Your Birth Partner
As a birth partner, you might also want to pack some things for your time supporting mum in the hospital:
- Snacks and water. Labour can be thirsty work for supportive partners. Pack some snacks and water, as well as change for the hospital vending machines.
- Phone, camera and/or video camera, plus chargers and batteries. Your partner will also want a phone to stay in contact with loved ones, and for some entertainment during downtimes. The camera is needed to take some snaps. (Make sure the camera’s memory card has plenty of room on it.)
- Clothes. Labour is an unpredictable process, a change of clothes is always a good idea, as you never know how long the stay will be.
- Toiletries and towel. After a long labour, even your partner may need to freshen up in the shower. Most hospitals are fine with this, but you could confirm this beforehand.
- Spare glasses or spare contact lenses. It might be a long day, so having spares of these essentials could come in handy.
- Small pillow. Believe it or not, your partner might also need a rest while assisting during a long labour.
- Entertainment. Have something to do for when the going gets a little boring: books, a tablet, and a music player are all good options.
Hospital Bag for Baby
- Socks and a hat. Newborns can get cold easily, and you may want to add to what the hospital provides in terms of accessories and layers. Even during skin-to-skin contact, your newborn can wear a hat and socks.
- Blanket. While the hospital will likely provide blankets, a blanket of your own is always good to have on hand to use during skin-to-skin contact. It can also be used to keep your baby warm in the car seat on the way home.
- Diapers. About 20 to 30 diapers made especially for newborns. Your newborn might get through 10-12 diapers each day, so start stocking up. If you want to try eco-friendly or cloth diapers or here , there is a lot to choose from, and you won’t create so much waste :). If you’d be overwhelmed with options, they can give you some advise in-person in the shop.
- Wet wipes. Newborns’ skin is particularly sensitive. It’s best to use only cotton wool balls and water or make your own wet wipes in a more natural fashion: combine these dry wipes with a natural washing oil with some water in this bottle.
- Muslin squares. These can be draped on your shoulder or placed underneath the baby to prevent dribbles from getting on your clothes.
- Changing mats – they are used on the changing table, bed or wherever you’re changing the diapers. You can get disposable or washable ones.
- Going-home outfit. Consider the weather conditions: a bodysuit, booties and hat could be fine during the warmer months, but in winter pack mittens and a jacket or snowsuit as well.
- Car seat. This obviously isn’t for the hospital bag, but the right car seat should be installed in your car around the same time you pack your baby bag so it’s ready for the hospital.
Download a pdf version of a hospital bag checklist that I created for you.
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