But you don’t need to waste money on a baby hospital bag, because you’ve probably already got one that you didn’t know about – your changing bag! A baby bag that’s spacious and has lots of extra pockets is perfect for keeping all your hospital essentials in.
That’s the first item ticked off your baby hospital bag checklist, but what else needs to go inside your changing bag? Here are our top ten baby basics to pack with you for when your due date comes around.
What to Put Inside Your Hospital Baby Changing Bag?
1) Comfortable Maternity Clothing
Loose t-shirts and leggings will be your best friend during labour. Having a baby can understandably be very painful and uncomfortable, so unrestrictive clothing is a must in your baby hospital bag. That includes comfy underwear – bring at least three sets of maternity briefs and nursing bras.
Trying to stay relaxed during labour might seem like an impossible task, but if you bring soft, stretchy clothes in your changing bag, you can minimise those feelings of discomfort. Try a long t-shirt or a baggy dress, so you can stay covered during examinations – and don’t forget to bring a few spares!
Unless you’re the luckiest mum-to-be in the world with a fast labour, your new arrival will normally mean staying in hospital for at least one day or night. Pack two sets of comfortable pyjamas or a loose nightie in your baby changing bag to take for your hospital stay.
Hospital gowns can be itchy and sometimes a little more revealing than you’d like, so it’s a good idea to bring your softest dressing gown in your baby hospital bag. You can also avoid cold feet by packing slippers or slipper socks in your maternity hospital bag for those inevitable nightly trips to the toilet.
3) Birth Plan
A baby birth plan is what you can give to your doctor or midwife before labour to explain what kind of birth you’d like. Writing down what you want – and what you don’t want – might be very helpful for you. A birth plan shouldn’t be more than one sheet of paper, so it can easily slot in one of the compartments of your baby changing bag.
While you must always discuss your labour beforehand with your doctor or midwife, the maternity team will need to know about your personal circumstances during the birth. These might already be in your hospital notes, but it’s recommended to bring a spare copy of your birth plan in your baby hospital bag just in case.
4) Maternity Pads
After giving birth, you’re likely to encounter some bleeding and will need to change your maternity pad around every two hours. Maternity pads are on our hospital bag checklist because they’re usually much more absorbent than standard sanitary towels, so pack plenty of them in your changing bag. Bring around 24 maternity pads in your baby bag in case you end up staying in hospital for a few extra days.
Bleeding after birth normally lessens after the first day, but your doctor should keep a close eye on you whatever happens. It’s not recommended to bring tampons in your baby hospital bag because they can cause infection after childbirth.
Getting out of bed might be the last thing on your mind during labour, but it will make you feel better when you’re clean and fresh. Travel miniatures are one of the best toiletries to pop in your maternity hospital bag. They’re inexpensive and won’t take up a lot of space in your changing bag.
Bring shampoo, conditioner, soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and a hairbrush as your priority toiletries in your baby bag. You could also bring moisturiser and lip balm in your hospital changing bag if you have sensitive skin that’s prone to drying out. Throw in a few hairbands or bobbles to tie back long hair to avoid getting too hot during the birth.
6) Water and Snacks
It’s important to keep up your energy levels during childbirth, so bring some tasty and nutritious snacks with you in your changing bag. Cereal bars, nuts and bananas are all examples of healthy food on our hospital bag checklist. Pack them in your baby bag to keep yourself satisfied throughout labour.
Of course, lots of mums-to-be prefer something sweet and sugary like chocolate. If your doctor approves, get yourself a little treat from the hospital vending machine – you deserve it. Whatever you eat, make sure to keep thoroughly hydrated throughout labour. Your hospital should be able to provide water, but it’s a good idea to bring a few extra bottles in your maternity changing bag just in case.
Magazines, books, your iPod, a phone – there are lots of ways to keep yourself entertained in hospital. While all new parents want to be in and out of hospital as quickly as possible, not every mum has a speedy labour.
Pack some entertainment in your baby changing bag to pass the time and distract yourself from those painful contractions. If you do pack different gadgets and devices, remember to bring chargers in your baby hospital bag so you don’t run out of battery during a long hospital stay.
8) Baby Sleepsuits
Not everything on our hospital bag checklist is for you – there’s a new arrival on their way! Bring at least three sleepsuits in your baby bag just in case your little one needs changing after birth.
You might need to pop an extra vest in your changing bag depending on the weather so your new baby doesn’t get cold. Some baby grows even come with mittens or a removable hat to make sure your tiny treasure stays at the right temperature.
9) Baby Blanket
Carrying your baby out of the hospital will be one of the best feelings after labour. Bring a soft blanket in your maternity changing bag so you can wrap your little one up tight.
A small blanket can easily fit in your baby hospital bag and can also be used as a discrete cover for when you want skin-to-skin contact. These are usually provided by the hospital, but you might prefer to bring your own personal blanket for your new arrival.
The final item on our baby hospital bag checklist is nappies, and lots of them! A pack of 24 newborn nappies is usually enough, and they’re normally compact enough to fit in your changing bag.
Some hospitals do provide nappies, but not everywhere does. You can always check their policy on giving out nappies, though some mums-to-be prefer to bring their own in their baby hospital bag. Your little one might need up to twelve nappies a day – it’s always better to be prepared!
Choosing Your Baby Hospital Bag
When you’re deciding on the right baby changing bag for labour, make sure to choose one with lots of space! It’s most important that you can fit in the essentials for you and your baby in your hospital maternity bag to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
BabaBing! has a great range of stylish, comfortable and spacious changing bags that are perfect for mums-to-be to take to hospital. When labour’s over, you can take your little one home – but you don’t need to stop using your baby bag.
Our collection of changing bags can be used before and after birth, and can be repacked for when you’re ready to take your tiny treasure out into the world.
Bring a few light maternity outfits that won’t take up much space in your hospital changing bag. You never know how long labour might last.