Going into the hospital to have your baby is full of unknowns, and yet one of the few things totally under your control is your hospital bag. There is nothing nicer than knowing you are ready to grab and go whenever the surge hits you!
You don’t need to wait until the last weeks of pregnancy to pack your baby’s bag. Beginning to plan your maternity bags from the second trimester is a fun way to start preparing. You may be surprised how quickly the weeks rush by and this can be a pleasurable way to bond with your baby.
Before we get on with the suggestions of what goes into a baby bag, I want to share with you how essential a well-packed baby bag is to the birth process.
In my experience, too many times to count and right before the big finale. I have turned to dad/birth partner asking them to get a hat ready for the baby. On many occasions, both mum and I have giggled as a stressed dad/partner starts pulling everything out of a beautifully organised bag resembling a scene from mission impossible.
To be fair, with rising levels of expectation when you are a little stressed – as they naturally are. The task of finding something in a bag with imminent urgency is probably more akin to bomb disposal than ‘just finding a hat’ and more often than not descends into a churning, flinging, strewing event of everything inside this neatly packed bag. Mum patiently tries to give direction where it is and, for what seems the longest moment, focus from the real task at hand is suspended. Until finally, and triumphantly, the hat is found. Leaving mum free to resume her herculean task of welcoming baby into the world.
This blog is intending to minimise those moments by turning them into a sleek, fast, ninja movement of finding anything that is needed. Whenever it is needed. By the end of this quick read, you will have a perfectly organised, drama-free hospital bag.
The Baby Bag
You definitely don’t have to spend money on a special bag to take to the hospital but if you do want to invest, make it a good quality baby bag that will last and keep you organised well past pregnancy. Choose something easy to carry with straps that evenly distribute weight either on your buggy or as a backpack. Baby bags come in a range of prices to suit everyone’s budget and style. We have a few recommended baby bags in our Mothermind shop.
Newborns need to be kept snug, so pack two or three hats for your baby.
Baby hats serve more purpose than just looking super cute. Adjusting to a new environment is one of the key challenges a newborn will face after delivery and a simple little hat will support their body temperature, keep their blood sugar in a normal range and reduce the risk of respiratory distress.
Your midwife will be thinking about something called the neonatal energy triangle to help your baby transition to his or her new environment without the complications caused by heat loss. This is the reason why a hat is one of the first things they will ask you for when the baby arrives.
Midwife tip: Keep your favourite newborn hat for baby photo’s and use your least favourite baby hat straight after delivery. With damp hair, the first hat can get a little soiled!
One pack of newborn nappies will be more than enough or if you are planning cloth nappies, ten would be reasonable for a two-day stay. With more ready at home for your partner to bring in, should your stay be extended.
The first poop your baby will have is called meconium. This is a dark, thick and sticky green goo and often not the easiest thing to wipe away. Newborn skin is sensitive so it is best to use cotton wool and warm water or Water Wipes.
Midwife tip: In readiness at birth, put one nappy and one hat in a little bag. Place right at the top of the baby bag or in a side pocket. Show your partner where it is for a seamless handover at the crucial moment.
Newborn baby clothes
Pack at least two or three sleepsuits and three vests. If you are buying new, opt for organic cotton to care for newborn skin. Organic cotton is gentle and kinder to a baby’s skin. As the material is soft and free from chemicals, there is less of a chance of your child developing skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and skin allergies. As organic cotton always keeps its natural state, it makes it mould resistant and antimicrobial too.
A couple of thin, cellular blankets will be good for layering up, depending on the temperature. Natural fabric like cotton or bamboo is a good choice and are soft, highly absorbent and gentle against a baby’s skin.
Newborn babies are more than just a bundle of joy, they’re a bundle of fluids waiting to make an appearance at any given opportunity! Muslin squares have many uses and are just things for mopping up and dabbing milk overflows.
You might want to choose a special outfit too, for a going-home photo. But remember there will be so much time for fun outfits and photos when you get home. Babies are total cuties whatever they are wearing, so don’t overthink and keep it simple.
Organising your hospital baby bag
Simple organisational tricks can keep stress to a minimum. If you have pockets and dividers in your baby bag, use them to your advantage. Consider packing items in clear pouches or labelled cloth bags to keep things neat and easily found.