Anna's Hospital Bag Essentials
Packing your hospital bag can be both exciting and daunting - but it doesn't need to be! Everyone will tell you that more is more, but I do think you can overpack your hospital bag.
You don't want to be sifting through piles of clothes, or items you don't actually need in order to find what you do need. This list will be different for everyone, and not everything is a 'must-have', some things are definitely 'nice-to-haves', but for me these were the things I used (or wished I had!).
Even if you're planning to birth at home, having a 'just in case' bag is a good idea to save any last minute stress packing, and it's also very handy to have everything in one place post-birth, too.
1. A good drink bottle. This is such an essential for during labour and post-birth. You want something that's easy to sip from and holds a decent amount of water - bonus if it keeps It cold (because no one wants to be drinking warm water while in labour!). What we love about the Frank Green bottles is that they are insulated, and can be easily operated with one hand. An essential while feeding your newborn!
2. Lip balm! No doubt you'll become a little dehydrated while you're in labour, and no body wants to be dealing with dry lips. Also, hospitals and birthing units have air-conditioning units on 24/7 to keep you and your babe warm, which can also dry you out something wicked! Lip balm is a definite essential for me.
3. Perineal spray. A must for us! Tears are more common than not, and even if you don't have a tear, your perineal area has likely been through a lot. Stretching, swelling and bruising are common post-birth and the Nature's Touch Perineal spray helps to soothe, calm and reduce swelling. Featuring an inverted bottle system, it is super easy to apply to your nether regions.
4. Nipple balm. Everyone tells you to prepare yourself for the pain, but I really don't think anything can prepare you for those first few weeks of breastfeeding. The Nature's Touch nipple balm will help to soothe, heal and nourish sore, cracked nipples.
5. On that note - Silverette Cups are the ONE thing I wish I'd had in those early days. At the time, it seemed like a massive investment, but in hindsight, I would have 100% got my money's worth out of these magic silver cups. The natural healing properties of silver help to heal (and actually prevent) any cuts caused from breastfeeding. They have phenomenal reviews, and I have actually used them recently with my 11 month old, who bit my nipple (thanks teething!) and the cut healed in only a couple of days. Magic!
6. Snacks! Snacks during labour to keep you going are an essential. Snacks that actually have some benefits for you and your milk supply post-birth, bonus! We have two incredibly tasty, nutritious brands of lactation cookies here at Mom Store and both are perfect additions to your hospital bag. Filled with galactagogue (milk making) ingredients, convenient and delicious. Big tick from me.
Other things that I found useful were button down cotton or linen pyjamas. The buttons made those middle of the night feeds that much easier, and the cotton/linen fabric was both comfortable and breathable (hello, night sweats!). I also found having an extra long phone charging cable handy for while in the hospital/ birthing unit as the power points aren't near the beds. Small toiletries that you can leave packed up in your bag prior to the big day are also handy as it's one less thing you have to pack at the last minute.
Merino, merino merino! I can't stress enough how great merino is for newborn babes. Newborns lack the ability to control their own temperature, so keeping them warm and snug, regardless of what time of year they are born is essential.
Merino basics like the Babu Merino Singlet & Lamington socks are great base layers to have next to baby's skin. Follow with organic cotton or Merino top layers and you have yourself a perfect combination.
We also love the Babu merino gown for night time as it makes nappy changes that much easier not having to worry about domes or zips at 3am.
Whether you swaddle your babe or not is a matter of personal preference, but if you are going to swaddle your newborn, the stretchy merino/organic cotton wraps from Woolbabe are essential. They are a great size, have a good stretch and are the perfect composition for keeping your little one snug and warm.
The other essential for those newborn days that we love - a beautiful, natural balm for your little ones tushie. The Tui Baby Balm is a great, affordable and gentle solution for newborn bottoms. Meconium poo (the first motions your little one passes) is incredibly sticky (IYKYK) and can become quite difficult to get off your little one's bottom. A gentle balm can help to stop this poo from sticking and means you don't have to scrub too hard on your little one's super soft skin.
We are sure there are many other things that are 'nice-to-have' that you could add to this list, but there really isn't much you or your newborn need in those first few days. Most hospitals and birthing units provide nappies and wipes for your stay, as well as sanitary pads for you. They also provide three meals a day, water and pain relief should you need it. We'd love to know your newborn/post-partum/hospital bag essentials. Tell us below.