A maternity bag is considered an essential part of the preparation for birth at hospital.
Check with your hospital and healthcare service what is specifically required, but the following list should give you some ideas for what may be needed for your first day or two in hospital following the birth of your child. Some babies are born with no issues and both mother and child can be sent home with little time needed. Others may require several days in hospital either for the mother to recover or for monitoring of the baby.
The Maternity Bag
Firstly, you must select the correct bag. The bag should be large enough to take everything you need (more than one or two bags will become cumbersome during your stay). The bag should also be wipeable and water resistant (there is a good likelihood of spillages of various fluids whist in hospital).
In the bag, we suggest that some (or all) of the following items are considered:
For mum to be:
- Dressing gown/nightwear
- Shampoo (simple formula and hypoallergenic)
- Body wash (simple formula and hypoallergenic) This for the arms and legs etc. You may be advised to just use warm water (or something else) by your hospital. Always take the hospital/professional’s advice).
- Comfortable clothes
- Hair brush and accessories
- Makeup, moisturiser and cleansers etc.
- Phone charger
- Deodorant (stick or roll-on as aerosol may offend others at the hospital)
- Knickers (large and cotton)
- Lip balm (lips tend to get dry following birth and airconditioned rooms may exacerbate this)
- Flip flops or non-slip, low backed slippers
- Breast pads
- Incontinence pads (highly absorbent or night time ones recommended)
- Nipple cream (usually the sort containing lanolin as long as nobody is sensitive or allergic)
- Tasty high calorie food. Giving birth requires a lot of energy.
- Tasty high calorie drinks that are suitable to be kept at ambient temperature. Long life juices are fine as long as they are consumed in one sitting and not allowed to go off.
- Flexible, wipe clean changing mat that can be rolled. This will not be necessary for many hospitals because they will provide mats and areas to change your new-born. Check with the hospital beforehand.
For your new-born baby:
- Nappies – Take some new-born size and some zero to three-month size just in case. Normally new-born is suitable so take at least 10 nappies in this size.
- Teats for bottles
- Suitable formula milk if you are not planning to breast feed
- Cotton wool balls to clean when changing nappies (most UK and US hospitals currently suggest cleaning with fresh clean, warm water and cotton wool balls rather than ‘baby wipes’. This continues for the first few days at least. Avoid all chemical containing wipes at first.
- Cotton buds
- Muslin cloths
- Baby grow clothing/vests
- Baby cardigan if it may be cold
- Fragranced nappy bags
For your partner:
- A book, game, newspaper or other piece of entertainment
- Foods that are prepared and easy to clear up e.g. sandwich or chocolate bars.
- Drinks (water or juice drinks)
The above are all just ideas and suggestions. Consult with appropriate professionals before taking any action and ensure that you plan and prepare where possible. Never worry, what you are doing is normal and natural and you will have lots of joy to look forward to.
Thank you for reading this article, we hope that you have found this a super useful guide to ensuring that you have what is needed in your maternity bag.