Our founder’s guide on what to pack (and what not to) in your hospital birth bag.
FOR THE CAR
- Two clean old towels
- A container/bag in case of sickness
FOR LABOUR & BIRTH
- Your antenatal record/card
- A printout of your birth plan/preferences
- Your wallet with Medicare card and private health insurance card, if applicable.
- A large water bottle that is easy to drink from - we recommend one with a straw.
- Healthy and practical snacks for labour - coconut water, raspberry leaf tea, bliss balls, muesli bars, nuts, fruit etc.
- A nourishing body oil for massages
- A heat pack for pain relief
- Tens machines, birth comb, affirmation cards, rebozo, exercise ball (optional)
- Comfortable clothes to labour in - think something loose, easy to take on and off, with easy access to your belly to listen to baby’s heartbeat. We recommend a large t-shirt, a robe or a sarong.
- Lip balm - air conditioning and nitrous oxide gas can make your lips very dry.
- Music (you may have to bring your own portable speaker)
- Diffuser (your hospital may provide one) and essential oils. We recommend clary sage to aid labour, lavender to help you relax, and peppermint in case you get nauseous.
- Electric candles and/or fairy lights if desired.
FOR YOUR SUPPORT PERSON
- Substantial food
- A reusable water bottle
- Phone chargers (one for each phone) preferably with an extra-long cord.
- Laptop with pre-downloaded movies, TV show episodes, audiobooks, podcasts, and music.
- Wireless headphones (for both)
- Thongs and board shorts, for support in the shower/bath if this is on the cards.
- A change of clothes with a warm jumper, because the delivery rooms are made cold as labouring women generally get hot.
- Closed in shoes, in case you need to go to the operating theatre.
- Cash, for vending machines and parking
- A charged camera
- A perineal wash bottle to squirt on your sore perineum / sutures when you urinate.
- Baby wipes (you want to avoid using the hospital’s scratchy toilet paper).
- 2-3 pairs of comfy and supportive high-waisted underwear (ideal for both vaginal and caesarean birth).
- Organic maternity pads or adult nappies
- A soothing and healing perineal foam for sore perineum / sutures
- A cold pack for pain relief
- A couple of pairs of comfortable nursing bras
- Warm & cool breast compress to help you establish nursing & soothe any discomfort associated with early breastfeeding.
- A pack of soft and reusable breast pads.
- A soothing natural nipple balm that doesn’t require to be wiped off before feeding.
- Nipple shells/hydrogel discs if you choose to use any.
- Comfortable button-down pyjamas, a robe, and slippers. If having a caesarean birth, a button-up nightie is best.
- A couple of comfortable daytime outfits that are easy to feed on, high waisted in case of a c-section so they sit above your incision, and warm socks.
- Your own pillow and a sleep mask for comfort (optional)
- Any supplements and/or vitamins to continue taking
- Healthy snacks such as bliss balls, bone broth to sip on etc.
- Your usual toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, hair tie/clip, deodorant, travel size shampoo/conditioner, dry shampoo, lip balm, soap, moisturiser. We recommend avoiding anything with a strong scent as to not interfere with baby especially whilst trying to establish breastfeeding.
- If you have other children, a gift from the baby to the siblings (optional, but a nice touch and a great way to entertain the older children whilst in hospital).
- Newborn nappies
- Wipes (we recommend water wipes)
- Washed singlet suits - perfect for layering no matter the time of year. We prefer suits to simple singlets as these tend to ride up. Comfort is key - choose organic, pure fabrics and plan for 2 per a day because babies can be messy!
- Washed onesies - we like those with zippers, long sleeves, feet, and turn-over mittens, so you don’t have to worry about socks and mittens to keep baby warm. Bring a mixture of winter/summer options as hospitals tend to be heavily air conditioned.
- Baby’s first/coming home outfit - not essential, but oh-so-cute! We suggest something super easy to get on and off.
- Swaddles wraps and/or baby sleeping bags to help baby feel safe and cocooned (just like in mum’s womb).
- A sterilised pacifier (optional)
- An installed car seat to take baby home. We recommend having it installed a few weeks prior to your due date as you could go into labour at any time and you do not want to have to figure out how to install it at the last minute.
- If you’ve been antenatal expressing, bring your syringes of frozen colostrum in an insulated bag with a freezer brick. Hospitals are equipped to store it safely.
- If you plan to formula feed, we recommend that you bring your own formula and sterilised bottles. Hospitals will have formula if necessary, but if you plan on formula feeding you may want to start your baby on the formula you will be continuing with at home.
Please note that newborn babies do not need grooming items like soaps / moisturisers / lotions etc.
You’ve got this!