Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Hospital Bag – What to Pack for You and Baby

This is an INFORMATION page, verified by physician

Getting ready for the arrival of your little one is an exciting time. As you near 36-37 weeks, you may wish to pack your bag for the hospital with essentials. Just in case you go into labour before your due date.

It is better to be prepared, even if baby decides to wait beyond their due date to arrive. It also gives you time to think about what you might like to have with you during labour and your hospital stay. And to practice putting the car seat in and out of the car.

Recommended packing for baby:

  • Diapers (newborn or size 1 (if baby estimated to be over 4 kilograms) and wipes (99% water-based wipes)
  • Long sleeve and long leg onesies/gowns
    Gowns can provide easy access for tired mums to change nappies. These should ideally be made of cotton, bamboo or light weight merino.
  • Singlet or short sleeve shirts/onesies
    This is to provide an extra under layer for warmth. Babies feel the cold very easily after birth. They will generally need two layers of clothing in the first 24 to 48 hours in hospital.
  • Hat/mittens/socks or booties
    Hat and booties or socks are important to keep baby warm, especially during skin to skin after birth. A hat will only be needed while an inpatient in hospital. It should not be used during sleep after discharge (link to safe sleeping). Mittens can help cover your baby’s hands to stop sharp or long finger nails scratching the face. Many newborn outfits will have hand covers built in (the end of the arms fold over the hands). Socks and booties will help keep feet warm.
  • Going home outfit for baby
    You may have chosen a particular outfit you would like to take baby home in. Most babies will fit newborn outfits, at least in the first few days. Again, if baby is estimated to be more than 4 kilograms it wouldn’t hurt to pack a 0-3-month outfit as well just in case.
  • Muslins/swaddling cloths, and warm cot blankets
    Pack at least two light cloths to swaddle/wrap baby and then a warm baby blanket to tuck over the top if needed.
  • Carseat
    Make sure you have purchased a carseat for baby. Usually a baby capsule that is either secured by seatbelt or has a lift in/out base/latch system. Baby will need to be safely fastened in their baby capsule before you can be discharged from hospital.
  • If you choose not to breast feed, pack ready prepared (liquid) formula, sterilized bottles and teats.
  • Nipple shields only if nipples are flat or inverted.

Suggestions for Mum:

  • Hospital gowns are available for you to wear in labour. But you may wish to pack something of your own to wear during labour. Such as an oversized t-shirt, shirt or nightgown.
  • Comfy breastfeeding clothes/bras
    Think comfortable, think easy access to the breast for feeding. Feeding singlet tops with soft in-built support are great along with some loose pajama pants or leggings. Hospital AC can be cold here in Cayman, so pack a sweater for you and your partner. Slippers or socks for your feet as well.
  • Breast pads
    It is unlikely your milk will be in. But you will leak breast milk before being discharged from hospital, so pack a few just in case.
  • Sensible underwear and maxi sanitary pads
    Large boy short underwear or full brief underwear will help hold sanitary pads in place. One packet of sanitary pads. These should be maxi pads for heavy flow or overnight flow. Have extra packets at home that your partner can bring in if needed. Or, you may wish to use adult diapers.
  • Toothbrush and toiletries
    In general, you don’t need to bring any nipple creams. If your nipples are sore, usually rubbing in expressed colostrum is enough while in hospital. Baby should not need any diaper or barrier cream either in the first few days of life.
  • Lip balm can help ease dry lips during labour.
  • Essential oils/massage oil
  • Downloaded Music on phone/iPad with small wireless/bluetooth speaker
  • Birthing ball – check with the hospital beforehand, as they may have these available, or perhaps have a spare in the car just in case.
  • Dual Tens machine (pain relief option – discuss with obstetrician. These can be purchased at pharmacies here on island, or you can inquire with a physiotherapist about hiring)
  • Small plastic squeezy bottle for perineal rinses, calendula cream or witch-hazel wipes. It is best to check with your obstetrician specifically about care of your perineum after birth.
  • Hair tie (and spares)
  • Healthy snacks for breast feeding and in between hospital meals.
  • Book to read
  • Water bottle
  • Camera
  • Phone and phone charger
  • You may wish to pack a boppy pillow if you purchased one, to help position baby for breast feeding.
  • Your own pillow

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about the author

Dr Sarah Newton

MBChB, FRACP (paeds), DCH

SPECIALIST GENERAL PAEDIATRICIAN & NEWBORN CARE

Born in New Zealand, Dr Newton is a general paediatrician with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, tertiary level trained in highly respected paediatric and neonatal centres in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Her specific interests include neonatal care, complex diagnoses and developmental follow up.



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