What to pack in your hospital bag - and what not to pack!
3 March 2022 | Admin
For the birth of my twins we set off across the South Downs shrouded in fog at 3 o'clock in the morning super excited and completely unaware of the carnage that the little pink and blue bundles of joy were about to wreak!
My hospital bag was packed and contained a 4 pack of 0-3 month sleepsuits, 6 size 1 nappies and NO SNACKS or drinks! We ended up with a hospital stay of over a week!
Who knew 'newborn' was a smaller size and who knew that at a month early and being squashed by your 'big sister' meant even that would be too big! My husband had a baptism of fire that weekend rushing about finding preemie clothes, setting up cots, buying breast pumps and rocking in a corner!
Roll forwards 6 years, lessons learned, off we went in thick snow a week before Christmas for the 'this is going to be SOOOOOO easy' singleton. Who knew I wouldn't want to watch the portable DVD player we had taken, who knew babies could be so BIG that newborn clothes would be too small!!!
We were as woefully unprepared the second (well technically third) time round.
"Excellent period pants.Actually used this in the very late stage of pregnancy as fluids discharge increased and very comfortable to wear. Hoping to use it for first bleed after birth too!" Rachel Dec '19 trustpilot
What should you NOT pack in your hospital bag?
We asked our followers on Instagram to help you have a stress free and useful hospital bag that has as little impact on the environment as possible.
Here's a quick list of what you should not pack in your hospital bag:
- Essential oil diffuser
- Size 8 pre-pregnancy jeans
- Kids bubbles
- Light period pads
- Face creams and make up
- White towels
- Embroidery set
- Baby nail nippers
- Fairy lights and Batteries
- Disposable knickers
There were quite a few crossovers which made it onto both the 'do need' and 'don't need' lists.
Many needed books and snacks, other found these pointless and just got eaten by their other half. All this proves is that every birth experience is different. Some are in for a few hours, others for a week, and some have their baby on the bathroom floor at home and the bag never leaves the hallway!
What should I take with me to the hospital?
Our customers helped us compile this list of essentials for their hospital bag checklist! Here's what you should take with you to the hospital:
- Big black pants that avoid the potential c-section area
- Coconut oil so that first baby poo of meconium doesn't stick
- Snacks such as energy tablets, boiled sweets, protein bars
- Warm flannel is a good idea to hold on yourself as your baby's head crowns
- Maternity pads (not sanitary towels...you definitely need the heavy duty maternity pads
- Charging leads
- Drinks and straws
- A towel (not white!)
- Lip balm
- Chocolate buttons to melt in your mouth, no chewing required!
- Birth plan - don't forget it's always best to view this as flexible as labour and birth doesn't always go to plan
- Breast pads - whether you're planning to breastfeed or not, your milk WILL come in
- A comfy outfit to wear home
- Toothbrush & toothpaste (for you or your birth partner)
- Car Seat - often your hospital or birth centre won't let you leave without one
- Coins for hospital vending machines or car parks
We can provide some great additions to your hospital bag that you can use before, during and after the birth and for the rest of your menstrual journey.
I don't need to say much more about our Feeling Confident pants other than the feedback from our initial testers -
"Really comfy, slight 'spanx' vibes which I really like because I've gone all jelly-belly. It's nice to be held-in, not even from an aesthetic perspective.
Just the feeling of having my stomach held by material is nice. I still had a slight bump on the initial wear and they were comfortable. And they still fit nicely now, sometimes I wear them just for the spanx effect" Ashton, Jan 2022 reviewing our Feeling Confident
"I love them! Almost feel sexy, which is saying something 1 week after giving birth! Much prefer to (sic) disposable because of silky feel, high rise (covers belly button and dark line, which I don’t like looking at right now) and close fit. And of course, reusable!
Wore once in late pregnancy and fitted over bump fine. I feel like a kind of Bridget Jones, kind of sexy. Wouldn’t mind fiancé seeing me in them but was embarrassed if he saw me in (sic) disposables." Zoe, Nov 2021 reviewing our Feeling Confident
"During pregnancy it was very comfortable with my bump. It completely stretched over and stayed in place. Straight After pregnancy I used them and it felt amazing not having to use disposable pads and worrying about changing or leaking.
Early labour after my waters broke I wore them in hospital, and I wore them about 4 days after delivery. I found that they was very comfortable and tucked in my stomach without hurting it as I was still having alot of pains when breast feeding.
I found that only a couple of times at the end of the day I felt slightly damp so would hand-wash it and then wash in machine for the next day. I think postpartum bleed was a lot heavier those days" Rhapsody, March 2022
How many Maternity pads should I take to hospital?
You should take 3 or 4 of our reusable maternity / night pads to hospital. Although generally if you have a good delivery you won't be in hospital for more than 24 hours or so after your baby is born, this allows for heavy lochia. Because they're reusable, our maternity pads are a great addition to your hospital bag, they can be rinsed in the sink and stored in a pod or wetbag until you are home, simply unzip the bag, add your normal detergent and press go on a 30 degree wash.
Hang to dry - much quicker than a midnight dash for more giant plastic pads! Pop them in the fridge or freezer wet with water, witch hazel or chamomile tea to soothe your stitches!
"After the success with the reusable baby wipe system, I decided to try their maternity pads after the birth of our third child- they have yet to let me down! And it feels great to keep yet another plastic filled pad out of a landfill.
The patterns are cute and cleaning and maintenance is as easy as the wipe system! I would recommend any of these cheeky wipes products!" Oleary, Nov '20 trustpilot
"Very pleased with my orders.So I ordered some reusable pads after having a baby and ordered a wipes box. I am converted.
After becoming sore from maternity pads i decided that when the bleeding died down I would use my reusable pads. They are so soft.
A week later I decided to buy some daily liners and some Terry reusable wipes and I couldn't be more pleased with the quality." Amy, Nov 19 trustpilot
Whether you plan to breastfeed or not, you'll still need breast pads. Our breastpads are lined with athletic wicking fabric so you'll feel dry and comfy. Fluffy, soft and absorbent, no more getting your chapped nipple stuck to a disposable wet disk! And your partner won't end up with a wet back in bed...
Do I need to bring nappies & wipes to the hospital?
Yes! You'll need to bring nappies and wipes to the hospital. Although the hospital will have some nappies and wipes available, you'll be expected to bring enough for your baby. It's the NHS, not a hotel. ;-)
If you haven't considered reusable wipes, you can certainly use them in hospital - they're GREAT for removing sticky meconium poo.
They're also brilliant as intimate wipes for you too. Our wipes are great to wet and mop your brow (or your husbands)during the birth, to hold over your bruised, delicate foof for your first postpartum pee or poo (ouch!), and are great for freshen ups - that post birth period can be overwhelming.
Also great for cleaning up 6 weeks later when you get back on the horse
How many weeks pregnant should I pack my hospital bag?
It's always a good idea to have hospital bag packed by 36 weeks pregnant, well before your due date. That's because sometimes you go into labour early - like I did!
4th Trimester Kit
This is a great kit to stock you up on pads, wipes, breastpads and your first reusable wet wipes for your precious newborn!
We hope you've enjoyed our Cheeky guide to hospital bags and we'd love to read what to pack / what not to pack in the comments below. If you've got questions about how many reusable maternity pads or pants you'd need, fill out our questionnaire and Kirstin will get back to you with her postpartum recommendations and many handy tips.
If you enjoyed this we think you would like this blog on Expecting a baby? Easy sustainable swaps that will save £££
As always, if you're unsure of what you need to make the switch, please do drop the team a line or use the online chat function. The team all use the products themselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long, nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences...
About the Author: Kirstin Scriven is part of the Customer Experience team at Cheeky Wipes, which since 2008 has been selling the original reusable wipes kit. She is mum to 3 and loves the forest, the sea and the hills!
Along with the rest of our crack team, she spends most days talking about poo, pee and periods and loves a chance to overshare. The business was recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021, celebrating their hard work over the last 13 years.