Hospital bag essentials

Having experienced three births myself, I know how stressful it can be trying to work out what’s best to pack in your hospital bag. It’s something you’re encouraged to do weeks in advance of your due date just in case you labour early, but something which personally I put off until the last minute because I just didn’t know what to include. There are so many opinions out there of what’s necessary – a lot of which, I’ll be honest, I really didn’t use and ended up just taking up a lot of space in my small overnight suitcase. I remember with my first baby that someone suggested I take a measuring jug to “wash my bits” with….safe to say I did not use that (not even sure I washed at all in the hospital to be honest as the idea of a stand-up shower wasn’t overly appealing after the trauma of childbirth). I packed about 100 items of baby clothes (I probably used maybe 3 baby-grows for one night’s stay) and just ended up having to unpack it all again once I got home.

The reality is, if you do end up having an extended stay, the likelihood is you’re in a hospital that’s not far from home, and given that partners aren’t allowed to stay overnight, there’s always time for them to go home and grab anything extra that you need.

So to help all you first-time mums out there, I thought I would let you know my top three must-have hospital bag items. Obviously there are tons of genuine essentials on top of these (nappies, baby clothes etc) but these are the ones which a) I relied on the most and b) you might not have considered as essentials pre-labour.

The first is Lucozade sport (the non-fizzy drink). I love drinking water normally but when I was in labour, it just didn’t cut it. I needed sugar (but the pain was too intense to eat) and wanted something to just keep my energy levels up. I took little sips and it kept me going. I also drank it after labour to regenerate my exhausted body. I had an orange one and a raspberry one and I alternated them.

The second item is comfy pyjamas. Once my babies were delivered (and I’d had my stitches), all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and recover. Snuggly pjs which reminded me of the comfort of home helped me do this. Top tip: if you have your baby in the Mulberry suite at Frimley Park Hospital (highly recommended by the way) I personally found the room temperature a bit on the chilly side so I opted for long sleeve/trouser PJs. If you have your baby on the normal labour ward, the likelihood is you will be transferred to the post-natal ward afterwards – and it is hotter than the sun over there. So a lightweight nightie / short PJs would be more comfortable.

The third item is snacks – the sweeter / sugarier the better! I’ll always remember what I craved after giving birth to my third child….Haribo, a Boost chocolate bar and a bottle of Coke Zero (healthy ey?)… and boy they’d never tasted so good! The sugar helped combat the adrenaline shakes you tend to get after the total body f*ck that is childbirth and let’s be honest, after pushing a small human out of yourself you deserve some treats! 😉

So those are my personal top 3! But I’m no expert, and I thought it would be good to get some second opinions. So I also put the question to my followers on Instagram (@baby_love_photo) and Facebook to see what they considered their must-have hospital bag essentials.

Here’s what they said:

  • “Witch hazel on a sanitary pad for the post birth foof swelling. Apply very liberally!!”
  • “Expert Midwife – ‘spritz for bitz’
    Didn’t have it for my first, did for my second and it was a game changer.”
  • “Snacks, silk pj’s, comb – squeezing in my hand helped distract from contraction pain”
  • “Phone, Phone charger and a bluetooth speaker to play music from my phone”
  • “Water bottle, power bank charger for mobile, slip on fluffy slippers”
  • “Handheld usb fan – I had my 2nd on the hottest day of the year in 2020 and it helped (a little haha)”
  • “Comfy loose clothing, slippers and disapoable pants”
  • “Nice toiletries from home to make me feel a little more ‘me’ after birth
  • “Decent metal cup with a lid and a straw to keep ice cubes and water nice and cold”
  • “Cooling pad liners”
  • “C-section knickers”
  • “Baby-grows with zips”
  • “Headphones and a button front nightie for skin to skin and breastfeeding”
  • “Tens machine”
  • “Paracetamol for the moaning husband”
  • “Labelled bags for nappies, muslins, emergency outfit, baby-grows etc so they were easy to locate”
  • “A towel! I ended up drying myself with tissues”
  • “Throat sweets and lip balm I took for my second after learning from the 1st!

So there you go. I hope that’s helpful for all you first time mums out there (if this is you and you’re currently looking for a maternity or newborn photoshoot in the area, you’ve come to the right place 😉 )

I’ve also popped some photos below of my own babies not long after their arrived into the world. Fond memories! (Anyone else feeling a bit broody after reading this post?! Eeek!)

Baby Love Photography – Award-winning newborn photographer based in Fleet but also covering surrounding towns including Farnborough, Farnham, Odiham, Hook, Yateley, Guildford, Woking, Basingstoke, Reading, Camberley, Aldershot and Hartley Wintney