When you enter your third trimester, the excitement of welcoming your baby tends to set in. You may start preparations by designing the nursery to welcome your newborn.
Around the same time, it is essential to pack and prepare your hospital bag with all the necessary items that you may require before, during and after labour.
To help you ease through the process, here is a comprehensive checklist that you can refer to while preparing the bag.
When to prepare your hospital bag?
Only 5% of the babies are born on their due dates while others may arrive earlier. Prepare yourself for labour by packing everything for you, your labour partner and the baby may require. It is ideal to pack a hospital bag between weeks 32 and 35 of your pregnancy. A good time to start the practice is around week 28 or at the start of your third trimester.
What should you include in your hospital bag?
Before you start packing your hospital bag, prepare a checklist with the things you may require. Keep in mind that your hospital will cover your minimum requirements, such as gowns, basic toiletries, pillows, blankets and thick sanitary pads. You could also check with your hospital to clearly understand the items you will require during and after labour.
Checklist for Moms
Several items and essential documents must be a part of your hospital bag. Here are a few items you do not want to miss:
- Hospital files and personal documents: These documents are essential for the ease of admission and for any doctor to assess the medical history. Making copies of these documents will also help ease the process.
- Socks and flip-flops: Socks help stay warm in case the feet get cold during labour. Similarly, flip-flops are essential to walk around the hospital ward.
- Personal toiletries: Pack all vital toiletries, including lip balm and body lotion. These may be useful post labour.
- Books, magazines or a tablet: Carry an item to pass the time. It may seem useful before and after labour.
- Eye-mask and earplugs: In case of trouble falling asleep easily, carry an eye mask and a pair of earplugs. It helps eliminate light and unnecessary sound and provides a good night’s sleep.
- Medication: Any medicine required regularly must be in the hospital bag. Nurses and doctors may decide its course post labour.
- Extra-absorbent pads: New mothers require this after labour. It is good to opt for dermatologically tested cotton pads that are super absorbent and soft.
- Nursing bra: A nursing bra or a tank top helps sleep peacefully and feed the baby conveniently. Some may even opt for breast pads to avoid patches due to lactation.
- Phone and charger: Carry the phone and charger to capture moments through the process and to even stay in touch with family.
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Checklist for the birth partner
While your birth partner will assist you through the process, there are a few items you do not want to miss for them:
- Comfortable clothing: It can be long nights for the birth partner. They may have to wait outside the operation theatre or run errands to arrange for medication and other items. It is essential to pack comfortable clothing to ease the process.
- Money: The birth partner fills out applications and makes regular payments at the hospital for operation or room rent. It is vital to ensure the availability of cash for the process to avoid last-minute panic.
- Neck pillow: It varies from time to time where a birth partner may rest. Some hospitals provide a waiting room, while some may provide a bed next to the patient. In either case, it is wise to pack a neck pillow or a small pillow to help rest comfortably.
- Medication: If the birth partner requires regular medication for conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes or otherwise, it is essential to pack them in advance. These ensure that they take care of themselves while waiting during labour.
- Items for entertainment: Carry books, magazines or tablets to keep the birth partner entertained during the long waiting hours. Ensure to carry the necessary chargers for the gadgets.
- Toiletries: The hospital may provide essential toiletries for the mother but not their attender. It is crucial to pack basic toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion and deodorant.
Checklist for the baby
The hospital may provide you with the basic things for baby care. Consult your doctor to understand the items a hospital may permit before preparing the bag. Here are a few items to consider:
- Clothing: You may want to carry bodysuits, socks and mittens to wrap your child well as you bring them home.
- Blanket: The hospital is likely to provide a blanket. You may want to carry one to use during skin-to-skin contact and keep the baby warm on your way back home.
- Diapers and wipes: Stock up on diapers for your newborn. You may also want to carry baby wipes that are fragrance-free and made especially for babies. Opt for eco-friendly diapers to protect the planet and your baby from harmful chemicals and materials.
- Muslin cloth: Drape these on your shoulder or underneath the baby to prevent dribbles, especially while feeding, burping or dressing them.
- Swaddle or Receiving blanket: Use these to wrap your newborn when the hospital lets you take them home.
- Toiletries: Carry baby nail trimmers, shampoo and soap to clean your baby. Ensure these are natural, chemical and fragrance-free to avoid damaging your baby’s skin.
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It is crucial to start preparations between 32 to 35 weeks of pregnancy to avoid any last-minute rush and panic. Planning helps you gather the necessary items within time. You can focus on managing the current situation and taking care of needs that may arise out of the blue. You may choose to pack all the items in one bag or opt for a separate bag for the baby.