What is in my hospital bag?

Part of nesting and planning for your new baby is to think about the bag that is sitting next to the front door or in the back of your car... you know the one - your hospital bag for the baby. The bag with all the hospital essentials you'll grab to survive the first 3 days of being a new mom when the big moment finally arrives. It is the first thing your husband or birth partner will think of to take when he wakes up in the middle of the night to you standing in the doorway with water on the floor and a scared-excited look on your face.

Regardless of how many weeks pregnant you are, it's never too early to think about the titems in your baby bag when you're creating your birth plan to ensure that the birth experience goes smoothly.

We've compiled a handy checklist of items to pack in that important mom-and-baby bag so you don't have to do without in the first few days. We also know that, since you will be having a birth photographer taking pictures, you want to look as good as you possibly can with as little effort as possible, so we are including a few things that will make photos easier on you and your birth partner too.

hopsital bag checklist for mom dad and baby leather bag on bed baby clothes white sheets

The ultimate hospital bag checklist

A few things to consider when packing your bag:

  1. Your body will be sore for a few days (whether you are having a vaginal delivery or a c-section - there is no easy way to have a baby!) so consider packing shoes that slip on so you don't have to bend over. Also remember that your abdomen will be sensitive, so go for a dress or something that is loose around your waist when choosing a going home outfit.
  2. Most hospitals has a baby registration facility. Make sure you have a certified copy of both parent's ID and a black pen for your baby's registration for his/her birth certificate and make a note of important hospital policies. If you don't do it while you are in the hospital you will have to take the baby down to the Department of Home Affairs - which is always crowded - and go through the pain staking process with a newborn in your arms. It is much easier for Dad to do the registration at the hospital. Write down the name so he does not misspell it in his excitement.
  3. Take along your medical aid card or other medical cards and any medical history or antenatal notes that the hospital staff may find helpful whiling managing the hospital paperwork.
  4. Flip flops are always a good idea for showers. Need we say more? Remember to pack other personal items such as hair ties, nursing bras, nursing pads, cotton wool balls and comfortable underwear. If you prefer, pack some disposable underwear.
  5. The hospitals normally do not provide towels, so remember to bring one from home.
  6. Pack your own hospital gown and some comfy hospital socks if the weather is chilly.
  7. If you have a favourite pillow or blanket you can't sleep without, be sure to include it in the bag. If you have trouble sleeping in a well lit room, an eye mask could come in handy too.
  8. Your baby might handle the birth like a rockstar and you may be home in a day or two... or your newborn could end up in NICU due to a complication at birth. Prepare for the worst and you will have one less thing to worry about should you be facing some extra time in hospital. Having a breast pump handy will help you if you need to express milk for your baby in NICU and newborn nappies will certainly be useful.
  9. Healthy snacks or light meals may come in handy during your stay if you're not a fan of hospital food. Consider packing your favourite snacks and a reusable water bottle or coins, should you prefer to opt for the enticing goodies from the hospital vending machines. Most hospitals also have a cafeteria with a great menu.
  10. If you booked Dynamic Photography to do your birth photos then you don't have to worry about announcement boards - your birth photographer will bring a black board with white letters to announce your baby's name, weight and length etc. to the waiting world. If however, you do not live in the South African Lowveld and you do not have Dynamic Photography at your disposal, think about how you wish your first photos of your newborn should look and plan accordingly. Also remember to bring a wrap, outfit and blanket for these photos.
  11. Births take time. Plan to watch a movie on your laptop or ipad or bring a Baby Care book to read while you wait for the first signs of labour. There is a lot of down time during vaginal births. Babies usually don't just fall out like they do in the movies. A c-section is a whole lot faster, but the down time comes after the baby is born and you are confined to your bed for the rest of the day.
  12. Lip balm. Don't forget this. You might not need it, but if you do there is very few things as irritating as dry lips while you are in labour.
  13. Dads can go home. It is a good idea to let him take care of any valuable items you may not have an immediate need for, like jewellery or a credit card. If you need something from home and you don't live hours from the hospital, he can bring it along when he comes to visit the next day.
  14. Video call is a great way to connect with family while you are in hospital. Remember to bring your mobile phone and cell phone charger. Remind Dad to switch to airplane mode while you are delivering your baby. The last thing you want is him on the phone with a client while your baby is born or for the video he takes with his phone to be interrupted with a call from telemarketers.

More than anything... remember to savour the moments of your baby's birth. It will pass faster than you realise and you won't be able to go back to experience it again... So consider hiring a birth photographer to capture it for you to remember.

Here is a discount for you...

We made a deal with the fun people at FOR LOVE AND LEATHER and you get 10% off their cool leather bags if you use our COUPON CODE: DYNAMIC10. Check out their cool hospital bags and diaper bags here.

We hope this was helpful to you

May your birth be an exciting and joyful experience.


Lizelle and Charlotte

Dynamic Photography

two birth photographers with cameras in purples scrubs in front of a wooden background blonde brunette

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