“As now Mother to three beautiful babies, I feel like an expert on what to pack and what not to pack in your hospital bag. I am a big believer that you want to make your time in hospital having a baby as stress free as possible, check out what was in MY hospital bag last week!”
Having a baby is both an exciting and challenging time. Adding anxiety can make it difficult to function. Being organised and prepared can help to reduce anxiety and improve your ability to cope with all the other unknowns associated with delivering a baby.
Dr Dale Garred, one of our female GPs at Manly Village Medical shares with us her hospital bag secrets that helped reduce her anxiety last week as she and her family welcomed their third baby.
What size bag?
You don’t want to be carting an oversized suitcase into birth suite with you. Dr Dale would encourage you to pack TWO hospital bags.
A smaller (overnight/carry-on-luggage) sized bag, to take with you to the birth suite. This bag should be left in the car at all times in case of an unexpectedly early labour. It should include 24 hours worth of supplies. A larger suitcase at home for a family member or relative to bring up to you after 24 hours. This bag includes all your other non-essential belongings but things that will make your stay in hospital more comfortable.
“Approximately 50% of women will spontaneously go into labour. This is unplanned and can happen when you least expect it. Don’t be caught out!”
Dr Dale’s ‘Top 5’ to pack!
- 2-3 rolls of a good quality, soft as silk, toilet paper ~ Many women will sustain cuts, grazes or tears to their perineum during labour. Having some nice soft toilet paper to use after delivery can help ease your pain from these wounds after delivery.
- Phone Charger/Laptop Charger/Apple watch charger
- Fake Tan When you’re feeling rubbish after going into spontaneous labour – often caught unawares in the middle of the night, slapping on a quick Tan day 1 post-delivery can instantly make you feel more wonderful and more able to accept your unrecognisable post baby body.
- TENS Machine This has been the most effective pain relieve I have used in labour.
- Something New You just delivered a baby – TREAT YOURSELF. Pack something brand new to look forward to after your baby arrives. It might be new makeup brushes, a book you’ve been dying for, a luxurious moisturiser. Something that gives you an internal MASSIVE high five.
Dr Dale’s complete guide?
Overnight bag (Birth Suite Bag)
- Clothes 2 wear during labour (x2 – in case one gets soiled)
- Comfy thongs to walk around in
- Phone Charger
- 3-4 pairs of comfy undies
- Maternity Pads
- A set of PJs for Dad
- A set of day clothes for Dad
- 24 hours of toiletries
- 24 hours of skin care
- Incontinence underwear – the pads they give you after you rupture your membranes simply don’t cut it
- 2-3 outfits
Larger bag (Hospital Stay Bag)
- Clothes – breastfeeding friendly if planning to breastfeed
- Hair straightener
- Hair dryer
- 3-4 ADDITIONAL pairs of comfy undies
- ADDITIONAL Maternity Pads
- Face wipes
- Plastic bags for dirty clothes
- Sticky tape and scissors – you’d be surprised how often these will come in handy
- Nail polish remover – in case things happened by surprise and your caught with chipping nail polish
- Fake Tan
- Shower cap – you don’t want to be worrying about having to dry your hair
- Tissues – nice soft ones – this can be an emotional time!
- Dental Floss or Picksters
- Bobbie Pins
- Hair Ties
- Safety pins
- 8 outfits (2 per day – new babies make a mess!)
- Cotton tips
- 1 dummy just in case – Dr Dale recommends the happy baby dummies
- Nappy bags
- Baby barrier cream
A quick word on Perinatal and Postnatal Depression and Anxiety
Up to 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men experience antenatal depression. Anxiety is just as common, and many parents experience anxiety and depression at the same time.
It is normal to experience a degree of anxiety and ‘ups and downs’ when expecting a baby. However, some people develop a more pronounced anxiety or lower mood (depression) which affects their daily life and functioning. There are treatments, supports and services available to help you through this experience. If symptoms last for more than two weeks, it’s time to seek support.
If you have any concerns that you or one of your loved one’s may be suffering from peri or postnatal anxiety or depression, please contact your doctor.
Dr Dale also recommends the following resources available ONLINE!
- Peach Tree
- Supports perinatal resilience and recovery with individuals and families through education, social action and by facilitating a passionate and caring community.
- Website designed to connect you quickly with the level of support you need, from advice and support in the transition to parenthood, to effective online treatment programs for perinatal depression and anxiety.
- PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia
- A website supporting women, men and families across Australia affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood.
- A National Helpline for individuals and their families to recover from perinatal anxiety and depression
- What Were We Thinking!
- Information about common experiences in the early months of parenthood and some effective ways of thinking about and managing them.
- Daisy Chains Postnatal Support Facebook Page
- set up by two mums to help families touched by postnatal depression
- Hope’s Room
- peer support for families suffering stress, depression or anxiety in the perinatal period
- Parental Stress Centre of Australia
- Online programs to learn how to find calm and balance and create loving and supportive family relationships.
- Mind the Bump – Mindfulness App
- Free mindfulness app to help individuals and couples support their mental and emotional wellbeing in preparation for having a baby and becoming a new parent
- MindMum Mobile App
- Help with understanding emotions and ideas to guide you on your way with more confidence
- Online sessions designed to help women recover from postnatal depression and access to line library and partner support
- Information on caring for a newborn and caring for yourself and advice on how mums and dad can support each other
- ThisWayUp – MUMentum Pregnancy and Postnatal Courses
- Two, short courses to help you reduce your symptoms of anxiety and depression in as little as four weeks.