Getting ready for a new little person takes a lot but packing a hospital bag for mama should be easy. Doing this a 3rd time around I consider myself a little bit of an expert; including all the essential must-haves and forgetting about the junk. I’m also sharing the tried and tested brands I love as well as where to buy them.
On the day:
1st C-section horror mamas feel the need to share… The discomfort of having the catheter inserted. Yes, it’s weird, once in you really do feel the need to wee, non-stop, but with the help of Cathejell Jelly local anaesthetic at least the going in part isn’t uncomfortable. I didn’t feel a thing both times and the nurses were more than happy to help me out with application. Buy yours at Dischem and most hospital pharmacies.
– Side note: Some doctors insert the catheter once you’re in the delivery room in which case this is not needed, so remember to ask before hand.
Have your night gown and a loose fitting breastfeeding top handy. Something that’s easy to put on and gives baby optimal boob-access. You will be rocking a lovely hospital frock during delivery but as soon as things quiet down someone will come and dress you. (No need to worry about bottoms for today).
A pair of comfy socks always makes me feel less naked and taken care of so include a pair, especially if you have a winter baby on the way.
A black pen and paper is handy for filling out all the paperwork and quickly jotting down memorable moments and facts about the day.
Don’t forget the tissues, fully charged camera and empty memory card.
OPTIONAL: A written birth plan, I know this is more for natural delivery but a lot of mamas want to do it for their c-section too, and why not! Delivery music is also something to consider.
For your hospital stay:
Comfy pj’s are a must and with gorgeous maternity styles by Bena Loungewear, Annabella Maternity and Anna-Louise Sleepwear you can have your pick. Shoes should be slippers or anything that’s easy to slip-on, try to keep the bending to a minimum! Invest in good breastfeeding bras, once your milk arrives these will become your best friend! I also needed breast / nursing pads from day one so remember to include a few. There are lovely fabric ones available from Mother Nature Products but during the hospital stay and those 1st few weeks convenience trumps all so don’t feel bad about using disposables. Natracare Nursing Pads from Faithful to Nature are a great option. “Free from synthetic chemicals and harsh ingredients. These nursing pads are soft and perfectly shaped and will keep you dry between breast feeds. Naturally breathable, plastic free, and totally chlorine free to keep delicate nipples and your baby’s milk free from any dioxin residues.”
Other disposables needed:
- Carriwell Disposable Panties has been my go-to brand and can easily be bought at Babycity, Baby Boom and Dischem.
- Maternity Sanitary pads: Natracare Organic Cotton Maternity Pads from Faithful to Nature. “Natracare Maternity pads are extra-long and comfortably padded to give confident and secure protection for the natural blood loss experienced after giving birth. The soft, fluffy, absorbent core, made from totally chlorine free pulp, quickly absorbs and locks away the fluid so that the soft, certified organic 100% cotton cover allows your skin to breath whilst at the same time keeping you dry and free from contact with synthetic materials.”
- Carriwell Linen Protectors
I like taking my own hand towel for my face, but rather go for the hospital body towels. You don’t want to ruin yours. A good tip is to have 1 light coloured and 1 dark coloured face cloth. The 1st day or 2 you will be “bathed” by a nurse and this helps to keep things separate for washing your wound vs. the rest of your body and face.
Pack the usual toiletries but swap out a few for easier options that save time; 2-1 shampoo and conditioner is handy as well as make-up remover wipes. Include lip-balm – for some reason hospitals always give me dry lips.
Some “green” toiletries I love:
- Earthsap Peppermint and Baking soda Toothpaste
- Pure Primal Natural Vitamin E Body Butter
- Pure Primal natural bath bar or African Organics Kalahari Melon Body Wash
- Pure Primal Under Armour Natural Deodorant
- Hey Gorgeous 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner
- Gluki Mom’s Lip balm
- Lulu & Marula Balancing Cleansing Balm
- Lula Fox Ecolux Makeup, read all about why I can’t stop talking about them here.
Having a hand mirror in your bag helps when you aren’t mobile yet. You’ll have to wait for the doctor / nurse to give you the okay before getting up so you might have to brave a visiting hour or two lying down.
Remember chargers for the camera and phones, copies of both parent’s ID’s to register baby and an outfit to wear when going home. It needs to be something comfortable that won’t put pressure on your wound and breastfeed-friendly. I start wearing a belly band at home.A Nostalgie Textiles laundry bag for dirty clothes will make things easier when you are home again.Optional: Nipple cream, I go “au natural” using my own breastmilk instead. A breastfeeding shawl or cover, but only if you are uncomfortable without one.
A little something extra:
To make things easier I have included a checklist for you to download (just click on the link below this image for the high res version). As a bonus I’ve added a few extra tips too.
Did I forget anything?
Keep an eye out for future “What’s in the Bag” posts regarding baby’s hospital bag, packing for dad, diaper bag essentials and a recovery kit for Mama.
PHOTO CREDIT | Anje-Ilana Nel from Madison & West.