Okay, now that we’ve been there and done that, we can honestly say that we brought so many non-essentials in our hospital bag with us when we had Ruth. Sure, we wouldn’t say that they are completely non-essentials, but they had limited use and contributed mostly to the heap of things that we had to bring home. When the first few days of parenthood hit us, we found ourselves grasping for things that weren’t in our bags, and we had to make trips home to get products or run out to the shopping centre beside our hospital to grab them.
So here’s our edition of 13 Things That Must Be In Our Hospital Bag. Of course, this is what works for us so feel free to vary this list as you please to fit your own needs! The first few days of parenthood are tough so it would definitely help if you had a few things with you to make life a little easier. You’ve got it!
Photo Credit: Verywell Family
#1 Breast Pump (Electric/Manual)
This differs from hospital to hospital. Whilst we had prepared an electric breast pump for use when we reached home, we assumed that the hospital would have spare electric pumps for our use. Lo and behold. Although there were technically pumps that were available at the hospital, they were all in use by other mothers. Hence, the only option left for us was to purchase a manual pump. And mind you, this pump was not cheap so of course, we opted to not get it since we already had a pump at home.
My husband ended up heading home to grab our electric pump when latching just didn’t seem to help my supply kick in. And then, we headed home the next morning. Hence, I’d honestly advise you to bring along your electric pump to help stimulate your supply if that’s something you’re keen on (this is said bearing in mind that there are schools of thought that say that pumping too prematurely will result in engorgement.
#2 Compression Socks
For me, this was a must-have especially after your baby is born. When you’re in the hospital, they will hook you up to some kind of saline solution which results in extreme bloating. When I was still bloated in the hospital, I didn’t think it was that bad. Then, I came home and looked in the mirror and said oh dear me. Anyhow, even if you don’t think you look bloated, you will feel the bloating in you and my legs felt so so numb. Having these compression socks (make sure you get ones that are up to the shin) really helped with reducing water retention and just made the pain post-delivery a lot more comfortable.
I don’t have a particular brand to recommend as I just picked up one random one from a Watsons nearby. As long as it serves its purpose i.e. compresses your shins, that’s all you really need.
#3 Cotton Underpants
The main reason for bringing along a few pieces of cotton underpants to the hospital is simple. Most hospitals don’t give you unlimited pieces of cotton underpants for your stay. In our case, it was practically one per day and if you happened to sleep in a not so comfortable way, you’d end up staining the underpants and have to live with it for the rest of the day. Gross, right? Also, I don’t recall the cotton underpants being particularly cheap. So good to have a few extra pairs on hand anyway.
On a side note, I found these underpants so comfortable. It was super supportive and my c-section scar felt very comfortable in it.
#4 Eye Drops
I hate having dry eyes and being in the hospital all day for a few days in a row means that the chances of you having dry eyes is so much higher. Further, you’re not going to get much rest with the frequent feedings and hospital staff moving in and out of the hospital room. So, have those eye drops on standby. They definitely made things for us a little more comfortable (and comforting).
Photo Credit: Pexels
#5 Fennel Tea
If you’re keen on breastfeeding and want to build your supply, make sure that you have fennel tea or any kind of lactation products on hand for consumption post-delivery. In our case, the nurses highly recommended fennel tea as a lactation tea but curiously, I was only limited to around three (3) packets for the duration of our stay, and my husband was directed to visit the nearest supermarket to purchase more. And unfortunately, the supermarket nearest to the hospital did not carry fennel tea. Oh, our luck! As such, I’d say that it never hurts to be overprepared in this aspect. Bring your tea.
#6 Hair Ties
I still have long hair and my mom and grandmom are so perplexed by how long my hair is 8 months postpartum. Primarily because you feel very hot / heaty post-delivery and it’s just easier to have short hair as a mom. But I’m a stubborn person so I just survived on french plaits secured by hair ties. Make sure that you bring along an ample supply of hair ties just in case you misplace them or they snap. And if you want to be even more prepared, have your partner learn how to tie a comfortable hairstyle for you.
#7 Maternity Pads
As with cotton underpants, you don’t get an endless supply of maternity pads in the hospital and it’s good to have some prepared. There is no way that you’d be able to determine the volume of lochia you’d have post-birth so of course, it never hurts to be overprepared. We purchase our maternity pads from Mothercare; I recall it being a pack of around twenty plus pads. Took us through our hospital stay until we went home with Ruth!
Photo Credits: Pexels
#8 Newborn Diapers
This is another item that you’d be given at the hospital but in limited quantity. Yes, a pack of diapers would be enough but if your little one keeps releasing No. 2, you’d just have to make frequent diaper changes and yes, that’s a lot of diaper changes. Because the hospital doesn’t supply you with unlimited diapers, it doesn’t hurt to bring along a couple of new diapers in your hospital bag just in case you finish the ones the hospital gives you. At least you won’t feel this sense of insecurity everytime you use a diaper because you’d know that you’ll have enough. Being a new parent is stressful enough. Do what you have to do to make your life a little easier.
Photo Credits: Pexels
#9 Nipple Cream
As a first-time mom, I never knew how painful my nipples would be from the frequent 3-hour latching schedule. My nipples were so so sore and began to crack, but I just had to keep up with the feeding schedule. And this pain came notwithstanding that I had been diligently applying nipple cream to my nipples a few months before I gave birth. So, save yourself the trouble of scrambling around for nipple cream after you give birth and just bring it with you. Although it wasn’t a miracle worker, it did help to bring some relief to the nipples after every feeding session.
It gets better, trust me.
#10 Nipple Shield
Ruth was a terrible latcher and had a shallow latch most of the time. What I regret the most is not bringing along a nipple shield to “correct” her latch as early as I could. If you’re looking to breastfeed, I’d also suggest having a nipple shield in the hospital bag just in case your baby is having problems with latching. Tried and tested? It really works. Ruth began to latch properly in my third month in and I really enjoyed the bonding time with her.
#11 Postpartum Belly Band
Even if you didn’t bring this with you, your doctor will most likely give you a postpartum belly band (which will be added to your hospital bill). This really helps with the “loose skin” / “flesh” that is at your belly area post-delivery, so that your back doesn’t feel overly strained. For me, this was particularly important because I had a c-section and it was vital that I didn’t add any stress to my abdomen area. The band kept the area firm and also protected from any impact etc.
Photo Credits: Pexels
I was so so hungry after I gave birth. And best of all, I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to eat immediately after my c-section. It works in the same way as a general surgery; you don’t eat right after surgery but slowly ease back into eating. But I was so hungry that the minute they wheeled me back into the room (before they brought the baby in), I took out a pack of biscuits and dug into them (lol). So yes, it’s helpful to have snacks lying around the room whenever you’re hungry and if you’re too lazy to ask the nurses to bring food for you.
#13 Wet Wipes
Again, the hospital is not going to give you an endless supply of wet wipes and being overprepared has more benefits than disadvantages. Aside from using the wet wipes for your baby, you could also use the wet wipes to give yourself a wipe down after the day (especially since you wouldn’t bathe immediately after delivery). Also, I used these wipes to cleanse my face when I was still not mobile enough to pop to the bathroom to wash up.