Your Easy Hospital Bag Packing Guide: Because Growing A Baby Is Hard Enough
The SNOB Method
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Many years as a Midwife means the opportunity to see fabulous variations of hospital bags. Some genius, some comical, some a little WTF? There are always a few stand outs –
The bags with items grouped and labelled in zip lock bags, my personal fave. Organisation at its finest.
The ‘going overseas for 3 months’ mountain of luggage.
The last minute throw whatever fits into the hand bag style.
The ‘does the hospital have a charger for my phone with a brand no one has ever heard of?
And even the ‘I forgot to pack anything for the baby’ style.
Even with that strong pregnancy nesting urge, packing your hospital bag is a mission no Mama takes lightly. But baby brain kicks in and most of us don’t even know where to start.
Whether you’re a serious organisation queen or a throw it all in and that’ll do kind of gal, I’m going to share with you my super easy yet practical, comprehensive yet minimal packing guide that I call the SNOB Method. It’s my way of not only informing Mama’s what they need to pack practically, but also encouraging them to think about their needs as a birthing woman, and tools they can use to make birth a more positive experience.
To pack your SNOB Bags, you’re going to first need to 1) know what SNOB bags are and 2) choose your preferred style of packing.
So firstly, SNOB stands for Self-care Bag, Necessities Bag, Overnight Bag, Baby Bag. Obviously, there are four categories. You may prefer to pack four smaller individual bags or fit it all into one suitcase. Or two medium sized bags – one for self-care and necessities and the other for overnight and baby.
Either way, the idea of SNOB packing is to keep it practical, and avoid under packing and over packing, so that you can give weight (figuratively and literally) to the tools that can assist you in birthing your babe.
This is the bag with all the nice things that are going to make you (and Dad) physically more comfortable,
- massage oil
- TENS machine
- heat pack
- electrolyte drinks
- quick snacks – protein balls/lollies
- snacks for Dad
Deliberately excluded: Paracetamol/ibuprofen/cold packs for a sore cha-cha post birth (it’s a hospital, they have plenty).
I call this the necessities bag, because these are the items that will set the type of environment that is necessary for the cocktail of labour hormones to be able to do their job.
- small portable speaker/charger
- your chosen music playlist on phone
- essential oil/s of your choice
- battery LED candles/tealights
- your own pillow
- your own throw blanket to cover the stark white, sterile hospital bed/blankets
- 4 or so affirmations/pictures/quotes for visual aids and something to hang them up with
This one’s a no brainer, it’s an essentials bag for Mama. Don’t feel you need to overpack just in case. Remember you can always have more clothes or items brought to you from home if needed.
- small toiletries – low fragrance soap, dry shampoo, toothbrush/paste, hair ties/pins (embrace the Mum-Bun)
- face wipes – baby wipes also do the same job and are 5 times cheaper
- 1-2 packs maternity pads (they will have more if you run out)
- a few pairs of ‘Depends’ style underwear… yup, those incontinence ones, ’cause no body has time for blood stained clothing.
- roll on deodorant – avoid sprays and perfumes whilst baby is new and learning to feed. They need to smell the breast and Mama, not artificial scents.
- several nursing singlets with in built bra
- a couple of loose comfy pants or dresses
- 2 nighties or loose PJ’s
- a comfy jumper… because hospitals can get really cold
Deliberately excluded: Nursing bras and breast pads. Your breasts can change so drastically over the first weeks of breastfeeding that it isn’t worth spending money on nursing bras until you know what size you’ll need. Nursing singlets with the inbuilt bra are very forgiving and can be worn as a top.
If you intend on being in the hospital for more than 4 or so days, then you may need some breast pads, but they are usually not required when the liquid gold colostrum is nourishing bubby for the first few days. Maybe just take a couple of sets if worried about ‘leakage’.
- 20 newborn nappies*
- 5 singlets
- 5 full length wondersuits (double zips and foldable hands/feet option like BONDS is ideal)
- 2 swaddles (stretch jersey or muslin)*
- 1 thicker bunny rug as an extra layer if it’s cold*
- NO beanie required. Beanies increase babies’ risk of SIDS due to overheating even in cold weather. Their head acts as their own thermo-regulator. If they do overheat, they need to have their head free to be able to cool down their temperature.
- a couple of pairs of socks… in case one pair get poop on them. These also work as great mittens if you don’t have wondersuits with the foldable hands/feet.
- 1 packet of baby wipes
*Remember the hospital has an abundance of nappies, baby blankets, wipes, bottles, dummies and formula. You don’t need to overpack, nor take a tin of formula ‘just in case’.
If you plan to formula feed your infant however, you will need to pack your chosen formula and discuss with the hospital whether they supply disposable bottles.
Deliberately excluded: Baby soaps – it is best for a baby’s microbiome to delay their first bath until they are at least 24 hours old and have had lots of skin to skin time with Mama (and Dad!). Newborns don’t need fancy fragranced, chemical laden soaps. You can wash a baby in water only, and they still smell amazing!
So there you have it! The SNOB Method for packing a hospital bag. I hope it makes your packing much less complicated and far more enjoyable. If this is the first time you’ve ever heard of the hormones of labour and the importance of ‘setting the environment’ for an easier labour and birth, check out our articles about preparing for birth.