The ultimate hospital bag checklist: what you need.

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Insulated mug (and your favorite tea bags).

It keeps your tea or coffee hot but it also prevents spills.

Coconut water and/or labor assistance.

They are full of electrolytes that help your muscles contract efficiently. Without them, your muscles get tired and weak, and as a result, your work can slow down. Electrolytes also regulate your nerve function and blood pressure.

Snacks for you and your birth partner during labor and after delivery.

If you are giving birth vaginally, you will be able to eat right away and you may feel hungry. Hospital food doesn’t have the best reputation for taste or nutritional value, so packing your own snacks is always recommended.

During postpartum, it is very important to eat warm, nutritious foods. Even if you can’t fit soup or porridge in your hospital bag, you may be able to ask a friend or family member to deliver it to you.

Tens machine.

It is a very good form of non-drug pain relief.

Your own pillow.

It’s comfort and resting your head on your own pillow can help you relax and settle in, as it’s normal to feel anxious sometimes in an unfamiliar, hospitable environment.

Towel.

Often hospital towels are small and you deserve a big fluffy towel after birth.

Night light.

So important for overnight diaper changes and feedings and an essential once you get home.

Loose, comfortable and warm clothes.

Hospitals are often cold and staying warm after birth is an important part of recovery.

Tops/dresses.

So you can easily feed and socks to keep your feet warm

Belly belt or support pants.

Your core is quite weak after birth, and supporting it can definitely help your recovery, whether you had a vaginal or caesarean birth.

Nursing bra, night bra or bralette.

Comfort is key and you’ll want something that stretches to fit your breasts when your milk comes in, even if you’re not planning on breastfeeding. If you are not planning to breastfeed, your midwife will advise you on removing your milk.

Bottles and formula if you give formula.

Two pairs of buttoned pajamas.

High waist underwear.

This can help, especially if you had a caesarean birth, as you don’t want the waistband of your underwear putting pressure on your wound. High-waisted underwear can also help support your belly and keep maternity pads in place.

Listen to the Mamamia Hello, Bump podcast. The message continues after the audio.

Adult diapers and/or maternity pads (more than you think you need).

There are so many great options when it comes to period underwear, but it’s best not to go black for postpartum. It is very important to monitor your blood loss (as well as its color and consistency) in the days and weeks after birth and if you wear black underwear it will be more difficult to monitor it. Remember that you will bleed for up to six weeks after birth, so a supply of adult diapers and maternity pads are definitely recommended.

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