I’ve been chucking things in my trusty travel rucksack for the past few weeks, as unlike my twin pregnancy (when I was packed and ready to go weeks before) I’ve been much more chilled out this time. I think it’s because I didn’t go into labour with the boys and had them at 38 +5 via a C-section, so this time I’m expecting a singleton to hang in there until my planned C-section at 39 weeks as she still has loads of room left.
Packing my bag this time around has been much easier, partly because I’ve already been through it once and spent ten days in hospital so have a good idea of all the things I might need – even for an extended stay. Reading the research for my book about multiples has also been a huge help, as I asked lots of families of twins or more what items they found essential for their hospital bag.
If you’re staring at an empty suitcase wondering what you’re going to need, then here is my list. If you’re expecting twins or more then you’ll just need to pack more of everything as you’re likely to have to spend a bit longer in hospital.
My hospital bag
Medical notes this is the most important thing, so make sure you don’t forget these!!
Nighties/pyjamas x 2
Underwear including socks and either disposable pants or large comfortable pants. I bought disposable pants when pregnant with my twins only to find that I was still too big after the boys were born to fit into them! Cotton M&S knickers a couple of sizes bigger than my usual size did the trick.
Nursing bras x 2 if you intend to breastfeed.
Slippers that you can put on without having to bend.
Lightweight dressing gown
Stretchy jogging bottoms and a top in case you want to wear clothes in hospital, and for travelling home in (your pre maternity clothes probably won’t fit you).
Pen and notebook for jotting down thoughts, questions for your consultant, feed times, to do lists for your other half etc.
Paracetamol after my last C-section I was unable to have most pain killers as I was allergic to them and the hospital staff kept forgetting to bring me paracetamol. This time I’ll be taking my own, just in case.
Toiletries hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, razor, any make up you can’t live without, moisturiser, toothpaste, toothbrush, lipbalm. I’ve decanted most of my things into those little travel bottles like you take on holiday to save space.
Nipple cream if you intend to breastfeed.
Big pack or two of maternity pads you will bleed heavily after the birth.
Change for drinks machines, snacks in the hospital coffee shop, parking etc.
A debit card I left my wallet at home apart from one card which I used to buy the hospital television service. Although this is only useful before your baby/babies arrive – once they are here you’ll have no need for the television as if you get any downtime all you’ll be doing is watching your beautiful baby sleep and thinking how you’re the luckiest person alive.
Any of your own medication asthma inhalers etc. When I was in hospital with my twin pregnancy I had obstetric cholestasis which made my tummy unbearably itchy. I ran out of the steroid cream my consultant had prescribed and the hospital pharmacy had none in stock so I had to endure a week of agonising itching. In hindsight, I should have ordered a repeat prescription from my own GP and got Husband to collect it for me. If you have any regular meds then it’s a good idea to order extras before you go into hospital so you don’t run out.
Ear plugs and a facemask hospitals are incredibly bright and noisy places at all hours of the day.
Snacks When I’m pregnant I need to eat regularly and with my twin pregnancy I would be sick if I went more than half an hour without eating something. Last time I took stacks of snacks from crisps to cereal bars and fruit. I also got Husband to bring sandwiches in for me daily along with the occasional take away to keep me going. Dried fruit, energy drinks etc. are all good too. This time my food choice is less interesting as I’ve got gestational diabetes but I’m still taking plenty of food with me.
Feeding pillow if you’re expecting multiples then a good twin feeding pillow will be a huge help in hospital (I used the EZ to Nurse twin pillow and it was great). If you’re expecting a singleton you can always use hospital pillows for support if you don’t want to carry a special feeding pillow in with you.
Laptop if you’re anything like me you can’t stand being away from your laptop. I’m trying to resist taking mine with me for security reasons as it’s not insured away from home. But it depends how long I end up in hospital as to whether I crack and ask Husband to bring it in.
Books or magazines Last time I was in for a long stay before the babies arrived and didn’t get chance to pick up a book once as I either had visitors, phonecalls, medical consultations or I was busy getting to know the other mums to be on my ward. This time I won’t bother taking any, as so far it looks like I’ll only be going in on the day of my C-Section and once the baby arrives there will be no time for reading.
Something comfortable to wear for the birth like a large t-shirt, if planning a natural birth.
Waterspray and/or small fan I’ve heard during natural labour a water spray or fan can be essential as labour wards tend to be warm. I remember how hot the maternity wards were so even though I’m not having a natural delivery I think I might buy a can of Magicool to keep myself cool. I wanted to take in a desk fan during my last pregnancy, but the hospital had strict rules on PACT testing and would only allow small, battery operated hand-held fans.
Cameras with chargers give this task to your other half – to make sure that your cameras and video cameras are fully charged with empty memory cards ready for the birth. Remember to keep the charge topped up as they can wear down even if they aren’t being used.
For the baby/babies
Vests and sleepsuits it’s a good idea to take a couple of different sizes of baby clothes in with you as you’ll have no idea how big your baby is going to be. Go for tiny baby and newborn rather than 0-3 which will generally be too big (unless you’ve been told your baby is looking large!) Even at 5lb13 and 6lb13 my boys were swamped with the newborn clothes I took in so I was pleased to have some tiny baby items with me.
Muslins useful for mopping up dribbles, sick and for laying your babies on in their cot so you don’t need to keep asking for clean sheets from the staff who are usually very busy.
Newborn nappies, sensitive wipes and cotton wool I’m lucky enough to have been sent a lovely newborn kit from Huggies which does the job perfectly.
Nappy cream this isn’t essential immediately but I’m putting some in my bag anyway as I like to feel prepared!
Travel changing mat the one in your changing bag will do
Blanket for when you leave
Very small scratch mits or even better a sleepsuit with built in mits
A tiny hat don’t underestimate just how tiny your baby is likely to be! If in doubt, take in two sizes.
Gifts if you already have toddlers then it’s a good idea to get a gift for the baby from your children, and get a gift for your toddler(s) from your baby. Whether you take all of these in with you depends on if your toddler(s) are coming to visit you in hospital after the birth or whether you’re going to wait until you get home to introduce them. My boys are going to adore the Hot Wheels track and cars their little sister has got for them – I can’t wait to see their faces!
Well, that’s it for my list. Do you have anything else to add? Have I forgotten anything? Good luck packing your bag and remember not to panic – if you forget most things you can either buy it from the hospital shop or get someone to bring it into you later on. xx
UPDATE: If you’re expecting twins or triplets, you need to get your hands on my new book: Don’t Panic! A Practical Guide to Twins, Triplets and More. It’s a book written for parents of multiples, by parents of multiples. Visit my book launch page for full details and purchase links for your country.