Let’s get this out of the way immediately. I was NOT a lazy mama when it came to packing for my hospital stay on D-day. For over two weeks, my husband would make clucking noises while walking past the three bags and one suitcase at the foot of our bed. “Are we staying in the hospital for a month?” he teased me. I spent the last weeks of my pregnancy feverishly researching on what to bring for my hospital stay, and as a first-time mom, didn’t want to leave any stone unturned. Essential oil diffuser with different blend combinations of essential oils for labor, post-labor, and breastfeeding? Check, check and check. As it turned out, of course, we had way more than we needed — and then some. You do NOT want to spend the last few hours in the hospital just before discharge putting things back in suitcases and making sure nothing is left behind.
So here is my ultimate hospital bag packing checklist, a product of personal experience. This is ALL you will need, promise. No need to go crazy.
- A plastic envelope containing money and important documents. This includes your identification documents, Philhealth documents, HMO card (if applicable), and the documents/clearances from your OB-gynecologist and other doctors. Take time to show your partner or companion what the plastic envelope looks like and which part of the suitcase you will put it in, so he or she knows where to retrieve it from. Make sure it is in a secure place.
- Comfortable presentable clothes to slip into after childbirth and when the visitors start to come. If you plan to breastfeed, easy-access open front blouses are best. No need to buy new clothes. Honestly, it might just get ruined. Also, bring underwear. The big grannie-type panties that go until just below your breasts are what you will be needing.
- Toiletries — shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, facial wash, vaginal wash. Very important whether you deliver by C-section or vaginal: maternity or heavy-duty sanitary napkins. I strongly recommend Charmee menstrual pants. They are the only menstrual pants that I’ve seen in the local market. You wear them like diaper pants and it sops up the blood. Trust me, you will bleed.
- Chargers and powerbanks – I don’t want to state the obvious, but these are the stuff very easy to forget. Powerbanks are particularly important, so you can have access to your phone even from the bed.
- Baby clothes – bring three sets of baby clothes per day that you expect to be at the hospital. Many moms prefer side-tie or kimono style shirts but if you prefer onesies, that’s fine too. Mittens, socks and bonnets are also necessary. While it is tempting to go full-on OOTD, white is still the best color to go with. It makes it easier to spot insects or random things that can get close to baby.
- Baby towels, swaddles, wipecloths and blankets – Bring around 3 towels, 3 swaddles, a dozen wipecloths (bird’s eye lampin) and a few cozy blankets. Don’t pick a furry-type of blanket, as it might cause allergies. Make sure the clothes and items are properly washed.
- Baby wash – You are expected to give your baby a bath on the second or third day. I suggest just bringing small sachets of different brands so you get a sense of what you like first, or what baby is hiyang to. Sample packs should be available in baby fairs for free. Sachets can be bought in Watson’s or supermarkets.
- Breastfeeding and nursing supplies – there is a tendency to go crazy on breastfeeding supplies. These can come later, when you get home. All you will need at the moment is a breastfeeding cover (if you feel more comfortable breastfeeding with a cover in front of visiting relatives and friends). Some of my friends had use for a breastfeeding pillow (the one shaped like half a donut) but I found normal pillows sufficient. You can bring a nipple salve already, but I’ve found that the soreness sets in after the first week. At which point, you’re already (hopefully) home.
- Partner’s personal effects – Hopefully, your husband and partner can join you for the entire duration of your hospital stay. In which case, he will then need his own personal effects. Clothes, socks, underwear, toiletries and gadgets should be good. Funny side story: my husband was really excited to wear his shirt that says “Over My Dad Body” in front during delivery day. We bought it specially for the occasion. In the waiting area for daddies, three of them had the same shirt.
- Things that make you feel good! You are entitled to one or two (okay, or three or ten) things that make you feel good — whether that be chocolates, a bluetooth speaker to play your songlist, an essential oil diffuser. Maybe not a book, because to be honest, you won’t really be having much time for leisure reading for the next, uh, 10 years.