- A few changes of your maternity clothes and/or baggy clothes. Just because your water broke or your contractions have started, there is no telling how long it will take before baby arrives. The hospital may provide you with scrubs to wear until you go into labour, but after giving birth, it will be nice to wear your own clothes and not feel “hospitalised.” Post-birth hormones will make you sweat profusely at times so it’s nice to be able to change into something clean and dry. Contrary to the dream pictures you may have seen on Instagram, your belly will most likely NOT contract to your pre-pregnancy shape for weeks or even months to come. If you only bring your skinny jeans for your return trip home, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment…
- 2-3 adjustable nursing bras. You may already have been using them throughout your pregnancy, but be prepared to adjust the size slightly (or a lot) after your milk starts coming in.
- Nursing pads. There will be leakage! Good nursing pads can spare you a wardrobe change or two. Wool pads are reusable and sustainable, and they can help soothe inflammation, but they may not be completely leak proof. Disposable pads should be changed regularly to keep your skin dry and prevent cracking or rashes.
- Incontinence pads. So glamourous, we know. You can also ask your hospital if they provide them for you, but this way you get to choose your own. It will take a while for your pelvic muscles to find their way back to normal after giving birth, and no matter how diligently you have performed your Kegel exercises, you will lose control of your bladder on and off.
- A list of people you want to call/text. Prepare the list before your due date to make sure you include all your loved ones, call the dog-sitter, etc.
- Breast pump – ask your nurse to teach you how to use it correctly to cut down pumping time and avoid skin cracking and breast pain.
- Lip balm. Your mouth and lips can get dry during labour and tend to crack. Stay hydrated and moisturised!
- Toiletries. Your toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner, hair brush, and your favourite essentials.
- Ear plugs and eye mask. Take advantage of the help you’re getting while you’re still in the hospital after giving birth, and nap uninterrupted whenever you can!
- Diapers. Ask your hospital if they provide diapers during your stay, and have enough at least for your trip home.
- A couple of sets of clothes for baby. A couple of season-appropriate sets should be enough.
- Crib or car seat if you’re driving baby home.
- Stroller or pram if you’re on public transportation
- Baby blanket – Whether you have bought one, made your own, or received one as a gift, it’s a nice and personal way to swaddle your new-born.
- Baby’s first plush toy. If you have picked it out already.