What to pack in the hospital bag for Child Birth?

Himshree Help, 
              What should I expect from the hospital ?
              When shall I start packing?
              What should I buy for the baby?
             What should my hospital bag have?

These questions pop-up on my mobile screen from a pregnant friend. I calm her down and tell to her wait till I put Arha to sleep and then I started typing my experience on Whats-app; later to realize there will be many first-time mothers who would be fretting over same questions. Hence today we are discussing what to pack in a hospital bag when you head out for the most difficult yet beautiful journey of parenting. 

There are many articles on the internet stating checklist for childbirth or packing list for labor and post delivery which are indeed very helpful but they will be very specific to certain country's hospital norms. I am going jot down what we faced during Arha's (our son) birth via C-section in the month of August when it is partly cloudy partly sunny at Mumbai, India.

I have mentioned few product names in the list which I used and which suited my baby and my pocket. You are free to choose any products you like and afford. I would suggest that please read this post as a guideline and discuss with your doctors and beloved ones before heading out to shop.

Packing the bag is not the biggest task it's the preparation to understand how you would like to handle your baby, analyse resources, then accordingly buy baby stuff, then decide on what to pack for hospital and what should be ready at home when you return with your little bundle of joy.

 It is going to be a long post hence grab a snack or drink but the summary is as follows:
  1. Check with Hospital 
  2. Pack Three Bags: Daddy Bag, Mummy Bag and Baby Bag
  3. Medical File
  4. Stem Cell Kit
  5. Call List
  6. Cash and Car
  • Check with the hospital with what amenities they will provide during your regular gynecologist visits. Be fearless and shameless and ask tiny tiniest doubts you have if it just going to be you and your partner handling the fort with a fragile newborn. 
    • If they will provide clothes for the baby and the mother: 
      • YES that means they will take care of the laundry and we can pack light
      • NO then we need to pack extra since there will be no one at home to do laundry or your hubby will go home and do the laundry after a day or two. 
    • If they will provide with food for the mother
      • Yes then mother gets is well taken care off, the partner can then hog on anything he likes. 
      • No then accordingly you need to plan for either a cook who can cook 'postpartum specific food' at your home and then your partner can go and get it or home-made food take outs, restaurants etc nearby the hospital for you and your partner. 
    • If they provide with the baby cosmetics like baby powder,oil,diapers,etc..
  • We need three separate bags for the sole reason that nothing gets mixed and when the mother is groaning in pain she doesn't have to direct the partner/ mother or mother-in-law where things are 
    • Daddy Bag
      • Let's start with dad's bag cause that will be lightest. Assuming he is the one who will be spending time with you in labor and rest of the time.
        1.  Shirt/T Shirt and Pair of Tracks/Shorts, something he will be comfortable running errands in along with set of undergarments and handkerchief. He is going to sweat, take it from me.
        2. Mobile/Camera and their respective chargers
        3. Toiletries : minimum of toothpaste,brush,deodorants.
        4. Wallet 
        5. Mosquito replant like odomos spray or similar.
    • Baby Bag
      1. Swaddling clothes
      2. New born rompers or onesies or vest
      3. Caps
      4. Mittens and booties very necessary cause babies have claws, sharp claws.
      5. Cloth diapers that's langot ( if you use disposable diaper from day one then you can skip 3,4,5)
      6. Cotton or mesh bandage (this is used to to keep in the cloth diaper when the baby is excreting meconium)
      7. Johnson nappy pads
      8. Wet Tissues: A big pack.
      9. Bibs
      10. Wash clothes
      11. Towels or muslin clothes
      12. Quick dry mat I.e.now a days you get a cloth like plastic to spread on bed
      13. Receiving blanket (small blanket to cover the baby)
      14. Baby powder and puff
      15. Kajal
      16. Baby soap
      17. A spoon and bowl (Silver Spoon and small Silver Bowl)

      Baby Bag items quantity will now depends on what hospital will give but Baby Bag should have be well equipped for minimum of 5 days or even extra plus you don't want to leave the crying baby and run behind the hospital staff. 

    • Mommy bag
      1. Disposable Underwear: You don't have to worry on washing those stained panties.I had purchased from mother care.
      2. Sanitary Napkins preferably Cotton pads in a larger size.
      3. Maternity Gowns buy in Dark colors and something like light cotton with no lining that will be easy for you to breath in but mostly hospital should give you the gown so use those
      4. Towel which you would be willing to throw off later.
      5. Face Napkins
      6. Feeding bra: Doctors suggest feeding bras but I had a difficult time handling those clips hence I suggest to opt for a good fitted sports bra which are easier to tackle when you have an IV connected to your hand and trying to breastfeed,
      7. Nursing Bib or a good long stole to cover yourself while you breastfeed.
      8. Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, shampoo, soap, face-wash ( a must)....cause if its a normal delivery then you will get a chance to bathe but in cesarean you won't hence at-least you can wash your face to feel fresh and a lip balm.
      9. Wet tissues: makeup removal wet tissue will work wonders for the tired face especially when it is the visiting hours.
      10. Prenatal Tablets or any tablets which you were advised to take till the you entered the labor room must be kept in this bag.
      11. Thermos and Water Bottle 
  • Medical File with all your medical reports along with insurance documents if any.
  • Stem Cell Kit will be provided to you the moment you enroll in with the company of your choice. There will be an ice-pack which you need to keep in the freezer and take it along with you the moment you head out to the hospital.
  • Call List is something I had created for my family to get things rolling in my absence. My call list apart from my husband and dad included to tell my neighbor so that she can coordinate with the maid who will then come at a fix time so that the laundry of the baby can be sent home, the cook and the stem cell collection team along with their numbers. 
  • Cash and Car must be ready at all times when you entire 32-34 week. Cash is not the one you will pay the hospital bill with but the change you would require to pay for the medicines, nurses, ward boys, coffee/tea stall, etc. Keep cash with the mother and the partner cause some hospitals pay for the medicines on the fly and then it becomes difficult if you don have enough cash on hand. I would say keep 4,000 INR with the mother all time and the father should have same or more or at-least make sure you know the locations to ATM nearby. Car/bike whichever mode of transport your partner choose to do the errands on must be serviced and well fueled. 
This is what I had required and had carried with me. If you are pregnant right now and reading this post then I would say enjoy this Planning and Packing phase. Plan well try to foresee what obstacles you would encounter once the baby comes in and then move things around the house.  If you calmly enjoy this nesting phase you would be in control later on when the baby comes. 

Psssst....hey would-be-parents.... there are going to be tons of 'free advises' coming from everywhere so do not react if something bothers you just hear it out, nod in affirmation, check if it suits your lifestyle and ideologies and then incorporate else just let the information flow out.

WOW! This is a really big post but there is still so much to share may be I will do another post but if my ready-to-pop girlfriends have any questions please find me on my Facebook Page  I will be happy to answer. 

I do not have blog specific pictures for this post but I have random pictures which I had clicked back then which should give you an idea if the things needed. Click on the arrow to view the slide show.

First Hug

PS: I was reading this post to hubby and he had a suggestion to the dad's keep a SMS, Whatsapp, Email, etc, message ready with the hospital address, visiting hours, map highlighting the landmarks, GPS location, so that the other patients in the hospital are not disturbed with you tele-conversations where you are directing your visitors which left to take from which signal. :)