Having given birth three times now, I reminisce about the hospital bag I packed as an impending new mum and wonder what I was thinking. As they say, you don’t know what you don’t know so I made some major missteps and brought some completely wrong things with me that were neither useful or practical. But I learned my lesson for subsequent births! So, in the interests of saving you from making the same mistakes, here are a few things that are definitely worth keeping in mind when you’re packing your bag…

Getting way too optimistic about my post-birth clothes

I really thought I was going to be able to waltz out of the hospital wearing my regular wardrobe (or pretty close to). Ha! How wrong I was. The reality with all three of my births is that I still looked 7.5 months pregnant after giving birth and that wouldn’t change for quite some time. So, when I packed a cute going home dress that buttoned up at the waist after having my first baby and discovered it was going to require a truckload of Spanx and a miracle to even begin to have any hope of doing up one button, I quickly discovered anything loose and less delusion would be the best sartorial approach when I had my next baby.

Anything that doesn’t button down

With round-the-clock feeds on the horizon, I decided to do the practical thing and pack…nothing with buttons. I remember being in a slip dress on my first full day in the hospital, with a baby that was feeding every two hours for an hour at a time and thinking well, this outfit is kinda annoying. I then promptly asked my husband to bring me some button down tops and dresses from home.

Clothing in light hues

I blame this on baby brain, because there is no other reasonable excuse to explain why I packed white pyjamas for my hospital stay. So cute when you’re still bleeding profusely after giving birth! After this misstep, I left anything light coloured at home in future and instead opted for a tasteful yet ultra-practical array of navy, black, and khaki clothes for my other stints in hospital.

Too many baby outfits

When you’re sleep-deprived, sore all over, and everything feels like it’s leaking, you tend to want to make things as easy as possible. So, guess what happened to all the cute outfits I packed for my baby? They stayed in the bag. I had envisioned I’d be having a grand ol’ time dressing my newborn in all manner of adorable baby paraphernalia, but the last thing I felt like doing was dealing with complicated baby outfits (ie anything with buttons!), so it was all about zippered onesies, or very basic baby singlets. Plus, I soon discovered I packed way too much clothing.  You truly do not need much in the way of baby clothing (I found we’d get by with 1-2 onesies per day) so save that precious space for things you’ll actually need (like clothes that fit).

Forgetting hospitals are freezing

I first gave birth at the height of summer, during a heatwave no less so the last thing on my mind was packing warm clothing to take with me to the hospital. My room however did not get the memo that it was 38 degrees outside, because it was like the Artic in there. I would’ve given my right arm for a robe and a pair of chunky socks on my first night. Be sure to pack things you can easily layer, like a cardigan, a cute dressing gown and cosy socks and slippers to help keep you comfortably toasty.   

Not packing my own water bottle

If you’re breastfeeding, expect that it will leave you as parched as the Sahara so you need to drink copious amounts of water. I made do with the water bottles at the hospital, but I finally realised the error of my ways when I had my third baby and brought my own insulated bottle so I could have a steady supply of cold water on hand.

Non-high waisted underwear

Leave any notion of packing cute underwear at the door, because all you will need or want are enormous granny undies. Get them in super soft cotton, high waisted, 1-2 sizes up, in black. And bring a solid supply of maternity pads (not even regular maxi pads are up to the job).

With all that said, ultimately those few days after giving birth will be a whirlwind of undulating emotions, and the steepest learning curve you can imagine, interspersed with soaking up your new little bundle of joy, but it doesn’t help to be prepared, right?

Words by Tania Gomez

Want to know our golden rules for visiting a newborn for when your little one arrives? Check them out here.