There is really nothing you need more after labour than a bit of comfort (well, besides a bottle of gin). So I’ve made a list of things that I think are absolute essentials for your hospital bag.

Toiletries:

  • Hydrogel Breast Discs (Rite Aid). Keep these in the fridge to soothe your breasts after breastfeeding.
  • Lansinoh cream. Brilliant! You don’t have to wash it off before breastfeeding either. Get a BIG tube of this to help with sore nipples, but beware not to let it get on any good clothes.
  • Maternity Pads (Stayfree have super long ones that are really good, and the Libra everyday ones are good for later on)
  • Lip balm
  • Flushable wipes (trust me on this one)
  • Soft tissues (for that Day 3 hormone melt down that no one tells you about)

Clothing:

  • Lots of pairs of cheap GIANT undies in dark colours
  • Giselle maxi dress from Goosebumps. Oh my god, this was amazing. It made me feel normal and it was great to wear this when learning how to breastfeed in the hospital as I didn’t feel as exposed, and it was really easy to unhook and re-hook the straps- perfect for a rookie! It also made me feel much more normal (even a bit glam!) after hurtling through that whole labour drama. It was nice to feel a bit more presentable for visitors too. My husband even said how pretty I looked in it (which is no mean feat considering what he’d just witnessed in the labour ward)
  • A couple of pairs of socks
  • Trackies
  • Old nightgown
  • Cardigan or button up shirt to make breastfeeding skin-to-skin easier
  • A couple of loose-fitting t-shirts or singlets. I took another Goosebumps product with me; the Paige maternity top. This was awesome as it enabled me to breastfeed, without exposing too much, when there were visitors in the room.
  • Sneakers, thongs, slippers.
  • Maternity bras- make sure you have these fitted so that they are suitable for when your milk comes in
  • Comfortable clothes for the drive home (head to Cotton On for some bargain basics. Any clothes that fit you around the 6-month mark of you pregnancy will be about right.

Other:

  • ‘The Contented Little Baby Book’ by Gina Ford to help you work out what your baby’s doing and some reasons why. It can also help you get your head around some ideas for routines when you get home.
  • ‘The Sensible Sleep Solution’ by Sarah Blunden and Angie Willcocks. Another helpful book to guide you through what to expect with your little one and how to prepare yourself for when you get home.
  • Prune Juice (again, trust me on this one)
  • The ‘Baby Feed’ app to record when you feed, which side you feed from and also your baby’s diaper action (wet, dry, both!). This app is really good and can help you get an idea of your baby’s feeding needs
  • Phone charger, ipod
  • Snacks- lots of them! And make sure you order everything on the menu once you have had the baby. You will be hungry and need to keep up your energy for breastfeeding.
  • And, of course, something to throw at your husband when you realise he is getting out of the whole thing fairly easily. I recommend the Hydrogel Breast Discs as they can be flung very effectively, mimicking a frisbee. Also, they make a strangely satisfying “sluurrrp” sound when they hit, but, importantly, they don’t cause injury. This is important, because probably within 45 seconds of throwing the cool pack you will realise you can’t get through the next minute without your husband and he will be able to help you without requiring medical assistance before doing so.

From your experience, what other things would you suggest?