The ultimate list: birth bag for hospital

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I’m going to warn you, this is called the ULTIMATE LIST for a reason. It is insane, like crazy person insane, but it will cover your bases from A-Z. Use this as a guide. Not your holy grail, but just a guide. Read it through, mull it over, decide what works for you and doesn’t.

Deep breath, let’s go: the birth bag for hospital!

Pack mama and daddy’s stuff, anything you will need for the labor room in a small roller bag – easier to transport out after with a car seat, baby, sore body, etc. The baby’s things can be in a separate diaper bag to be brought up later so you don’t have a bunch of stuff to worry about when you move rooms. Leave the car seat in the car until you need it.

What to pack in the birth bag for the mother

  • Hospital paperwork
  • Birth plan (if you have one)
    • Just remember that it’s mostly for your partner to know what your wishes are in case you can’t tell the staff and need him to advocate for you. Discuss with your doctor beforehand what you would like done during delivery (baby on chest, rooming in, delayed cord clamping, dad to cut cord, etc.) but remember to be open for the plans to change. My Ella Grace came out blue so dad didn’t cut the cord which was okay, we of course wanted her to be safe first
  •  Breastfeeding-friendly hospital gown for the next day (optional)
    • Don’t wear it on the day of birth but wear their hospital gown instead. You’ll probably have to change it at least once after from the mother of all periods after birth.
    • I used Dear Johnnies. It will help you feel pretty (good for pictures and if you have a lot of visitors and feel like you just pushed a watermelon out of a very tiny hole) and because it snaps in the back, keeps you covered up too. I could walk around and not feel like I was flashing my bum to everyone and the snaps on the shoulders made it easy to breastfeed in.
  •  Breastfeeding-friendly and loose outfit to go home in
    • You will still be raw down there and still realistically look about 5 months pregnant so I highly recommend a v-neck maxi dress or something that is easy to slip on and that you will feel really comfortable in.
  •  Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray (a must)
    • So… the first times you use the bathroom after a natural delivery, everything will be very very sore. Take a deep breath and then spray the crap out of your lady bits with this amazing spray. It will soothe your wound and stitches (if you have any). I used this for the first week and I’m not sure I would have survived without it. Highly highly highly recommend it. Available at Baby Loft Publika or Bebehaus BV.
  • Socks/jacket/jumper in case you get cold – hospitals are always freezing! I was on fire from the hormones the whole time so didn’t need it but post-partum chills are also common when your milk comes in – that’s a separate story.
  • Disposable underwear
    • This specific stretchy soft mesh hospital disposable underwear is amazing. It’s not like the kind you buy at the pharmacy and so far, I’ve only seen it sold at Gina’s Place. The hospital will provide 1-2 while there but I felt cleaner changing it out at each shower. I also used these the first week post-partum. They’re real granny panties and quite ugly but so very comfortable you won’t even care. 🙂

    • Padsicles – this is an American thing. The hospitals there give you these amazing ice pads to soothe your lady bits. They don’t practice it in hospitals here so I made some close to my due date. Like this:
      • Buy some maternity pads (giant sized and thick, trust me) and a bottle of witch hazel and aloe gel (I got mine from M Pharmacy BV. Make sure it’s alcohol-free.).
      • Unwrap maternity pads, spray/pour some witch hazel and aloe gel onto the pad, wrap them up individually in foil packets, put it in a zip lock bags and freeze.
      • Have someone bring one to you at the hospital in a cooler bag. The ice will help with the swelling and numb the area and the witch hazel/aloe will soothe and heal.
      • When you get home, you can use them for relief.
      • At the hospital, they will also teach you a sitz bath. Do this religiously to prevent infection, heal, and soothe!
    • Small swim ring or u-shaped travel pillow
      • If you have a natural delivery, chances are you will feel really sore after from tearing/cutting/stitching/stretching/hemorrhoids/poor poor lady bits so it hurts to sit. 🙁 I’m allergic to a bunch of pain killers and it took a while for them to figure out what I could take after pushing without any epidural – AHHHH! Having something to sit on really helped relieve the pressure and pain down there!
    • Bendy straws: helpful when I wanted a quick drink during labor and after in the ward. The bendy part is important!
    • Facial wipes: a little travel pack of facial wipes. Just be able to clean my face that night made me feel so much better about life.
    • Fruit/snacks/instant drink packet: depending on whether your doctor lets you eat while in labor (ours did) have some easy snacks available for you and hubby – trail mix, apples, blueberries, grapes, bananas, little pears, oranges, granola bars, cookies, etc. We snacked on these throughout our hospital stay and was so happy with our comfort food.
    • Waterless toothbrushes (Colgate Wisp)
      • I don’t know if they sell these here but I usually have one for long-haul flights. It’s like a disposable toothbrush that doesn’t require water or spitting out. This was the most genius thing I packed because our labour was overnight and I wasn’t allowed out of the bed so couldn’t go to the sink to brush my teeth. Having this made me feel so much better about life!
    • Change for a vending machine or cash for buying treats from the stores.
      • All in the world I wanted during labor and immediately after delivering was an ice cold Sprite. Why? I have no clue. Useful for the dad to get a flat white, a cookie from Subway, sanity, etc.
    • Entertainment
      • Whatever floats your boat. A pre-loaded iPad with your favorite series, a book, trashy magazines, etc. Don’t forget chargers with an extra long cord too so you can easily reach from bed. I had an epidural so the 23 hours in labour was pleasant: J and I napped and entertained ourselves and each other and it really helped the time to pass.
    • Breastfeeding cube (super important if you plan on breastfeeding): I have these mesh cube travel organizers that I used to have everything organized and easily accessible. Also made it easy for someone to grab it for me when I couldn’t get out of bed. I kept it on the table with my nursing cover. It included:
      • Breastfeeding wipes (specifically for wiping your boobs before and after feeding)
        hand sanitizer (alcohol-free is less drying)
      • A little cloth (to wipe baby’s mouth after you feed, the little ones sold as face cloths/bath rags are perfect)
      • Nipple salve (religiously apply after each feed)
      • Hair tie (I also added an eyeglass cloth and chapstick)
    • Nursing cover. Bebe Au Lait is a nice brand because you can see baby. Look for a breathable material or else it gets hot. Useful when you have visitors but need to nurse.
    • Nursing pillow. I use one called My Brest Friend and it is seriously my bff. The trick that my midwife showed me though was to flip it on the other side and feed from the flat side!
      • Bring this with you to the hospital. It will make it a lot more comfortable and the lactation consultants there can really help you get started right.
      • There’s a little pocket on the side, and at home I used it to put a little rag (to wipe baby’s mouth after feeding), nursing salve, and hair tie.
      • This might be tmi, but once your milk comes in, you can squeeze out a little bit of your milk before and after each feed to clean your nipples because it has lots of good antibacterial stuff in it. Let it air dry before putting your bra back in.
    • Nursing bra: My favorite brand is one called Noppies. Medela also makes one called Bravado that’s not bad, but a little warm. I didn’t really use this at the hospital, just went bra-less because it was just the milk had not yet come and felt too much to fiddle with when everything is so so brand new and crazy. I only put it on to go home.Once your milk comes in though, you’ll need a good one (because hello, double d’s!) and breast pads. You can choose disposable (Lansinoh is what I use) or reusable cotton (I liked Green Sprouts because they were somewhat more waterproof – you’ll know what I mean when your milk comes in and then I’ll write the next mother of all lists). You can pack a few if you plan on staying in the hospital for more than 3 days. (Your milk will generally come in from the 3rd – 5th day).
  • Toiletries: your usual overnight kit. I packed our toiletries into another mesh cube. After I could get up (you can’t get up from bed for 6 hours after epidural because you’re considered a fall risk), I took a hot shower and felt like a brand new person.
    • I also just threw in things like extra contact lenses, shea butter (for lips or cuticles or a lotion in a pinch), single-use wet wipes, nail clipper, tweezers, nail file, band-aids, q-tips, shower cap, hair tie, floss, etc.)
    • Bath and hand towel (optional) – you can bring a nice soft fluffy bath towel. It will feel so much better on your wound and feel like a luxury. Ditto on the hand towel.
    • Soft toilet paper (optional) – as recommended by my friend, for your post partum lady bits.
    • Good quality hotel slippers with rubber soles (optional). Our hospital made us sign a fall risk thing, meaning we had to have footwear with rubber soles. Intercontinental has excellent hotel slippers for this purpose 🙂 You can also just bring a pair of sandals but disposable slippers were helpful – it gets a bit groddy and you can just throw it away after.
  • Pillow (optional) – I did without this because I didn’t want to have to lug a bunch of stuff out after but if you have a favorite pillow, bring it. Use an old pillowcase so you don’t get it groddy. If not, just ask for more pillows/blankets if you need them.

For the partner

  • IC or passport: the hospital will need this to fill out birth certificate details
  • Credit card – someone’s got to pay the bill. Depending on the hospital, normally the mom will go straight up to the L&D floor and dad will come back down later to do the admission. There should also be some sort of pre-admission that you can do a few weeks before to speed up the process.
  • Clothes – shirt, pants, underwear, socks, jumper/jacket in case it gets chilly.
  • His toiletries, phone charger, camera etc.
    • If dad is rooming in with mom, request for a sleeper chair once they transfer you to the ward because they might have only a limited amount. It makes sleeping a bit more comfortable 🙂 Ask nicely for some pillows and blankets for dad!

For the baby

  • Going home onesie – opt for a simple onesie with snaps because it’s so much easier to put it on a tiny teeny floppy baby!
  • Bottom balm/wipes. The hospital will provide (and charge!) baby for everything that she/he will need there so you really don’t have to bring anything else unless you want to use something specific.
  • Mitts/socks. If you want, you can bring mittens and socks but it’s not actually recommended even though baby might scratch him/herself. It’s how they learn and explore.
  • Car seat: Take this out for a test run and learn to buckle in a teddy BEFORE baby comes so you’re not fiddling with it and a new baby in a hot parking lot. Strap baby in the room and make sure that the chest plate is at armpit level and the straps are snug (no room to pinch and wiggle).

Final words

Most importantly, trust your gut and trust your doctor. Make decisions together with your partner. Labour and delivery is not “easy” but for us it was nowhere near as terrifying as Hollywood makes it out to be. Were there parts where I wanted my mama? Heck yeah. But eyes on the prize, I knew the harder I laboured, the closer I was to meeting this tiny little baby we’d dreamed of meeting the last 9 months.

Limit your visitors to immediate family the first day. I got this advice from a good friend and it held true. The whole experience is kind of overwhelming (in a good way) and you are both exhausted and enamored, especially if you’re rooming in. It’s nice to reserve these precious first few hours just soaking in and embracing your new little family unit.

Trust your partner to stand by you. If he’s like mine, he will take charge of changing a diaper, be the swaddle master, making him feel included in the process. Great for bonding with the baby and great for your relationship!

You got this mama, I believe in you! xx

Also read our post about being pregnant and giving birth in KL! If you are still early in your pregnancy, have a look at this lovely service for expecting mums.


Racheal Kwacz is mama to the most curious, fiercely independent, joyful little two year old foodie whom she hones most of parenting techniques and workshops with.
For more info, follow their adventures on FB (Racheal Kwacz Workshops) and Instagram (@rachealkwacz)!

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