My Hospital Bag – what I learnt from my first pregnancy

All you need to know for your hospital bag this pregnancy – what I learnt from my first time around.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was super organised and I had every pregnancy app downloaded to my phone. I “googled” my heart out when it came to what I needed to pack for my hospital bag, and many where very similar in what I needed.

But then, many of them where generic and suitable for everyone and even though I thought I was prepared for the hospital stay, there were some things I wish someone had told me.

This time around I feel like I am armed with experience, armed with knowledge and armed with a community of amazing moms who have given the most amazing suggestions from their own experiences.

This might all sound rather ridiculous, I mean it is only 1-3 nights in the hospital? Why would you need so much stuff and planning?


Having your first baby can be very daunting, and overwhelming, the unknown is all too real, and this is no different for your 2nd, 3rd and so on. Each birth and baby is different, your needs at the time are different to.

With the following to consider:

  • Will my baby latch to the breast?
  • How will my breasts cope? Sore?  Inverted Nipples? Leak? Milk come in or not?
  • Planned a natural birth, but end up having a caesarean and now staying in the hospital longer?
  • Baby might have jaundice or need to stay in for observation?
  • Second baby? Have you considered the sibling? What will you do with them while you are in hospital?
  • You might not like the brands the hospital wants to use, and prefer organic?

The list can go on.

And you know what MOM, that is fine, it is what mothers do best, we over think, we plan, we prepare (well most of us). We want to be the “perfect mom” and not skip a beat. That’s okay and a normal part of whats happens during your final weeks of pregnancy. And you know what… if you do forget something, I am sure your husband, partner, friend or family could go to the shops and get what you need.

SO… collectively let’s not PANIC…

Let’s follow that Boy’s Scouts motto and “Always be prepared”

Personally I don’t think you need to worry about less is more etc? If you have enough room in your car, and space in your bag, pack those just in case items, if it settles your mind, then so what. Don’t let the comments like “you are not packing for a week” scare you off. It will drive you totally “NUTS” if you end up being in hospital and wishing you had packed that extra pair of PJs because now you have an unexpected stain, and you want to wear something clean.

This is how I am preparing for my hospital stay with baby No2, the below is based on my own experience and how I wish to pack my bags. You might want to do something different and that is okay.


The items in my bag, might change or swap as I reach closer to my due date, but I will much prefer to have bags packed and ready now. I have a toddler to worry about, and I am usually the last on my priority list. So I don’t want to be sitting the night before fretting about what to take, sorting out toddler, checking forms etc? Worry about supper and the house on my return.

The Bag/s:

I was sent a beautiful leather diaper backpack from Jan Pierewiet, which has become one of my favourite accessories. It is large enough to pack a number of items for baby for the hospital stay, and is very practical. If you have stayed in hospital before, or visited family and friends, you should have noticed the size of the closet space that is allocated per person.  They are normally tall in shape and narrow, that means you have to pile your bags up one on top of each other. So think about maybe 2/3 smaller bags, instead of one big suitcase you might have to try cram into your allocated space or leave on the floor.

When considering purchasing a “baby bag”, “diaper bag” think of your needs and practicality. For me a backpack works well for a mom on the go, with a toddler and baby (watch out for my full review on the Jan Pierewiet bag)

What I learned from last time:

Slippers – Mr Price | NUK breast pads and nipple shield | Lansinoh nipple cream | Ben Rabbit Lip Balm |Vivex Probiotic Chocolate Bars | Living and Loving Magazine

Some things might be obvious and some well… not so much. These are some items I did not pack, or I did not have the right type…

Lip Balm – TUB not Tube… this is so vitally important!! Cannot stress enough. The hospital rooms can be dry due to the aircon, and you want to have perfectly soft lips, because you won’t be able to stop kissing your little baba. Why a tub… well my first time, I had a tube, and it kept on rolling off the damn hospital table tray thingy and on the floor. I could not easily retrieve it (c-section and all), and had to wait for a kind soul to return to help me get it. ANNOYING!!!! – and something that stuck with me since then (2.5 years) – so it made an impact. This time I am packing my Ben Rabbit Lip Balm – it’s made of natural ingredients so I can kiss baby lots without worrying.

Small mirror – if you have a c-section you can’t walk around easy just yet on the first day. You might want to check your face or hair? Especially when lots of photos will be taken of you and baby.

Dry Shampoo – this is if you can’t wash your hair or don’t want to do it in hospital. Keep looking fresh, for all those happy family snaps.

Vanity Bags – Checkers | Dry Shampoo |Dove Body Wash

Headphones – there might be times you will want to drown out the sound of other people’s babies crying in the ward… just saying… You can also listen to voice notes privately on your phone from loved ones, or calming music to relax or a funny video if need be. I never watched TV the first time, in hospital, but hey never, say never.

Snacks – I like to snack, and especially when I am sitting in one place for long… I know that is not always great, but there is a lot of energy that you need to consume to start recovering and generating all that lovely milk for baba. This time I am packing some healthy snacks to get me through the meals. This includes my fav at the moment Vivex Crunch Probiotic Snack bar… addictive I tell you, and I might give hubby one or two, while he is visiting too.

Something to read – To help the nerves or to give your partner some time with the baby, back a magazine or two to read or bag through as a distraction.

Breastfeeding? You need these….

Breast pads – your milk could come in early while in hospital, and you won’t want to be caught unawares. My brand of choice has always been NUK.

Breastfeeding bras – last time I bought bra’s from a well-known brand, seen in all the shops and baby sections. I was not a fan, they were uncomfortable and totally not pretty, I felt frumpy and like I should just have a mom bun and baggy pants. This time around I treated myself to bra’s from Sophie and Jane, I have been living in them… since I started expanding.

Nipple Cream – if you are going to splurge on something, splurge on a good nipple cream, you won’t regret it. You want it to be very pasty, so it does not absorb quickly and protects your nipples from the coming onslaught. I had never heard of Lansinoh before, when I was in hospital with Skylar a breastfeeding consultant came in and helped me, and suggested the brand, it was a life saver, and I have bought it again this time around.

What I won’t pack this time

Disposable panties – I will rather buy some cheaper underwear and use those instead, and discard if I need to. I did not need to do that last time, and not saying this pregnancy will be the same anyway?

NO gigantic maternity pads – the hospital provides if I need, and I would rather use regular sanitary pads, they absorb the red stuff just as well, and keep lock it in, really… you also don’t waddle like a duck. But each to their own. (the hospital might insist on the first day you wear, and then so on you can choose).

Winter PJs – the maternity ward is sooo hot, well the last time I was there it was boiling. The nurses have it at a different tempreture to the rest of the building to keep the babies warm. I battled to stay cool, this time I am packing light wear and one ligh jersey just in case.

The Extras

Instax Camera and Film | Phone Tripod – Cotton On (Typo)

Don’t be afraid to ask for extra pillows from the nursing staff, if it makes you feel comfortable on your bed.

If you LOVE to take photos… then remember to pack some items to help you remember the moments.

This time I will be packing my little tripod for my phone, photo props – including the Fable and Lifestyle letter board , I have become addicted to my letterboard, and I think its a fun way to use for a baby announcement or anything fun you might want to do with baby in hospital, plus some cute outfits.

Bunny bonnet – Cotton on Kids | Rust Bonnet – Little Kindred | Swaddle – Sugardot SA

Download the Choose a Row Hospital Bag Tick List


If you are going to a private hospital, most will supply you with a number of items for baby, when you book your bed, they should give you a list. Ask if they don’t tell you. YOu may also request what brands they are including in the list of items. Where I am having baby, they will supply a few items, except diapers. I have to take those.

BUT… you might not be happy with the brand they will provide. If you are selective and have grown to like certain types of products (especially if this is your second and you have tried and tested). Pack your own, you are not obliged to use what they give you.

I will be taking my BabyDove baby wash, for a very mild wash, as I don’t want to fully wash baby, just face and the delicate boy bits. I swear by BabyDove now, I have used it for just under a year with Skylar, and she has no more dry skin problems.

BabyDove – Sensitive Skin, Body wash and lotion | Lily n Jack – Snuggle bunny and blanket

When I was in hospital the first time, the nurses advised using cotton wool and warm water to clean your baby when they need a change of diaper. You can also choose to use or not use bum cream with your newborn for the first couple of days, their skin is very sensitve and can react easily to creams being placed on them. Did you know that the Pampers newborn diapers have a built in “bum cream” so you should be fine for the first few days.

NUK – Soother | Onsie and socks – Cotton on (Thanks Monique) | Knitted hat – handmade

A soother of YOUR choice, I chose NUK for my first child, but she was not so much into the whole soother thing, but her brother might be totally different, so just in case I am packing a Nuk – 0/6 soother for him. I don’t want to use a cheap, no name brand, that could be supplied by the hospital, for many reasons.

If you want to know more about why I choose NUK, you can watch a video about it here:

A soft toy from mom and dad and sister (sibling/s if you they have) – we chose the Lily ‘n Jack Snuggle Bunny.

Knitted botties – Suzi B Crochet | Hello name card – Mayalief |Beanie – Schnooky Pie | Swaddle – Ben Rabbit | Baby clothes – Cotton On Baby

There are many more practical things you will need – see more in the downloadable tick list I have created for you.

Download the Choose a Row Hospital Bag Tick List


A great idea I have seen many parents include is a gift from baby to the sibling/s, a kind gesture to help introduce each other, and show some fuss to them too.

You could also look at getting a gift from the sibling to baby, that they bring along to the first hospital visit. I think its so important to make them feel part of this too.

You will need to pack a bag for your child/children, if they are staying over elsewhere while you and hubby are in hospital. Pack a first meeting outfit for your older child, if dad or grandparents are bringing them through, ask them to dress your little in that special outfit for the hospital. (Even if you need to put it in a bag and put a big label on it). And remind them of the gift they need to bring too…


So if you have read to the end of this blog, you will be one of the first people to enter this amazing GIVEAWAY, before it is shared to social media! Worth over R5000!!!…. yes you read it right!

How to enter: Follow all the below brands on Instagram – follow the links.

Plus you must be following Choose a Row.

Tag as many friends you want to spread the love with on the Instagram post

To complete your entry, fill in your details on the below link.


By submitting your email address, you are confirming your extra entry to the giveaway, plus giving concent to recieve some awesome information from the brands participating. We promise we won’t spam you! Just send you really cool and information stuff.

WHO TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM & what you could win…

NUK South Africa – Silicone Baby Soother, nipple sheild, breast pads and soother chain

Jan Piereweit – Dark brow leather diaper back pack

Schnooky Pie – hamper of goodies

Ben Rabbit – Swaddle and lip balm

Fable Life & Baby – Letterboard

Vivex – box of x 12 Probiotic chocolate bards

Lily n Jack – Snuggle Bunny and Blanket

Little Kindred – Baby Bonnet

Terms and conditions

  • In no way associated with Instagram or Facebook
  • Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash
  • Each brand with send their prize to the winner and is responsible for the quality of the item/items
  • This competition is only open to South African residents.
  • The winner will be chosen via a draw and verified that they have followed the rules
  • Competition ends 28 Feb 2018 – unless baby comes early and then this might be delayed.

17 thoughts on “My Hospital Bag – what I learnt from my first pregnancy

  1. Babe ! You are so organized ! Well done!
    Because I had Mali 5 yrs ago / I’ve kinda forgotten about prepping for the hospital bag … Ha!!! Feel so unorganized / def using your lists – thanks for sharing 💖

    And so entering this AH/MAZING giveaway !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Somethings stuck with me like glue! So happy you enjoyed it and will use the list. It should help and especially with buying things for the bag/s and slowly filling it up


  2. So excited for this giveaway! Praying so hard to win it!! Thank u so much for taking d time to share ur hospital bag contents, u’ve made life so easy for every other mom to be that needs to pack their bag!! I’ve already downloaded ur checklist, it’s really going to be handy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I packed everything I could think of but then didn’t need anything aside from going home Clothes for K and I and Phone charger, Phone and make up, because the hospital she was born in provided every single thing! But of course I would still pack the kitchen sink 🙂 and thankfully only stayed 2 nights despite it being a CS. I would have liked an extra day though just to be pampered but it was good to get home and start getting into the routine of our new normal

    Ps: of course I am entering the competition 😉 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an awesome post! Due in 4 weeks.. have packed our bags.. and repacked a few times. Thank you for the pointers!
    Oh and great competition… definitely entering x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s so easy to get carried away with your first born. Easy to forget that you’re going to a hospital, not a desert island,

    We almost got a little too complacent with out second, kids saw ourselves as pro’s and the due date was fast approaching and we’d packed zero! It’s still a pretty major event, even if it’s your second, and there is nothing like that feeling of being prepared, even if you don’t need half of the stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for this list! Baby 3 on her way early May.. need to start packing! Hoping I win to get a head start and some new things instead of just hand me downs!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you so much for this amazing post! I’m expecting my first and will most definitely be using your list, already printed it out…expecting due date is 11 April. Exciting times!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you so much for sharing! We’re a bit more than a month away from having our second – and I totally get what you mean by feeling way more prepared and organized. Just packed my hospital bag today, but after reading your post I will definitely add the baby toy and some healthy snacks (totally forgot how I was starving at the hospital) thanks for reminding me!

    Liked by 1 person

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