Updated: Mar 8
I have always liked organisation and order, and I knew labour and delivery, let alone actually having a baby, was going to really test that. So packing my hospital bag almost became like one final hurrah for me, along with all the outfits and maternity pads, I could pack away my need for control.
From talking to friends, I have realised that my little organisation ideas could help others when it comes to getting their bags ready (or give you a laugh at how OTT I went, either or, I hope you gain something from it!), so I am going to share them here- enjoy!
TIP 1: Be minimalistic but thorough
You will need to use the space wisely, so really think of each item’s worth. Remember, this isn’t a holiday, most people will only be in hospital one or two nights. If you do require a longer stay, people can always bring you extras. You won’t need flip-flops and hiking boots, casual heels and dinner heels. And while slipper booties are seriously comfortable, they’re seriously big, too. Here are my 5 space-saving tips;
1- A nightdress is one item, pyjamas are two, and when you’re having a baby it is always worth considering access. Save the space and ditch the pyjamas.
2- Backless slippers can be really comfortable, and they can also sit inside each other, taking up the space of just one shoe.
3- Polar fleece dressing gowns are so comfortable, but they’re also SO big! if you insist- then stick this one in a vacuum bag- but remember you will need to take it home again afterwards without a vacuum pack! Try a cotton or jersey dressing gown.
4- Bag up groups of individual items that belong together (like make up and toiletries), in smaller bags- playing Tetris with bags is much easier than loose items varying in size.
5- Don’t share your space! Baby will need lots of things, too- so give them their own bag, freeing up half of yours.
TIP 2: Roll it
Folding clothes is ideal, but you won’t be able to unpack into a wardrobe- so searching through a stack of clothes for a certain t-shirt is both awkward and makes a mess. Leggings are perfect hospital stay wear, no crease and roll up so small- grab yourself two or three pairs, start from the ankle and roll- then put them into your bag vertically- completely grabbable and without fuss. You can do this with your nightclothes, too. Separate them by colour so you know what you’re looking at, easy peasy!
TIP 3: Makeup and toiletries
I took makeup, I don’t judge anyone who doesn’t that is your choice entirely, and huge respect to the mums who glowed enough to not need anything, but for the sake of my post, I am presuming you will. Think really carefully about what you need. Foundation, mascara, lip balm and an eyebrow kit? Yep. Contouring kit, bronzer, primer, a lip colouring kit and 3 pairs of fake lashes? No. Over the last few months of my pregnancy, I grabbed a spare of each of the items I wanted to take, popped them in a small makeup bag and kept them in the end pocket of my hospital bag- so I knew they were there and ready for those after-baby photos.
Toiletries are big- shampoo and conditioner can take up the space of an entire outfit. I chose the mini travel versions from my local supermarket, et voila, hardly any space used up on these completely essential items! Don’t forget you’ll need; toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, a little sponge or body puff and body wash.
TIP 4: Baby’s bag
Baby’s outfits were my favourite things to pack, I loved getting them ready, but I couldn’t believe how tiny clothes could take up so much room! So instead of a stack of sleepsuits, vests and nappies, I got inventive. A pack of plastic wallets- you know the see-through punched document holders? I folded a sleepsuit, vest, cardigan and a hat. I then added a nappy, and folded the wallet around the outfit. A small piece of tape to keep it closed and that’s it! an inch thick, perfectly organised outfit (I used Water Wipes, but if you’re opting for cotton wool, then you may as well put a few balls in each pack, too!). Which ended up being invaluable when I realised my husband didn’t know the difference between a sleepsuit and a vest- instead of worrying, I could simply ask for a ‘baby pack’ and everything I needed was to hand.
I did add some extra nappies into my bag, as they needed changing more often than her outfit did! I took five outfit packs in total, with a spare 6th sleepsuit, just in case, rolled into her bag.
TIP 5: Know when you need it
Don’t try and save space on everything. You will NEED a towel, and you’ll probably want a decent sized one. You will NEED maternity pads- and let’s face it, those things are HUGE! Your purse, your phone, the charger and your camera are all essential. Baby needs those clothes, nappies, wipes or cotton wool, formula (if you’re not breastfeeding) and their new blanket.
So there they are! My five tips to organised packing, hopefully giving you one less thing to worry about, so you can get on with the last stretch. Good luck!