Birth Learnings Lists My Journey

Excess Baggage

As you all know I created the most comprehensive hospital bag list known to man for Charly’s arrival. This resulted in my taking a small suitcase, a large togbag & an oversized handbag with me to the hospital. I opened each bag only once to get out what I would need & unsurprisingly that was not very much. Although I know that most of you will likely pack everything & the kitchen sink, just in case (& I still agree with that), you will be a different person the second your newborn is in your arms & you really won’t need anything else.

All I need is You

So below I will revise the lists to what I actually needed having had a c-section; though I can’t speak for those who are having a natural delivery. There are items on the original list just for natural; if you are lucky enough to be able to go that way, it may also mean you are not recovering from major surgery & your meds are lighter, so you are feeling more up for things. For example, if you have a natural delivery you will be more mobile & probably more likely to want to be in your own clothes at the hospital, whereas I was butt naked in a sheet til day 2! So if you’re having natural labour, work from the original post.

For Mommy (Most of these are now little items that make a big difference)

  • Dressing gown (Dark colour)
  • Going home outfit (Maternity clothes: sadly you will not instantly fit into pre-preggy clothes)
  • Comfy Panties (giant sizes & very high-waisted that you are happy to throw away. Maternity Panties may work in winter, but for summer stick to oversized cotton panties as the hospital ones cause heat rash)
  • Maternity Pads (whether they stick or not, they are super comfy & I used them for a month after)
  • Nursing Bras (make sure at least one is very comfy so you can sleep in it. I never needed these in the hospital as my milk had not come in so I had no leaking, so I spent the whole time topless til the day I went home)
  • Breast Pads (as above)
  • Nipple Cream (start using this as soon as baby is using them! My nipples cracked terribly & were agonising the first few days. Also, if there is an offer of laser treatment – take it no matter how well you think you’re doing!!!)
  • Non-Slip Socks or Slippers (for winter I guess, I went barefoot the 4 days I was there)
  • Hairbands
  • Lipbalm (I needed this for all the reasons I originally posted)
  • 2 x Dark Facecloths
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste (The one thing that made me feel like a human was brushing my teeth; in the first 30-odd hours before I could move, I made them bring me water & something to spit in)
  • Liquid Bodywash Soap
  • Toner (Again came in useful before I was mobile, a wet facecloth & a quick wipe with toner & I felt cleaner & refreshed)
  • Moisturiser (use baby unscented aqueous cream, that way no chance of irritating baby’s skin)
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup (hahahaha hahahaha – I really believed I would need this; if I covered myself with a sheet when I had visitors they were very very lucky)
  • Brush (the hahahaha of above covers this too, it took me hours to get a brush through my hair  days after I got home!)
  • Vitamins & Iron Tablets (continuing with your preggy vitamins after birth is recommended)
  • Any meds you need (prescriptions you are already taking)

For Baby (The Constantiaberg provided a really nice baby bag filled with things you’ll need, so I’ll delete everything they had. Check with your hospital what they will have on hand. My hospital even provided the babygrow she wore for the first 2 days though she was a little small for it.)


  • 1 hospital outfit & 1 going home outfit – vest, babygrow, hat, bib, mittens
  • 1 Receiving Blanket & 1 Warm Blanket (for going home – hospital provided fresh linens & blankets for use there)
  • Burp Cloths (not sure you’ll need these as colostrum doesn’t seem to cause spit up – that comes later, in our case in very large quantities)
  • 40 Nappies (we used our own brand -Pampers Premium Care – though they did provide a pack too)
  • Elizabeth Anne shampoo (for “show bath” which is, as it sounds, where they show you how to bath your baby)
  • 2 Dummies (The Nuk size 0 was the winner here, though how they got her to take it is a mystery to me, she doesn’t like them since coming home)

For Daddy (No rooming in, but he was there from 8am til between 9 & 10pm. All of these were necessary, Brett spent a lot of time reading with Charly in his arms while I slept.)


  • Clean T-shirt(s)
  • Deodorant
  • Medications
  • Book
  • Cash (Change)
  • I would add here that daddies should consider bringing their own meals, Brett was not a fan of the hospital restaurant’s food & he was eating 2 meals a day there.

Last Minute List (Anything that can’t really be packed or done before the last day)

  • Car seat
  • Chargers
  • Snacks
  • Waters
  • Juice boxes
  • I would definitely second having snacks, juice & water of your own on hand. Although they are provided at certain times of day, I found I was thirsty all the time (happens when you breastfeed), so it was far more convenient to have my own stash on hand than to have to ring for the nurses all the time who then had to find kitchen staff)

Admin & Tech

  • Birth Plan (Dr C had already briefed everyone thoroughly so I never needed these copies)
  • Certified Copies of IDs & Marriage Certificate (Our hospital allowed us to register baby’s birth there on day 2 – yay for getting things done!)
  • Medical Aid Card & IDs (For pre-admissions, submitting a copy will expedite things – checking in is a lot like a hotel check in, you still have to wait your turn to be helped & it can take a while, especially if they have messed up your name 0_0)
  • Discovery Newborn Form (Completed as soon as baby is born so she is covered ASAP)
  • Book (wahahaha – sleep is all I did when I wasn’t staring adoringly at my baby or chatting to my husband or guests – BUT this may differ with natural births or even with very lucky mommies who recover easier than I did)
  • Notepad & Baby Book (as above)
  • 2 X Black Pens (always useful to have)
  • iPad (I ended up taking my laptop with but never took it out the bag)
  • Phones & Chargers

Basically, anything for entertainment was a waste of time in my case, although I did use my iPhone to check in with the outside world on occasion. I was so wrong about not being able to sleep in the hospital, I slept every second I could. As afraid as I was of the hospital itself & being without Brett, I was barely aware of the few hours he wasn’t there because my body was so rocked by the surgery & recovery.

I thought I would be uncomfortable with visitors seeing me in the hospital gowns or pajamas, but literally every ounce of embarrassment and even self consciousness evaporated about 5 seconds after she was born. Everybody who worked in the maternity ward walked in on me breastfeeding at some point, and strangers have to wash you & dress you & check your stitches & everything else; you very soon realise that embarrassment is a waste of energy you simply don’t have.


If you have any specific questions about what might be needed or if other new mommies think of something I’ve missed that they couldn’t do without, feel free to comment here, mail or post on Facebook or Twitter.

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