“The mother can bring with her to the maternity unit everything that she would like for her baby and herself,” explains Camille Bouiller, deputy head midwife of the maternity unit at Hôpital de La Tour. But if, when the time comes, the parents leave the hospital bag at home or in their car, this won’t affect the birth or the baby’s comfort. “We provide everything they need: clothes for the baby throughout their stay, towels, personal care products, etc.”
Comfortable outfits for the mother
We recommend that you pack the following in your hospital bag as a priority: three comfortable outfits, a bathrobe, a pair of slippers, two bras, and a toiletry bag. “Some mothers don't have much with them when they arrive but the other parent can then bring anything else they need as and when,” mentions Céline Ducrot, deputy charge nurse of the maternity unit. “Whereas other mothers may bring more things with them to help them feel at home.” This may include family photos, a nightlight, something to read, etc. “Each hospital bag will differ according to the needs and preferences of the parents.”
The same is true of the date for packing the hospital bag. “There are as many different scenarios as there are couples,” continues Céline Ducrot. “Some couples are extremely organized and are ready with three months to go, while others pack their bag the day before their due date.” If they have to give a target date for this, the nurse and midwife recommend the 34th week of pregnancy, which is the date from which expectant mothers can come to give birth in the maternity unit at Hôpital de La Tour.
Essential items for baby going home from hospital
The other important items for the hospital bag are the things that the baby needs for the day they go home from hospital. Their outfit generally consists of a cotton bodysuit, a sleepsuit, a hat, a pair of booties, and an outer garment suitable for the time of year (for example, a footmuff in winter). “Parents who are going home by car also need to remember to bring a car seat, while those who are taking public transport need to remember a stroller,” says Camille Bouiller.
Parents will be able to find out specific answers to all their questions about practical matters—from the hospital bag to other subjects such as baby equipment—at the antenatal classes or at the Café devenir parents (café for expectant parents) organized by Hôpital de La Tour. “Parents can also find out lots of information during a tour of the maternity unit from talking to a member of the care team.”
Final administrative preparations
Packing your hospital bag may also be a good opportunity to think about some of the important things that need doing before the baby arrives. From the 34th week of pregnancy, you will already have been registered with Hôpital de La Tour by your gynecologist, but it’s always worth taking your pregnancy file with you.
This could also be a good time to find a pediatrician for your child. “Parents can contact doctors to find out if they are taking on new patients and, if this is the case, they can potentially arrange an antenatal visit,” comments Céline Ducrot. “You can of course still give birth without doing this, but it could make things easier if you have resolved this matter in advance.”
Another step that can be carried out at the same time as packing the hospital bag is preparing to register the birth. “You will need to provide the maternity unit with specific documents,” explains Céline Ducrot. “Our unit, which acts as an intermediary between the parents and the relevant registry office for registering the birth, will be able to guide parents and answer their questions.”