As your go-to eco-friendly parenting blog, we’ve put together a comprehensive baby hospital bag checklist to ensure the first few days of your little one’s life are as comfortable and sustainable as possible.
If you’re in the third trimester of pregnancy, your mind is probably buzzing with a mix of emotions and plans for the future. In the short term, you’re probably thinking about what to pack in a hospital bag for baby (and, of course, for yourself) after the labour. It’s never too early to start planning, after all, and we at Y’earn are true believers in the stress-relieving powers of ticking off a to-do list. We recommend packing your bag no later than the 36th week of pregnancy to ensure you’re equipped even if your baby shows up a little early!
With the average carbon footprint of a child in the developed world currently estimated at around 58.6 metric tonnes per year, it’s never been more important to lead by example and limit your impact on our precious environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of great eco-friendly products on the market for your baby hospital bag list.
Do I need a bag for home birth?
If you’re planning on home birthing, it is still useful to pack a bag of eco-friendly essentials. As well as ensuring everything is right where you need it when the time comes, it may come in useful in the unlikely event that you require medical intervention.
Hospital bag essentials for you
While you’re probably eager to stuff your bag full of cute clothes and plush toys for your baby, it is just as important to look after yourself. Labour is tough, after all! Here are some must-haves that will come in useful:
Your hospital bag
The most eco-friendly product is the one you didn’t buy! We’re sure that you have a suitable bag that you can use for your baby hospital bag, whether it’s a small backpack, oversized handbag or weekend tote. If you are looking to buy a bag then check out Babymel who’s bags are designed for the everyday and life beyond a changing or hospital bag. They also have a range made from recycled plastic.
Clothes to wear during the birth and after
Your clothes are likely to get a bit messy during labour, so don’t bring anything you’re particularly fond of – an old t-shirt or nightdress will do and can be easily recycled later. We suggest taking a dressing gown for trips to the bathroom and some spare Pjs. You will also need a nursing bra, a few pairs of undies and something comfortable to travel home in.
Breast milk is likely to start appearing in the hours or days after childbirth, so you may find breast pads helpful. There are plenty of eco-friendly and vegan options out there such as these organic pads from Organyc.
You’re probably well aware of the phenomenon of postpartum bleeding, but you may be wondering how to handle it in an eco-friendly way. After all, it can be much heavier than the bleeding you’re accustomed to on your period and could even last for a few weeks.
You’ll be pleased to hear that companies such as Bloom and Nora have started selling reusable sanitary pads absorbent enough to handle postpartum bleeding. If your flow isn’t too heavy, you may also wish to try super-comfortable period pants such as those produced by Wuka or Modibodi.
You’ll want to feel clean and fresh during your stay in the hospital, so pack a few eco-friendly pampering items such as a bamboo toothbrush, a shampoo bar, or eco-friendly body oil. Other items for your wash bag – toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush, hair bands, flannel, face wash, face cream, nipple cream and a towel. For those mums who will feel better with makeup, don’t forget your essentials for that first family photo or journey home.
Snacks and drinks
Many women can eat and drink during labour, particularly if it’s a little slow, so pack plenty of goodies to graze on while you’re waiting. Fruit, nuts, and popcorn are all great vegan options that will provide plenty of much-needed energy.
Eating and drinking utensils
Refillable water bottles, hot drinks cups, bamboo cutlery, and metal straws will all come in useful for you and your birthing partner during your time in the hospital. As an eco-conscious reader of this blog, we imagine you’re already well-stocked with such items, so haven’t listed any purchase sites here!
Hypnobirthing is a kind of natural pain management and stress-relieving technique that many mothers swear by. If you want to give it a try, you will need to bring a few items to make your birthing environment as calm as possible such as battery-lit candles (real flames won’t go down well in a hospital!), essential oils, and a portable speaker for playing hypnobirthing music. If you respond well to positive affirmations, write down some encouraging words on post-it notes and stick them next to your hospital bed.
Hospital bag essentials for baby
There are plenty of mothers out there ready and waiting to hand down old baby clothes and useful items such as swaddles to new parents. While you may get a buzz out of buying cute onesies before your little one arrives, remember that they are likely to outgrow them very fast. Read our Best Children’s Sustainable Clothes Brands article for tips and advice.
Of course, there are some items you can’t simply hand down and reuse. Here are a few eco-friendly essentials you will need to pack in your hospital bag aside from clothes:
Would you believe that the average child goes through 3360 nappies in the first year alone? Reusable nappies such as the extensive selection from Nature’s Little Ones are surprisingly easy to use and much more eco-friendly than disposable alternatives. Don’t forget a wet bag for the dirty cloth nappies and wipes.
Baby wipes represent a godsend for parents, helping to clean up all the dirt, spills, and fluids your baby is sure to produce. For the eco-conscious, however, baby wipes carry ethical concerns as they are single-use and can contribute to ocean pollution. One option is to bring a reusable cloth.
If you’re unwilling to give up on the convenience of wipes, however, there are biodegradable options on the market that won’t clog up landfills for years to come such as Kit & Kin. We’re excited about their reusable wipes that are coming soon, they also have cute reusable nappies.
Muslins and swaddles
If you’re unable to source pre-loved swaddles or muslins, invest in a pack from a sustainable brand such as Mori.
Dummies and comforters
Dummies and comforters are important for helping baby feel relaxed in the first few weeks of their life. It wouldn’t be particularly hygienic to use second-hand dummies or comforters, but there are plenty of eco-friendly options out there that won’t cost the world.
A nursing pillow
A nursing pillow will help make breastfeeding more comfortable for you and baby, particularly during the first days of bonding. This v-shaped wool pillow is a great choice for eco-friendly mums as it is machine washable and biodegradable.
Items for the journey home
You will need a few items to keep baby toasty and safe during the first exciting journey home. This could include a warm hat, a comforter or blanket, and a secure car seat. Instead of purchasing a car seat you can now rent one with Y’earn. In fact, you can rent most items you need in the home including nursery furniture, decorative items, as well as those for bathing and feeding. We believe in more love, less landfill!
Essentials for your birthing partner
Obviously, your birthing partner will need to bring a bag of items to keep themselves clean, fed and entertained during the hospital stay. This should include clothes and a washbag, as well as key items such as phone chargers and change for vending machines and car park ticket machines. Allowing them to take charge of these items will help to lower your stress levels during labour.
Remember to pack other home comforts
We’ve covered the essentials, but you may want to bring a few home comforts with you such as a good book and your own pillow. Remember – it’s your birth experience, and packing some familiar items will help you feel in control.
Finally, if your baby is due soon, we want to wish you good luck! You’re going to be awesome.
If this is your first visit, hello, let us introduce ourselves. We’re Y’earn and we exist to create more love, less landfill. Pretty lofty, right? Well, not really, it’s actually pretty simple. Our aim is to make renting as common as owning so we live more sustainably while helping the community around us.
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Y’earn is a parent-to-parent marketplace to rent Baby & Kids items from people in your community or make some cash if you have items you don’t need right now. We’re a sustainable business that plants 🌲, adopts 🐝 and donates to children’s charities. We’re helping each other and the planet, one rental at a time.
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