Giving Birth in Japan: What’s in my hospital bag and where to shop them!

Woah, time flies! I am now on my 34th week of pregnancy. In just a couple more weeks, I’ll be down at the hospital pushing my little miracle out! Yesterday, I have finally gotten around to completing all the items in my hospital bag.

For all the other expecting mothers reading, check out all the items I have put together, where to get them and for how much!

Some Background Information

Hospital Stay

In Japan, the usual practice is for the newborn and the mother to stay in the hospital for five days after a normal delivery – longer if you had to go through a cesarean delivery (about7-9 days). Having a scheduled pregnancy is also very commonly practiced and mothers are admitted to the hospital the day before the actual delivery. Hoping and praying for a normal delivery, the stuff I will be bringing are in anticipation of a 6-day stay at the hospital. Note, however, that a lot of hospitals in Japan have laundry machines where you can do your own laundry.

Hospital-Provided List

The things I have prepared are based off a list that was given by my midwife. I initially went on a rampage of watching Youtube videos and checking out blogs about what to bring and it just ended up confusing the heck out of me. So, for once I’ve decided to not do the OC thing and to make my life easier by simply adhering to the straightforward list the hospital provided. Of course, there are a few items that I’ve added as a personal preference but for the most part, we’re sticking to the list!

Why I’m Not Bringing Lots of Baby Clothes

As I go through the items I will be bringing, you will notice an obvious lack of clothing for my baby. This is because the Childbirth Package our hospital offers already covers the clothes that the baby will be using throughout the entire stay.

Other Items In Our Childbirth Package

In addition to the baby clothes, I will also be receiving the items below:

  • baby thermometer
  • umbilical cord box (say what?! if you didn’t know already, it is tradition in Japan for the family to take home portion of the umbilical cord)
  • belly button care set (for sanitizing and taking care of the baby’s navel until it’s completely healed)
  • 30 pcs. of maternity napkins
  • 2 pcs. of maternity panties
  • 1 pack of newborn diapers (contains 36 pcs.)
  • 1 pack of baby wipes

The hospital document also says that I can order from them additional supplies or bring my own from home if the above is not enough.

Items I Will Be Bringing Based On Hospital List

Medical Documents

I, personally, will be bringing an entire file case full of my pregnancy-related documents such as ultrasounds, medical test results and receipts. However, the three most important papers that you should never forget and that were specified on the list issued by my hospital are:

  • your Hokensho/Insurance Card – you will be in the hospital so duhh, you will need this to be admitted.
  • your Boshi Kenkou Techou/Mother and Child Health Handbook – this is necessary not only for admission to the hospital but for processing documents such as your baby’s birth certificate
  • your Hoshokin Jushosho/Proof of Payment of Deposit – I can’t speak as to how things are in other hospitals but in ours, we had to give a deposit of ¥300,000 and I was told that they will not be deducting it from the final bill if I fail to bring my proof of payment.

Pajamas

I was told to bring 2-3 pairs of pajamas. Since my delivery will be in February which is usually the coldest month of the year, I bought two fluffy pairs of pajamas from Uniqlo for ¥1990 per pair. The Disney designs were very cute and I can’t wait to wear them but the reason I chose them is because they were on sale.

On second thought, however, I realized that since the top is a ‘pullover’ style, it might not be very convenient for nursing the baby. A top that has buttons would make more sense so I also picked out a satin button-down pajama from GU. It also happened to be on sale (exactly the same price of ¥1990) and surprise! also had Disney print.

Lastly, and this was specified on the list, is a long, one-piece sleepwear with buttons in front (called maibiraki/front-opening pajamas). My midwife mentioned that this is especially useful for right after delivery – makes it more comfortable down there, if you know what I mean.

Underwear

  • Maternity/Nursing Bras

I already had a bunch of these since my cup size has increased over the last few months. There are a lot of styles available in Amazon and some that I got are ones with additional/removable tabs (I love that I can still use these even when I’m no longer nursing) and easy-to-fold cups. These cost me only ¥1500 for 2. My favorites, however, come with front clasps that can be easily opened or closed when breastfeeding without any additional fumbling (¥2600 for 4).

  • Maternity Panties

I haven’t really been using maternity panties throughout my pregnancy so far so I will be bringing 2 of my usual, everyday panties. As mentioned, I expect to receive 2 maternity panties as part of my hospital’s Childbirth Package.

In addition, the hospital list states that I should bring what are called Sanjoku Shorts. I’ve tried having this translated but it returned some weird scientific word in English which I didn’t even try to commit to memory. What they are are high-waist panties that can be opened from the bottom. Even if this article is not in your hospital list, I would highly recommend it. I was informed by my doctor that this is especially convenient right after the delivery and are useful before the delivery when they do the various tests to check if the baby is ready to come out. Just search for Sanjoku Pants on Amazon and you would be presented with a lot of choices . I got mine – a 3-piece pack – for ¥1615.

Towels

We are supposed to bring towels for personal use and I opted to bring just one bath towel and one baby towel. My husband can bring me more if they are not enough or I could just wash them at the hospital.

Gauze Cloth For Baby’s Use

Technically, the list asks for 5 gauze ‘handkerchieves’ and when I searched for that on Amazon, the search returned smaller-sized gauze towels. But I’m a rebel and my sister gifted me some larger gauze cloths embroidered with our baby’s name! How can I resist?! Of course, I’m packing these instead.

Personal Stuff

  • Toiletries – The hospital will be providing us with shampoo, body soap and hair conditioner so I will only be bringing travel-sized bottles of facial wash and feminine wash.
  • Makeup – I’m not delusional and know that I would probably be too busy and overwhelmed with the baby to even paint my eyebrows but hey, here’s to hoping. One article that I made a point to bring is a lip balm. It wasn’t singled out on the list but lots of videos I watched on Youtube says that your lips get so dry during labor and even after delivery.
  • Slippers – This was specified on the list and since I will be giving birth in the middle of a cold winter, I went for a cute pair of warm slippers from Uniqlo. They also have a Disney Peanuts design and I got them on sale for ¥1500.

Cover-up For Baby After Discharge

I believe they require this throughout the year since the baby’s skin is still very sensitive but this is especially crucial for us since we have to leave the hospital during the freezing season.

Instructions say that a bath towel would be good enough. I have, however, received this embroidered (with my baby’s name) towel with a hoodie from my sister and have chosen to use it for this purpose. I’m not quite sure if I will bring it yet but I also got this adorable hooded cloth from Uniqlo for ¥2990.

Another awesome coverup that I got from these Uniqlo is one that is made especially for the colder seasons – one side is made of waterproof material while the other is of wool-like and warm to the touch. It is also has some padding for added warmth and cost only ¥2990.

Additional Items Not On The List

Thankfully, the hospital gave me a very short list which I think is very convenient for the expecting mothers. That said, I did decided to bring the following additional items:

Traditional Wear for Baby During Discharge

Apparently, all babies in Japan wear this dress-like type of clothing after discharge. I didn’t know this and was very shocked when I received it from my mother-in-law since she knew full-well that I’m having a boy! It also comes with a matching cap – how cute is that?!

Additional Nursing Pads

During a talk I had with the hospital’s midwife, I have actually pre-ordered a pack of breast pads but the other day, I received breast pads in the mail from my sister in law who also just gave birth a few months back. Just in case, I decided to bring over about 20 additional pairs. I honestly have no idea how much is typically needed in this case – I hope I don’t leak that much though.

Extra Clothing For The Baby

Yes, the hospital is going to supply us with the baby’s clothing the entire time we are there but just as a precaution – okay, fine! just because I already bought a lot of baby clothes and am very excited to see them on my little tot – I have included about 5 overalls in my hospital bag. In Uniqlo, these cost ¥1990 for a 2-piece pack.

Extra Baby Wipes

The hospital’s Childbirth Package also includes a pack of baby wipes but I didn’t think that would be adequate for a 5-day stay and also wanted to check out the options out there. I got a three-pack set (¥418) of the brand ‘Moony’. I think they would be good since the package says they were made especially for babies, are made in Japan, soft and can be flushed down the toilet just like any other tissue paper!

There you have it! Everything that I’ve stuffed down my hospital bag. I’m sure each hospital has a different arrangement but hopefully this has helped other expecting mothers out there figure out what they would need and where they can be obtained in Japan! Good luck in pushing your little cutie out!

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.