Hospital & Birth Bag's... What's in and what's not!!
Here’s a starting point for what you’ll need in labour - just the bare essentials.
- Maternity Notes - the big and the no brainer. Make sure they're in hand wherever you go.
- Birth plan, if you’ve made one. Even if you haven’t made one, a rough idea of how you would like things to go would be helpful. At the end of the day nature will take its course, and babies run on their own schedule sometimes.
- Any medication you’re taking.
- Important phone numbers. This could be the numbers for your hospital, midwife or doula's phone number. Of course your partner or birth partner's phone number. Not forgetting your hospital reference number (on your card or notes).
There's a whole list of extra things you can pack to make yourself more comfortable, and we found the following helpful:
- Something to wear or perhaps not as some people find. Maybe you're planning a water birth in that case you may want to pack a bikini and towel, just steer clear from an all in one costume. Usually a comfy, outfit for labour that you can move around in and that won’t make you too hot is preferable.
- Boredom busters. Labour can sometimes be super fast, but also can take its sweet time as well. Books (especially the baby name kind if you haven’t locked in those choices yet), magazines, music or podcasts.
- Speaking of music and podcasts. Can we pause and take a moment to discuss hypnobirthing. If you haven't looked into this yet I would recommend you to do so! I had two births, my first without- and my second with hypnobirthing. It's made such a world of difference! The second birth went so smoothly, I even managed to sleep during contractions. When we got to hospital I was straight in the birth pool, a little gas and air and the power of hypnobirthing got me the rest of the way. It was a really lovely experience and
- What goes hand in hand with hypnobirthing….. Aromatherapy oils! Now I’m no expert on this, but I have been told that aromatherapy oils used in the correct way can also be amazing during birth.
- Another, more conventional pain relief method is the TENS Machine. If you opt for this, also make sure that spare batteries are packed. Your hospital may provide you with one, or at most places you can also hire them. I got mine second hand and purchased new sticky pads. It worked like a dream.
- A phone and charger. Must haves. Make sure you have plenty of storage, and maybe a portable battery pack too (just in case). I even went as far as packing the fancy camera and lens. It was fully charged and had a spare battery, but I forgot to check the memory card was in. Rookie mistake!!
- A fan or water spray to cool you down. Some hospitals will provide fans but nothing beats a mini hand held fan.
- If your hospital allows your own pillow can make it feel just like home, possibly a giant pregnancy one, you know the ones I mean.
- Most births require an overnight stay. Especially if it’s your first baby. So a no brainer is your wash bag with your toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, soap, hair ties and other toiletries. I’m in no way being paid to say this but I’ve also heard great things about My Expert Midwife Spritz for Bits, which should help with the stinging down there after giving birth.
- It’s not glamorous, but you don’t want to be without them! Large sanitary or maternity pads. To coordinate with of course….. large comfy knickers (or disposable ones). I vastly underestimated how many I needed, and had to send hubby foraging to the local shops for more!!
- Even if you're not having a water birth I’d pack towels. You’ll want to freshen up and so I’d always pack a towel.
- Dressing gown. My hospital kept everything quite warm so I don’t think I really used one, but they can be handy.
- Slippers or flip-flops. I’d say both if I’m honest or those fluffy socks with grips on. Flip flops in the shower.
- Going home outfit!! Spoiler alert it doesn’t have to be glam!! Please just make sure it’s comfy. Your tummy won’t shrink back in a matter of minutes so still pack that pregnancy wear.
- Cash – you might need it for parking or to grab a magazine or emergency chocolate bar.
- In case you end up needing a C-section: Drinking straws, which helps with drinking without having to sit yourself up and putting pressure on your tummy.
- A baby slings - this depends on how long you will be staying in hospital. If it's a simple overnight stay you likely won't need one. However, if you end up staying longer for whichever reason it might be very useful, to help with bonding, and to just have your hands free. Especially if you have had a C-section and you'd like to use your hands to support yourself while walking, a sling is invaluable.
- nursing bras
- breast pads. I highly recommend reusables one, once you have established breastfeeding but in the early days I did find disposable one’s handy.
- front-opening tops/nighties.
- Nipple cream
- A breastfeeding app or notebook a pen to jot down length of feeds, which side etc.
Now not forgetting you’ll be going in pregnant but leaving with a whole new person! What should you pack for them?
- Sleep suits
- Hats to keep that tiny little head nice and warm
- Scratch mittens, actually scratch that! Hunt down those sleep suits with the cuffs you can roll over and turn into mitts. In my experience scratch mitts seem to walk off all by themselves, but the sleep suits were fab!!
- If your sleep suits/outfits don’t have feet, don’t forget some socks to keep those tiny toes snug.
- Nappies. Disposable or reusable! A must have in your life for the foreseeable.
- Cotton wool balls or pads. You don’t want to use wipes at this stage so cotton wool balls are amazing. I used to pack mine in a little Tupperware tub so that I could fill it with water whilst on the go if needed.
- Muslin squares. Again these are going to be a staple in your life for a while.
- Blankets and even more blankets if it's cold outside.
So what should they think about packing?
- Snacks… Erm hell to the yes!! All of the snacks!!
- Cash. Because you won’t be nipping out between contractions to top up the meter!
- A change of clothes.
- A wash bag
Time to go home! If you're going home by car, bring a car seat! If you are in your own car, check it's been installed correctly before you go to hospital. If you will be taxing home or getting a lift you will still need the car seat. If you are taking public transport, bring a pram and/or a sling. Once back home your life will never be the same again. Take your time getting to know the new addition to your family and getting into a new routine. Take your time to nurture your little one, but don't forget to nurture yourself too in the process.