Packing your hospital bag is the final milestone as you prepare for your baby’s arrival. Hopefully at this point, the nursery room is ready. It isn’t unusual to be tempted to pack a whole suitcase to take to the labour ward for the simple reason of not knowing what you’ll need.
We asked some new mums what they actually packed and what they highly recommend.
We recommend having a birth plan for a number of reasons. There are other options for giving birth besides simply lying on the bed and pushing the baby out. Water birth, hypnobirth are just two of the common options. You need to decide if you will use pain relief or not; and if you opt for pain relief, there are several types to choose from. Who will be your birth partner? These points are best addressed well ahead of time. There have been situations where the mother-in-law has shown up and the dad to be was oblivious to his partner’s desires of her not being present!
Snacks & Flavoured Water
"You don’t know how long you’ll be in labour for, plus after having my son I felt so hungry” says Katie C. “Also, sugary items are good for squeamish partners. Mine almost passed out as they put the cannula in!”
Neela adds “Straws, or even your own bottle to fill with drinking water, a fan and money for the car park.
Sanitary Pads & Toiletries
"Not the pretty ones, the massive ones!' According to Beth. 'Also take along with some big panties."
Hairband- if you have long hair, lip balm because you will feel dehydrated- not helped if you use gas and air. Also take some massage oils and make-up. We promise you will not be contouring anything- but you will want to look picture-ready later on.
Outfits for you and baby
Going home outfit for baby. This is will be something that you will keep forever, so take your time to choose something special. You will also need a blanket for the journey home. Beth suggests you pack a couple of different sized baby outfits too. “We packed newborn sizes and they were too big even though he was 8Lb 4Oz." Other basic clothing for baby include babygros, vests, socks, mittens, hats.
"I ended up having a 54 hour labour and getting an epidural I didn’t plan for so next time I will pack a “just in case” bag," adds Rosella
Julietta, who stayed in hospital for five days packed complete outfits for baby. We especially love her tip of packing the outfits into ziploc bags and labelling 1st outfit, second outfit, etc.
Rosella suggests comfortable clothes and toiletries for yourself. This makes sense as you will feel rather icky after your first day. Bear in mind too that occasionally things go very differently from what you imagined and you may need to stay a few days longer than expected.
Have some more comfy clothes and underwear ready at home so that your other half can grab it easily should you need it. Jackie says not to forget snowsuit/coat if you’re having a winter baby.
Breastfeeding bras, breast pads and t-shirts or tops with front openings. Beth suggests taking some bottles and formula even if you plan on breastfeeding as it may not work out at first. Take some Arnica incase you get sore.
We love Joanna’s suggestion of flip flops. You don’t want to be going toe to toe with the ward bathroom floors!
Other must haves- besides the obvious like nappies and wipes or cotton wool include your phone/ tablet charger- you will be taking tons of photos and sending pictures to family members far and near.
Have we left anything out? Do share in the comments box below so other mums can benefit from your experience.