What to pack in your maternity hospital bag for labour
First of all, a huge congratulations from us. The day you’ve been looking forward to is on the horizon. It is almost time to meet your little cherub. However, if like us, you may be slightly apprehensive about making sure that you pack all of the essentials.
Therefore, we have created this easy checklist to give you peace of mind and ensure that there’s one less thing to be worried about in the lead up to the big day. Apologies if it seems we are stating the obvious but you will be surprised at how much even the most organised mummy to be forgets accidentally (ourselves included).
We would suggest that you pack your bag several weeks early as your tiny baby human will arrive on their schedule and not yours. Our little girl decided she wanted to pop out almost 4 weeks early. Also try to plan for all eventualities. We were planning on breast feeding but unfortunately my milk would not come in. We were advised we were having a big baby and she was born a little dot at only 6lb 1oz so none of the clothes fit and we had to send Aunties to the nearby supermarket. Therefore, just be advised your birth plans may change and so its best to cover all possibilities.
We wish you a safe labour. You’ve got this!
Maternity bag check list for your hospital bag.
In addition to the list, don’t forget to update your phone with important numbers such as the labour ward, family/ friends who will be supporting you, taxi numbers if required etc. Also, always make sure your partner keeps enough fuel in the car if driving yourselves i.e. none of this “oh I’ll grab some tomorrow” as typically it will be tonight that baby graces you with their presence.
Items to pack for yourself...
- Birthing plan if you have made one.
- Hospital notes and remember many of the medical pages will be removed after birth so you may wish to get a copy for your own records to look back on in the future.
- Loose and comfortable clothes to wear during labour. Something perhaps made of cotton to avoid you getting too hot and certainly something that wont restrict you moving around to get comfortable.
- Three nursing bras and a couple of packs of breast pads if planning to breast feed. If formula feeding, you will also need comfortable bras. Buy the bras a little bigger as its easy to forget that your breasts will enlarge shortly after birth.
- Nipple cream as it will take time for both yourself and baby to find a comfortable latch position and nipples may become slightly sore.
- At least three days worth of comfortable and loose clothing. We ended up staying in longer than expected. Your partner should also have a change of clothes but partners are usually only permitted in the day time so will likely be sent home and can change then.
- Disposable knickers as obviously there will be a bleed afterwards. These were a life saver after our emergency C section.
- Maternity pads. Take several packs as some women soak through much faster than expected.
- Five or six pairs of loose and comfortable dark cotton knickers.
- Slippers or flip flops that can easily be kicked on or off, vital for unplanned C sections or for when you are handling baby etc.
- Nighties or pyjamas that are loose fitting so again wont restrict movement or make you hot. If planning on breastfeeding, its easier if these open at the front. Maternity nighties were ideal for us after having the C-section as hubby slipped one on over my head and I just had to unclip the shoulder.
- Dressing gown.
- Warm socks. If you have a C-section, compression socks will also be provided.
- Face cloths, sponges and dark towels, enough for a few days. One of our members has advised soaking the flannels with water to keep cool and to do the same to relieve the soreness from the first time you urinate. Some of our members are using a ‘spritz for their bitz’ and apparently this has been a game changer. Just get a little spray bottle.
- Wash bag complete with soap, sample sized shampoos or dry shampoo, conditioners, moisturiser, toothpaste, toothbrush, lip balm, hair brush, a mild scented deodorant, face wipes, sanitiser, bobbles and hair bands etc to get the hair out of your face.
- A small battery powered fan or water spray as a fan may not be easily provided for you.
- Maternity/pregnancy pillow if you would like one.
- Your usual medication. Have these written down for your partner to hand over if you don’t feel like talking.
- Healthy snacks and plenty of drinks for you and your birthing partner. Preferably something to keep your energy up as you may not feel like eating much during the labour process. Sweets, energy drinks, cereal bars etc are good for this.
- Water bottle.
- Music to help you relax where possible or pre-recorded soothing sounds.
- Books, magazines, kindle, ipad, puzzles etc to help you pass the time. Your birthing partner should pack something for themselves too. Don’t forget the chargers 🙂
- Your mobile phone and the charger. A camera if not using your phone.
- Small change. Many forget this but its useful to have a few pounds if you fancy something from the vending machine or if you want to watch the TV of an evening.
- TENS machine and batteries if required.
- Aromatherapy oils if required e.g. for hypnobirthing.
- A separate bag e.g. a cotton shopper or a plastic bag for soiled clothing.
- Diary or planner if you dont keep your schedule on your phone.
- Laxatives or a poo softener. You may think we are crazy. You shall soon see 🙂
- Ear plugs to help you sleep and drown out some of the noise from the ward.
Our little one who decided to break my waters four weeks early at 2am. She was due to be ‘turned’ that afternoon. She obviously decided against that plan.
Items to pack for baby....
- Several days worth of vests and sleepsuits with poppers. Although it can be tempting to dress them up in cute outfits for visitors (post covid) you will be exhausted. Make your life easier and just stick to sleepsuits.
- Hats as its really important to keep their little heads warm in the days after labour as this regulates their temperature and gets them used to their new cooler environment. Some hospitals provide them, others dont.
- Scratch mittens – really important.
- Socks or booties.
- Extra cardigans just in case.
- An outfit for going home. If its cold, a snowsuit for over the top.
- Several blankets. These should be breathable with the small holes like the one shown in the image above (cellular blankets).
- Bibs and muslins to catch all that delightful reflux.
- Lots of nappies. We were in longer than planned but luckily over packed the nappies and we are glad we did. We based it on 7 nappies a day roughly plus a few spares.
- Baby wipes or cotton wool for wiping with water.
- Nappy cream.
- Bottles and an emergency supply of formula. As mentioned, we wanted to breast feed but were unable to. Luckily our hospital did give us two days worth of pre-made milk and teats until our family could drop some off for us but not all hospitals do this.
- Make sure the car seat is ready and installed in the car ready to bring little one home.
A little advice from our followers to help make life a little easier....
Honestly, we were not expecting to feel as overwhelmed as we did when we brought baby home. We were insanely happy but also apprehensive as it dawned on us that we were now responsible for this little bundle of joy and to be honest, we felt like we had no idea what we were doing.
Being so tired meant we got a little emotional that night but we muddled through and after 24 hours, everything fell in to place. Because you will be so sleep deprived as you all settle in to your new way of life, why not have the following good to go so you can rest and just care for your baby:
- Pre-prepare foods before you go in and freeze. Your partner can then simply heat these up.
- Stock up on essentials like nappies, formula, wipes, toilet roll, bake at home bread, cheeses, UHT fruit juices etc to avoid a mad panic dash by your partner to the shop.
- Do not stress about SIDS. Be mindful of course but use common sense. Ensure baby is wrapped up warm in a cellular blanket with no other loose fabrics and no pillow. No cot headers they can get trapped in, toys etc. Place baby at the foot of the cot as they wiggle down. As new parents, working out how to dress her for bed safely was our main stress on our first night but honestly, if baby gets cold they will wake you so dont lose sleep over it worrying they will wiggle out of the blanket.
- If bottle feeding, please do not pre-prep bottles in advance as it can lead to a build up bacteria but we found having some UHT ready made formula left at room temperature ideal. Its already made up when you buy it, its sterile and just needs heating in babys bottle which ou simply place in a jug of hot water for a few minutes then swirl to mix. A few minutes was normally enough but just pour some milk on your wrist (super sensitive area) to ensure its not too hot for baby. We would not recommend microwaving the milk as it can cause heat spots and burn babies tongue.
- Ensure your partner has shared basic messages with family and friends before you come home and politely ask visitors to refrain from descending without calling first. This is time for you to enjoy as your own little family. Again you will be exhausted and you will be very quickly learning about your babies eating and sleeping habits. The last thing you or your baby wants is to entertain others, despite their obvious good intentions. Your partner can manage the visits so they are evenly spaced.
- Similar to the above. Family and friends will have gotten wind that you are in hospital and may see a sneaky snapshot and share to social media. A few weeks before your due date, send a polite and respectfully worded message to family and friends to politely remind them that you would like the pleasure of announcing the birth first and will do so at a time to suit yourselves.
- Accept the help. Dont be too proud and be prepared that family and friends will be giving lots of advice or popping round (post covid) to support you with looking after baby. Take it. Use the time to get a nap or a shower.
- It can seem like family and friends are constantly telling you what to do but they are just feeding back on their experiences so try and embrace the advice and if it doesn’t suit your plans, respectfully decline it thanking them for their ideas.
- Do not even attempt to be Super woman. As long as the house is clean it doesn’t matter if its untidy. Your baby doesn’t care that you’ve not put the clothes away etc. Also, if you were told not to walk and do housework for X amount of time after a C-section dont do it. I felt fine and so I ignored the advice and started cleaning the house. I set my recovery back. Its not worth it.
- Don’t be scared to politely ask friends and relatives not to kiss your new born. Covid aside, this is strongly advised against anyway as their little immune systems are just starting to build up. Many including ourselves are concerned about hurting others feelings but its very important that you stick to your guns on this and family/friends respect your decision.
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