Blossom Mother & Child
You should aim to have your hospital bag ready and packed and in easy reach about a month before your baby is due. That way if you do go into labour a bit early you will have all the things you need.
Here are a few suggestions of what we think you will need for your labour (see checklist below). Firstly a comfortable night dress or shirt, a pair of socks (as feet are often known to get cold during labour), your birth plan, water and some snacks for your partner, something for you both to read (the first stages of labour can be slow and rather boring), mobile phone to contact your nearest and dearest with the happy news, money, camera (make sure the batteries are fully charged) ready for those first snaps of your newborn. A cooling water spray , if you want something to cool you down during labour and your i-pod if you want music playing.
You can pack all of the above in the same bag as the items you will need for after the birth, or alternatively take two small holdalls and get your partner to take the items you had for labour home again.
The items you will need for after the birth are items for washing, so take along some of your favourite toiletries to help you feel clean and fresh again. Don’t forget your toothbrush and hairbrush to use while on the ward (and a bit of make up if you think you will have time to put it on!) You will also need a bath towel.
Take a couple of loose fitting pyjamas or nightdress’s with front opening, so it is easy to breastfeed. You will bleed quite heavily after the birth and might find you have a bit of a leakage despite wearing maternity towels so a few items of nightwear may be necessary. You should also take a lightweight dressing gown and some slippers.
Don’t forget to take plenty of underwear. You will need nursing bras if you are breastfeeding and breast pads to stop milk leaking. You may find your nipples get sore when you first try feeding baby as it does take a bit of practise at first to get baby to latch on correctly so having some nipple cream to hand is a good idea.
Forget about wearing fancy knickers, as you will be bleeding and possible leaks mean that wearing disposable paper knickers at first may be the best option (they are not as bad as they sound!). For straight after the birth you should have maternity sanitary towels. They are much thicker and longer and more absorbent then normal sanitary towels. You will need enough for at least a couple of days when the blood loss will subside and you can use normal sanitary towels. The blood loss after birth can last for up to six weeks but does get much lighter after a couple of days and should stop around 3 weeks after the birth.
Don’t forget to pack yourself something to wear home. You will need to wear your maternity trousers or something with an elasticated waistband because although baby is no longer there, your stomach needs to contract back to its normal size. Also wear a top or a dress that has easy front access if you are breastfeeding otherwise you will get frustrated having to lift it up each time when baby needs feeding.
For your newborn baby you will need newborn nappies, a small plastic bowl and cotton wool, as most people suggest washing with water only for the first few days. An outfit to dress baby in straight after birth -usually a bodysuit and sleepsuit. Take a couple of spares and also a cardigan or jacket depending on the weather and a blanket or shawl for when you take baby home.
Below is a handy checklist you can use to help pack your hospital bag. We suggest one bag for you and another small bag for your baby, this could be the changing bag you plan to use.
For Mum -
- Birth plan / Hospital notes
- A nightshirt or birthing dress
- 2 nightshirts or pyjamas for your hospital stay, suitable for nursing if planning to breastfeed
- Lightweight dressing gown
- Slippers and socks
- Disposable briefs
- Comfortable cotton briefs
- Maternity Towels x 48
- Nursing Bras x 2 if planning to breastfeed
- Breast pads if planning to breastfeed
- Towel (preferably a dark colour)
- Going home outfit - remember it takes a bit of time for your tummy to bounce back... choose one of our comfortable maternity outfits
- Camera/camcorder and charger/batteries
- Mobile and charger
- Address/telephone book
- Coins for hospital trolley and car park
- Ipod and charger
- Lip balm to avoid lips drying out in warm hospital wards
- Support pillow for extra comfort during labour or after when breastfeeding (optional)
- Drinks and snacks for during labour (optional)
- Tens machine (optional)
For your Baby -
- Sleepsuits x 3
- Bodysuits x 3
- Newborn pack of nappies
- Jacket or snowsuit for winter babies
- Cotton wool and small plastic bowl (for washing)
- Bib / Muslin Cloths x 3
- Car Seat (essential for bringing baby home with)