Packing your hospital bag

Whether you are birthing at Home, Hospital or a Midwifery Led Unit it is so important that you pack some essentials for mum, birth partner/s, baby & for the hospital environment.

It’s a good idea to have a bag packed by the time you are about 36 weeks pregnant.

A top tip is to pop everything out on the bed and then ask your birth partner/s to pack the bag so they know where everything is easily on the day and you wont have to guide them to find what is needed! Some people even separate everything into easy to identify labelled bags/compartments…it depends on your level of organisation!

What to pack in your bag

It’s best to pack just enough for one night but you can always leave a pre-packed bag in the car or at home with extras in it for you and the baby for a couple of days/nights should you need to stay in for longer.

That way you can ensure you’ll have everything you will want and don’t have to rely on someone finding it for you at home!

Packing for the birth environment

  • Battery tea lights
  • Battery string lights(you can’t have enough twinkly things!)
  • Aromatherapy oils – you can also put some on something to smell and aid relaxation
  • Diffuser
  • Birth ball
  • Rebozo Shawl
  • Anything to make the environment as dark as possible; a black out blind, eyemask…it can make you feel more private. It’s your environment to make your own!
  • Ipad Music/MP3s (make sure your MP3s are downloaded so you don’t have to rely on WiFi!)
  • Chargers
  • Pillows –  the ones in hospital may not give you the comfort you want and your ones from home will have your familiar smell, which is awesome. Just make sure you have a jazzy and distinctive pillow case, you don’t want your pillow to go walkies in the hospital!
  • Tennis ball  – top tips have been that it can be used to roll over your lower back during labour and provide you some counter pressure during waves. It can help alleviate any back pain that some women feel during labour. You can also squeeze a tennis ball to divert your attention away from waves (another little tool in your toolkit!). Equally, you could roll one under the arch of your foot in small clockwise and counterclockwise circles to give you a foot massage!

For Mum for labour

  • Birth preferences – several copies
  • Maternity notes (if you still have the handheld ones)
  • Dressing gown
  • Shawl/cardigan/blanket
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • TShirt x 2 / old nightdress/ Vest top / PJ Bottoms – a night shirt is ideal if it opens at the front for skin to skin and for breastfeeding, if you are planning to breastfeed
  • Cheap knickers
  • Flip-flops for the shower
  • Bikini Top and Skirt (if your preference is a water birth)
  • Flannels
  • Tissues
  • Massage oil – if you’d like to be massaged during labour
  • Lip balm
  • Snacks & Drinks (nuts, flapjacks, biscuits, bananas, rice cakes, sweets, dark chocolate, smoothies, water, ice)
  • Isotonic drinks may be useful for the second stage of labour – water with honey or coconut water can also help with energy
  • A bottle with a sports cap or a straw for easy drinking
  • Hairband. If you have long hair, you might find you want it off your face and tied up
  • Heated wheat bag
  • TENS machine – if you are using one!
  • Toiletries (treat yourself to some extra special ones 🙂 )
  • Ear plugs (in case you want to block out sounds during labour)
  • A fan or hand held fan to keep cool.
  • Facial Spray/Spritzer
  • Toiletries

For the birth partner

  • BRAINS visual
  • Own version of birth preferences that go into a bit more detail
  • MP3s & music
  • Swim wear if you want to be in the pool
  • Camera & charger
  • Snacks & drinks, water and lucozade are great – it is so important you remain fed and hydrated too!
  • Money & change for car parking
  • Book, magazine, pack of cards
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Toiletries (a toothbrush and some deodorant can help you feel refreshed)
  • A change of clothes

For Mum for after the birth

  • Comfy clothes, front opening for skin to skin/breastfeeding
  • Comfy outfit to travel home in
  • 2 nursing bra’s
  • Breast pads
  • Maternity sanitary pads – take more than you think you’ll need! Maybe 3-4 packs
  • Nighty or pyjamas
  • Toiletries, treat yourself to something lovely 🙂
  • Hairbrush, toothpaste & toothbrush
  • Towels – nothing beats a soft, freshly laundered towel and it’s another item that smells familiar
  • Old or cheap knickers
  • Ear plugs
  • Arnica tablets  – many women report they can help reduce bruising & aid recovery
  • Plastic bag for dirty clothes
  • A going-home outfit. You’ll need loose comfortable clothes

For your baby

  • Newborn nappies
  • 3/4 sleepsuits
  • 3/4 vests
  • Socks/handmittens
  • 2 x hats for outside
  • All in one snow suit – but it is important to remember to remove bulky clothing before placing baby into the carseat
  • Muslins
  • Cotton pads/balls for cleaning bottom
  • Baby blanket
  • Outfit for going home
  • Carseat

These are just some ideas and you don’t HAVE to take everything on the list above!

You can always separate the items for during and after labour into different bags and swap them over 🙂

What are your top tips to pack in your hospital bag?

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