The last few months of pregnancy can seem like the hardest, longest journey. As well as being desperately excited to meet the life you’ve been growing for the past few months, you’ve also got the anticipation (and potentially the worry) of the birth itself.
Then there’s all the planning. If you’ve got older children you’ll be preparing them for the big change in your household, as well as ensuring that when the time arrives they’re properly cared for and aren’t asking you for a story or a drink in the labour ward. You might have the famed “nesting instinct” (or you might not, and believe me there’s nothing wrong with that either) and you might have your mind firmly on packing your hospital bag.
Even if you’re planning a home delivery, it can be a good idea to have a bag packed for a hospital stay. If something were to go awry during your labour and you were taken to hospital the last thing you want to do is to scramble around for what you need.
As I’ve gone through birth twice myself, I though I would give you a little helping hand.
So, what do you need?
- Your birth plan – whether you’ve planned it all to the 9th degree, or you’re intending to let nature take its’ course, your birth plan is your record of what you want and don’t want.
- Slippers– you might spend a lot of time pacing the floor so slippers are a must if you don’t want aching feet.
- An old nightdress for the delivery (otherwise you could end up in a hospital gown!)
- Snacks – hospital food isn’t always the best and you’ve got a lot of work to do, you need to keep your strength up.
- Entertainment – even if you’re in established labour when you arrive at hospital you might still have a wait and it couldn’t hurt to have a book or an e-reader with you. After all, this might be the only time you get to yourself for quite a while…
- Toiletries – birth is far from glamorous so you’ll want to brush your teeth, comb your hair and try to make yourself feel human again both during and after your labour.
- Breast Pads – whether you’re intending to breast or bottle feed, those hormones will still give you some leakages in the days following your labour so having breast pads will save you any actual soaking through.
- Maternity pads – theres no getting away from it, you are going to bleed after birth and these are essential to keep you fresh and dry.
- Big knickers – I know for some the thought of wearing granny pants is unthinkable but these are great after birth and help keep you maternity pad securely in place.
- A change a clothes for leaving hospital – Don’t make the mistake I did the first time round by putting in pre pregnancy clothes, sick to you loose baggy maternity wear.
- Clothes such as vests, baby grows and cardigans if the ward is cool
- Cotton hats & scratch mits (although baby grows with the built in mitts are far better as they don’t come off)
- A car seat – most maternity wards or units won’t allow you to take your baby home without a car seat but you’ll probably be advised that to save space it should stay in your car or at home until you’re discharged. (There is a great article from Which about cars seats)
- A coat or snow suit for a winter baby
- Bottles and milk if you’re intending to use bottles (you can read my blog here about why I chose to bottle feed)
For your partner
- Entertainment, iPads are great for this.
- Snacks – he will get hungry too
- A camera or mobile phone to capture THE moment
- A new hand for when you’ve finished squeezing it!
- A list of who to inform of the birth (including your photographer)
What did you pack in your hospital bag? I would love to find out if you have any tips, please comment below.