I know first hand that feeling of being overwhelmed for labour and packing the hospital bag essentials. How was I supposed to know what to pack… I haven’t done it before. In addition, trying to prepare for unknown variables like, what if I have to stay in for a few days? What if baby can’t feed from me? What size clothes to I need?
Honestly, I made it far too complicated for myself. Most importantly, three things to remember. Firstly, If you need something and you haven’t got it, your birth partner can go get it. Secondly, if you are not in a position for your birth partner to get it, there are likely a whole bunch of folk you know that would pop to the shops and bring it up for you. Thirdly, you can always pack a second, more robust bag which you can leave in the car (this is what I did).
On to the hospital bag essentials then. This isn’t a definitive list, just my thoughts. There are tons of these list online and you can combine them to suit yourselves.
- Your hospital notes and birth plan (if you have one)
- A couple of loose nightie or t shirt type things to wear during and after labour. Remember you wont be wearing pants for labour. I’ll be honest, I started in a nighty. I ended nakey
- Comfy bras/crop top bras. I actually didn’t don a bra until I was leaving. For instance, I wore a tank top and my maternity leggings the rest of the time (had to stay in with both of mine)
- Speaking of knicks, I highly recommend the extremely unsexy, black cotton granny panties. Go big. Moreover, you wont want anything compressing and remember you will be wearing a sanitary towel that could drain the Nile in the gusset. Pack 5 or 6 pairs
- The Nile draining maternity sanitary towels. Or super absorbent sanitary pants
- Similarly, breast pads. Wet milky tatas are uncomfy
- Your washbag. To save space I’d get travel sized everything
- Lip balm, it’s real warm and lips get dry
- A big dark coloured towel.
- Dressing gown and slip on slippers.
- Snacks and drinks. Specifically a water bottle you can drink from easily whilst at an angle
- A loose comfy outfit for going home. No time for glamour here, be comfy
- Any medication you take
- Hair elastics and brush if you have long hair
- Glasses/contact lenses
- A change of outfit for your birthing partner in case it’s a long one
- Stuff to keep you and your birth partner entertained if there are times when not a lot is going on. Cards, magazines, books, earphones for music, tablet etc.
It’s a lot of stuff to pack and that’s just for you! After you have given birth moved to the ward, there isn’t a lot of space for stuff. Pack light essentials, have a second bag in the car for the overflow and spares. If you don’t have a car, that’s cool, just squeeze in what you can. I used a carry on bag so it was easy to keep out of the way when the midwives are doing their rounds and checks. Above all, the NHS also has a hospital bag list. Click here to go to the NHS page. In conclusion, there isn’t anything that can not be resolved one way or another if you forget it.
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