And now for the final piece of preparation before the big day … packing your hospital bag! We advise you have it ready by 36 weeks.
It can be difficult to know exactly what to take as very few of us know what kind of birth we are going to have and how long we will be in hospital for, but our failsafe list has been carefully compiled by talking to many women who have given birth recently.
Some items you will want to take in to the hospital when you go into labour, and some you can leave in car or get your husband or partner to bring after birth. We have placed an Asterisk (*) next to the items we think you should take in when you go into labour.
You may decide that it is easiest to have two bags- one for you and one for the baby, or one to hold things you will need immediately and another with additional items for a longer stay in hospital (which you could leave in the car).
Essentials for you
• Maternity Notes *
• 2-3 nighties, you may give birth in one, and you may have some heavy bleeding after the birth. We recommend some cheap ones in a large size! Straps or buttons down the front are useful if trying to breastfeed. *
• Lightweight dressing gown – avoid towelling as maternity wards are notoriously hot!
• J Cloth Pants * BIG ONES!!!
• Maternity sanitary towels. We really recommend Optimama Pure. Many of the super markets and chemists do their own brand but they are often uncomfortable and plastic and can make you feel very sweaty and sticky. *
• Flip flops or slippers for trips to the loo *
• Toiletries – bring what you would usually take for a weekend away: mini shampoo etc *
• Lip balm and mouthwash as your mouth may get very dry from the gas and air. *
• Hair band or hair tie as you may get hot and sweaty. *
• ipod/speakers. You may want to compile a play list for your birth. Be sure to include soothing music and more lively tunes as you do not know what kind of mood you will be in during labour! Many surgeons encourage you to bring music along for your C Section*
• Food. We recommend bananas, energy tablets or bars, chewy sweets, mints, small chocolate bars for you and your hungry partner during and after birth. *
• Camera/phone – charged! And don’t forget to bring the charger too *
• Extra pillows with coloured pillowcases so they don’t get mixed up with the hospital’s
• 2 nursing bras. Have a look at the Hot Milk website for inspiration
• Breast pads – we like Johnsons or Lansinoh.
• Anti Bacterial wipes for the communal bathroom
• Ear plugs/ eye mask for noisy/ bright ward
• Coloured towels
• Cash for food, drinks or the TV- some hospitals charge for this. Also keep some cash in your hospital bag for an emergency taxi to hospital*
• Nipple cream- we like Lansinoh but Vaseline is also good
• Trousers or leggings (maternity) with soft waistband for wearing home. M & S do good ones.
• Massage Oil
• TENS Machine – they are approximately £40 to rent, but for just a little more you can buy your own!
For the baby
• Newborn nappies. *
• Water Wipes as you may need something stronger that cotton wool when dealing with the baby’s first poo!
• Vests (NOTE..0-3 months are often too big for 6/7lb babies. Mothercare/John Lewis or most other shops do a newborn range) *
• Baby gros (see note above) *
• Scratch mits *
• Booties or socks (depending on the time of year your baby is born)
• Hat (as above)
• Cardigan or snow suit (as above).
• Swaddling cloth *
• Muslins *
• Car seat- make sure that your partner knows how to fit this before you even go into labour!
• Bottles and pre made formula in cartons if there’s a chance you might bottle feed
• Dummy- NEVER SAY NEVER!