Over my years as a midwife, I've seen lots of families walking through the birthing suite doors carrying what looked like everything but the kitchen sink. Now I agree there are some essential items that you just can't do without especially a clean pair on undies and your tooth brush but what else should you pack in your hospital / labour & birth bag to make you feel comfortable; Plus when should you start packing?
To make things easy I've suggested a checklists for two bags. One for labour & birth & the other for your postnatal stay with your new baby.
Labour and Birth Bag checklist
- Comfortable clothing that allow you freedom to mobilise whilst in labour
- Bikini top or sports bra if you're considering using a hydrotherapy pool or water birth
- Old underwear or disposable knickers
- Massage Oils & lip balm
- Water bottle with sipper cap because labour is thirsty work & you can dehydrate easily
- Lap top (down load your favoruite movie or series before you go). This helps to pass the time espeically during an Induction of labour or longer stay.
- Playlist on your phone
- Phone charger ( with a long cord if possible)
- Snacks for you & your birth partner
- Hair ties or head band
Post-Natal bag checklist
- Witch hazel Relief spray for soothing your sore or bruised perineum post birth
- High waisted dark underwear, you may want to consider soft disposible
- Sanitary pads although most hospitals / birth centres provide these.
- Comfortable loose fitting clothes
- Breast feeding friendly tops (if choosing to breastfeed) with easy front opening
- Comfortable bra & resuable breast pads, these are softer & more absorbant
- Nipple balm, hydrogel discs or silverette cups
- Toiletries to include deodorant, soap, shower gel, shampoo conditioner. Choose somthing with no or little fragrance to not interrupt the natural smell of you
- Tooth brush & tooth paste
- Hair brush & extra hair ties. Many hospitals/ birth centres will have a hairdryer
- PJ's for over night stays
- Fluffy Sock or slippers to keep your feet warm
- 3- 5 singlets, body suit/ baby grows
- 3 cardigans
- Socks, mittens and a hat
- Nappies New born, although most hospitals/birth centres provide one pack
- Perfume free water wipes or reusable cloth wipes. These are also great to mop up spills or to use as burp cloths.
- Marino or woollen Blanket
- Cotton or muslin wrap / swaddle
- Going home outfit
- Car seat - make sure you're had a trial run of how everything works before you head home.
- Extra blanket for the car ride home, espeically if giving birth in winter months.
Most midwives recommend having your hospital / labour & birth bags packed around 28-32 weeks of pregnancy because no one really knows when you'll go into labour, But don't worry if you suddenly go into labour & you've not finished packing your bags or you've forgotten something, the chances are there is someone who could bring it to you.
I wish you all the very best for your labour & birth, remember it's your journey & your story. Happy packing Clair xxx