Antenatal Advice: Perfect Packing for Labour and Birth
One of my very favourite “jobs” when my babies were on the way, was packing my bag for hospital. As a midwife I had some inside info but still felt a little bamboozled by all the gear! After years working on the labour ward and a couple of trips on the other side, I think I’ve got it down to a tee! Let me know if you think of anything else!
Pack two bags. One for the delivery suite (think overhead locker size), and one for the postnatal ward. The second one can stay in the car until little one arrives. Leave your “going home” outfits for you and baby, not forgetting a jacket for you and a blanket for baby, in your baby’s car-seat. This way it’s ready for your other half to come and collect you both. You don’t need to have everything with you from the start. Practice using your car-seat well in advance by the way!
Labour ward bag
- Water bottle. Keep hydrated, you’re in for a work out!
- Hair ties to keep your hair off your face and neck, chances are you’ll feel hot!
- Some face clothes to help you keep cool.
- Some cotton night dresses with buttons that open at the neckline wide for that magical skin to skin! 3 is usually a good amount. One to give birth in and one to change in to and a spare.
- Fresh underwear. Black ones in a LARGE size. I’ve genuinely never seen any pregnant women have any luck with those disposable pants, they’re tiny. Get to Penneys and get some Bridget Jones cotton numbers. The glamour.
- A mini shower gel, lip-balm, facewash, tooth brush, toothpaste and travel sized deodorant. Don’t cart your best make-up to the labour ward, you will give zero figs about mascara when you’ve just birthed a human.
- Flip flops, you might spend some of your labour in a shower and it’s great to have some good non slip foot wear. These are great for nipping to the loo or shower after baby arrives and can be rinsed and dried quickly as they may get a little blood on them.
- Two full baby outfits packed in separate sandwich bags. Nappy, vest, baby-gro, cardigan in newborn size = up to 3.5kg and the same again in 0-3 months = up to 5kg. Your birth partner will be able to quickly whip these out after skin to skin time to get baby dressed and cosy. There is NO ONE as flustered as a new Dad trying to remember what a vest is. The two sizes are a good plan because sometimes the newborn sizes are just too tiny. Bring another three nappies and some cotton wool for a couple of changes.
- Cosy hats for baby. Remember your little love has been steeping in a body temperature bath of the last 40 ish weeks. They cool down very quickly when they’re born and it’s essential to help them maintain their body temperature. Warm hats are very important. If you don’t know the sex of your baby, taking a pink and a blue hat in your labour bag is a fun way to take a pic and show your family they’ve arrived!
- The tech! Chargers for your devices, a camera, a little wireless speaker for music, a small atomiser if you like some aromatherapy and some headphones if you want to zone out to music or relaxation tracks.
- Birth-partner survival. Give your fella, your missus or your birth-partner an allocated small space or pocket in your bag, for snacks, socks, jocks, money, travel cup and a warm jumper or hoody, they could be in for a long night. They aren’t allowed complain about being hungry, cold or tired so tell them to bring what they need!
Essentials only and just enough for 24 hours, the average hospital stay after birth. If you have a planned section, think 3 days. If you have an unplanned section, you can get more stuff brought in from home. A big bag is cumbersome for you to take things out of and in most maternity hospitals, storage space is minimal.
- Fresh nightdresses x 2
- Toiletries from labour bag.
- Non wired bra or breastfeeding bra if you’re breastfeeding.
- Socks and slippers.
- Nappies and cotton wool
- Baby grows X 4
- Vests x 4
- Warm hats x 4
- Cardigans x 2
- Cellular (breathable) blankets x 2
- You won’t need any “kit” for feeding, either bottle or boob.
- Phone charger.
Hope this is helpful!
The antenatal phase can feel long, it’s lovely when the real preparation can begin and it all starts to feel real!!