Even if you are planning a homebirth it is always a good idea to pack a bag for the hospital just in case. As with the birth of my son, things don’t always go according to your birth plan and you may find you have to go into hospital for some or all of your labour and birth. I never really found a good list of things to pack so I’ve put together my own, I hope some of you will find it helpful!
Things for the mum to be:
Your birth plan and maternity notes
Dressing gown – you might be wondering around the labour ward for quite a while
A couple of nighties (if you plan to breastfeed you might want to make sure you have some that make this easier)
Slippers or flip flops
Socks – your feet can get really cold in labour
Snacks for you and your birth partner – try to avoid sugary snacks and stick to things like bananas and wholegrain bars that will give you more sustained energy. Don’t forget bottles of water or juice. Go for ones that are easy to sip from, not cans
Swimsuit for you and your partner if you are planning a water birth. If you are not planning a waterbirth make sure you have something comfortable to labour in. An old T Shirt and jogging bottoms are fine – keep in mind that whatever you wear may get a bit messy
A change of clothes for when you go home. Don’t expect to go back to your old pre-maternity clothing as soon as your baby is born. I’m afraid it takes a bit longer than that!
Nursing bra and breast pads. Reusable breast pads work out far cheaper than buying disposable ones
Big comfy pants or disposable pants
Take your own towel, it’s unlikely the hospital will provide one
Large sanitary towels
Camera (don’t forget to make sure batteries are charged!)
Toiletries, including deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush etc. Lip balm is also a good idea as you may get dehydrated. If you have long hair you might want to take hair bands etc to keep it out of the way when you are in labour – it’s amazing the little things that can annoy you when you are having contractions!
Items needed for baby
Baby clothes, including hat, scratch mittens, 2 – 3 baby grows and vests
Blanket for baby
Washable or disposable nappies and wet wipes. Don’t forget you can get washable wet wipes too!
Muslin squares – great for mopping up sick and dribble
A going home outfit, don’t forget a snowsuit or similar if the weather is cold
Don’t forget, you will also need your baby car seat. You won’t be allowed to leave the hospital without it
Other items you might want to take:
Ear plugs! It can be impossible to get any rest in hospital because of the comings and goings all night long, don’t worry you will still hear you baby if he/she cries
Herbal teas – chamomile is particularly good for it’s soothing and calming properties
Essential oils – try lavender or Bergamot. You can either add a few drops to some carrier oil and use as a massage oil, or place a couple of drops on a tissue and inhale or sniff the oils. There is a really good article on which oils to use during pregnancy and labour here.
An ipod or some other kind of music player, along with your own choice of music. This can really help with distraction and relaxation
TENS machine. If you plan to use one it is advisable to take your own as the hospital may not have one available
Arnica tablets. I swore by these after my second birth. I recovered from stitching and bruising far quicker than I did after my first baby was born when I hadn’t taken them. They are homeopathic so perfectly safe for you to take whilst pregnant or breastfeeding. You can start to take them when you go into labour
Telephone numbers and change (or your mobile phone) for those all important phone calls at 2 am!!
Was there anything else you found useful to have while you were in hospital? Was there anything you desperately missed that you would recommend taking?