Getting your bag all packed and ready for hospital (if that’s where you’ve decided to have your bubba) is such a milestone in your pregnancy. This growing a baby business suddenly gets very real as you start gathering all the bits and bobs you’ll want and need to ensure you have the best experience possible when you arrive at your birthing centre. You might be a total Last Minute Mary (that would be moi!), and start packing when your waters break, or you might be an Uber Organised Olivia (like Rach) and have the bag packed and ready to go before the bump has even popped. Upon reflection, I would probably recommend the latter!
Obviously, every mama will be different, and your hospital ‘list’ will reflect your own specific needs and preferences, but if you’re looking for a check list to give you a good starter for ten, we’ve put one together for you.
Snacks! Giving birth is bloody hard work and most hospital food is far from appetising, so make sure you bring some tasty snacks with you to keep you going both before and after you give birth. There will of course come a time in labour when tucking into a packet of Hobnobs is not such an appealing idea, but in the early stages a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit can be quite a comforting prospect. Bananas, mixed nuts, cereal bars and peppermint teabags were on my list!
Not for every mama, but I found music massively helpful as I progressed through labour with my second baby. Listening to my favourite house tracks helped to keep me relaxed both mentally and physically and I was very glad of my Spotify playlist in those first few hours. The more comfortable and at ease you feel as you prepare to welcome your tiny bundle, the better your birthing experience will be. Hands in the air as you breathe through those contractions!
Something comfy to give birth in. If you’re planning a water birth, a maternity bikini top or sports bra will be ideal and if you’re in a birthing centre or labour ward, opt for something like a big comfy t-shirt or maternity vest.
Dressing gown, towel and slippers.When it’s all over and baby is snuggled safely in her bassinet beside you, you will probably want a shower! Having things from home like your own fluffy towels and dressing gown will be a real comfort. Personally, I couldn’t wait to brush my teeth. It’s a thing with me – brushing my teeth restores order in my world!
Essential oils.Creating a relaxing and safe space in which to give birth is so important to the overall experience. I brought my essential oils vaporiser and filled the room with the soothing scent of lavender mixed with peppermint. I then popped a few drops of lavender onto a super soft face cloth and breathed it in every time I felt a contraction coming on. Not what you’d call pain relief but very pleasant nonetheless!
Water spray.I gave birth to my last bubba in the middle of a heat wave, and man was it hot in that hospital. A quick spritz of water on the face or the back of the neck when you’re starting to get hot and bothered is so soothing. Make sure your birthing partner has it to hand and just wave at them when you need it!
Sanitary Towels.The ones provided by the hospital or birthing centre are usually pretty bulky and not the most comfortable things to wear against your tender lady bits, so bring your own as well. It’s the little details like this that will make the post-birth experience much more comfortable for you.
Breast pads. Your milk might not come in before you leave the hospital but just in case you have to stay a few days, have breast pads at the ready. Even if you’re not planning to breastfeed there will probably be a little bit of leakage!
Nursing bras. Your boobs will be massive and all over the place so bring a few good quality nursing bras to give those puppies some decent support and allow you to feed your baby without too much kerfuffle. And if you’re not breastfeeding, they’ll be way more comfy than normal bras at this stage. Post-partum boobies are tender!
Phone charger. Something I usually forget no matter where I’m going!
Your maternity notes. Again, something I left the house without and had to go back for!
Change for the carpark – just in case you can’t pay with your card.
Things for the bubba
Hat and scratch mittens
Muslin cloths – lots of!
Nappies and nappy sacks
Car seat suitable for a new-born. And if you’re planning to get a taxi home, practise fixing it into someone’s car beforehand, so you know how it works. We got a taxi home from the hospital when I had Ollie and neither of us had a clue how the bloody thing worked! There was much swearing.
This is such an exciting time and being prepped and all set to go means you can enjoy the last few days of your pregnancy knowing you are as ready as you’ll ever be for the crazy, wonderful, life-changing adventure that awaits. Good luck!
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