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Whether you’re planning to give birth in the hospital or at home, whatever the plan, it’s a good idea to pack a hospital bag in advance so that you are prepared for any eventuality.

Packing for labour

  • Hospitals can often be very warm places so it’s best to pack loose, light clothes and layers rather than big woolly jumpers, even if it’s cold outside.
  • You will probably get pretty sweaty and so a sponge or facecloth to help cool you down is a good idea.
  • You could be there a while, and you may want to relax or try to distract yourself so don’t forget to bring your phone, charger, iPad, camera and maybe some magazines or books.
  • Snacks and drinks for your birth partner are a good idea as you may not want them wandering off to find the cafeteria!
  • It is worth having your hospital bags packed in advance and left in the vicinity of the front door so if needed they can be grabbed in a flash. By including your partner in the packing process they will easily be able to locate things for you when you want them.

Essentials for after your baby has been born

  • Following birth, whether it was vaginal or caesarean, you are likely to be uncomfortable so it’s best to pack loose and light clothing. It’s also a rather messy time and so you probably don’t want to be wearing your favourite clothes. Comfy pyjamas or a nightdress with buttons down the front are useful for skin-to-skin contact with your baby and for breastfeeding. Slippers and a nightgown to keep you warm are also a good idea.
  • Your breasts will naturally swell after giving birth so you might want to pack two larger bras. It’s not uncommon to change your mind about how you want to feed your baby, so a breastfeeding bra gives you the flexibility even if you are planning to bottlefeed.
  • You’ll want to pack some big comfy cotton pants to make Bridget Jones proud. You could consider disposable ones to make things more convenient for the first few days, but they aren’t always as comfortable and you are likely to feel a bit tender.
  • Sanitary towels/maternity pads are also a must as you will bleed after birth.
  • You won’t know how long your hospital stay might be so pack a wash bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, hairbands, deodorant, and wet wipes and a towel.
  • You may want to think about how you intend to carry your baby. A lot of women like to use slings so that they can keep the baby close. Some hospitals may provide them but if you’re planning to use one, you may prefer to bring your own.

What baby will need

  • Packing a bag for the baby you haven’t met yet is fun if not a bit surreal!
  • Pack six vests, six baby grows, a hat, blanket and some outdoor clothes for when you go home.
  • A large pack of newborn size nappies is a must. Muslin squares can be useful too, protecting both your clothes and baby’s if they bring milk up after a feed.
  • A car seat is a must if you’re going home by car or taxi.

Everything every mum needs to know about the postnatal period can also be found in their The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums; a handy survival guide to becoming a new mum.

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