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Wherever you’re planning to give birth, it’s a good idea to pack a hospital bag in advance. Even if you’re planning to give birth at home, there may be a need to transfer to hospital so it is good to be prepared.

What you might want in your hospital bag 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, 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.

What to pack for after the baby is born

  • Following birth, natural or caesarian, 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. Pajamas or a nightdress with buttons down the front are useful for skin-to-skin and breastfeeding. Slippers and a nightgown to keep you warm are also a good idea.
  • Your breasts will swell after giving birth so it’s a good idea to pack two large 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.
  • It is worth having your hospital bags packed in advance and left in the vicinity of the front door so they can be grabbed in a flash. By including your partner in the packing process they will be able to locate things for you when you request them.
  • 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 the baby will need in the hospital bag

  • Packing a bag for the baby you haven’t met yet is fun if not a bit surreal!
  • Pack six vests, six babygrows, 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.

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