Are you expecting a baby? As your due date draws nearer, you may be dwelling on the details of the foreseeable. Whether you have your induction day booked or you just want to be extra prepared for when your baby decides to make an appearance, an organised hospital bag is a necessity.
Your time in hospital should be as comfortable and convenient as possible, and sometimes, babies are impatient. Keeping a bag of essentials handy for when the time comes will save you or your birthing partner from rushing around stuffing a bag with whatever you can lay your hands on at the last minute. Here is a rough guide of items you may wish to pack.
Birth Plan and Hospital Notes
You may wish to make notes of your feelings and priorities concerning labour, in which case, a structured birth plan will help you feel confident and reassured. Although not every parent makes one and not every birth goes according to plan, it gives your medical team documentation to consult. It could also contain details of your medical history and wishes regarding pain relief and delivery practices.
The bottom line of labour clothing is comfort. You might want to simply wear your hospital-issued medical gown; however, many parents opt for an old t-shirt or nightdress for an element of soothing familiarity. Either way, pack several changes of loose-fitting pyjamas or loungewear sets so you can feel clean and comfortable throughout your stay - old joggers, baggy t-shirts, dressing gowns, anything you can relax in.
Packing a wash bag with all the necessary toiletries will help you feel fresh. Labour is invariably messy, so make sure you bring your body wash, shampoo, toothbrush, deodorant and any other hygiene products you might need. Your hospital will provide you with the basics, but you may prefer to have your own products handy. Pack any prescribed medication into your wash bag for easy access when needed.
Books or Magazines
Your labour might be a lengthy process. Having something to help you relax and pass the time will make your stay much more pleasant. Many midwives suggest reading a book, magazine or listening to a podcast to take your mind off any discomfort or pain. Mindful colouring books also help to reduce stress and calm the mind.
The most joyful part of organising your hospital bag is packing your newborn baby’s clothes. Again, your hospital will provide the basics, but you may want to bring an extra-special coming-home outfit. Organic baby clothing made from cotton is soft, breathable and kind to your little one’s skin. Consider stretchy jumpsuits, tops with envelope necklines and plenty of layers to keep them warm on the journey home.
Suppose you’ve forgotten something or have a craving for specific food and need to contact a friend or family member to deliver it. Ensure you pack an extra long charging cable or a power bank. Keeping your phone charged and functional will not only allow you to be in touch with whoever you need throughout the course of your labour, but it’ll also provide internet access and music/podcasts to keep you occupied.
Your hospital will be able to provide adequate towels and blankets, but again, labour can be messy, and you may need all the towels you can spare. Bring several old towels or blankets you don’t mind throwing away afterwards.
Snacks and Drinks
For many mothers, labour is an exhausting and strenuous procedure. Stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up by drinking plenty of water and taking regular snack breaks. Healthy convenience foods like fruit, cereal bars, wholemeal sandwiches and veggie sticks will help keep you going while keeping nausea at bay.
Other Baby Essentials
As well as clothing, ensure you bring plenty of nappies, wipes and muslin cloths. A large, versitilie blanket will double up as a swaddle and breastfeeding cover for those first-time heartwarming bonding sessions. By this point, you’ll probably be aching to get your little one home, so remember to bring a suitable newborn car seat for a safe journey.