- Women's Health»
Things to Pack for Hospital when Having a Baby
Packing your Bag Before Delivery
When you are in the final trimester of your pregnancy, it is a good idea to start planning on what you will take to hospital. Even if your pregnancy has been straight forward, prepare your bag in case of an early labour. If you wish to have a home birth, have a few things in a bag on the off chance of any complications and you have to be taken in.
Who do I need to pack for?
It may be a good idea to take two bags. Take one for your labour and one to go on the maternity ward after you have had your baby.
You will need things for your labour and birth, your aftercare and things for your newborn baby. You may wish to go home after having your baby, but make sure you have plenty of things in case you have difficulties and need to stay a while longer.
Always prepare for complications as birth cannot always be planned. You could have problems with breastfeeding and need extra support in hospital or your baby may need to stay in longer due to illness or infection.
As well as having all you need for yourself and your new baby, you will also need a few bits for your birthing partner. It could be a long labour and your partner will need to be comfortable.
Don't take more than you need!
It can be easy to get carried away when packing your bag. You may worry about your labour and feel you must pack everything, or get excited and pack all your baby’s best outfits.
Some hospitals allow things that others do not, so check with them before you’re due to go in. If you plan on using birthing equipment and want to bring your own, again check you are permitted and ask what they can provide.
What goes in my maternity bag?
There are basics you will need in your maternity bag for hospital, although you can add some extra things in there if you wish.
- Birth Plan
Some hospitals will respect your birth plan, whilst others may dismiss it. If you have a plan or just an idea of what pain relief you want make sure it’s researched beforehand.
- Nightdress, Large T-Shirts, Dressing Gown, Slippers
When you go into labour, you’ll want to put on something comfortable. An old t-shirt or nightie will be fine, especially if it gets stained. Take a spare one for when you are on the ward with buttons down the front if you plan to breastfeed.
A lightweight dressing gown will be helpful before birth (if you are pacing up and down the corridor) and when you are on the maternity unit. Just throw it over your nightdress when you head to the toilet or shower.
- Birthing Equipment, C.D’s, Socks and a hairband for Labour
If you plan on using a birth ball or tens machine, bring it along if the hospital cannot provide you with one. If you are using the birthing pool discuss this before your labour so you can decide if this is right for you. You can then bring all you need, such as towels and swim wear for your birthing partner.
Your birthing partner will need a change of clothes if he or she is with you for a long time. They can also massage you to help with your labour pain, so take some massage or baby oil.
Most people like to listen to calming music in hospital so bring in a CD or your MP3 player.
Some women can experience cold feet when they go into labour, so have a pair of socks handy. Lip balm is useful for the use of gas and air as your mouth can feel dry. Face wipes can be refreshing as well and tie back long hair with a hair band.
- Watch, Mobile Phone, Books, Magazines, Camera
Labour can be a long experience and if you manage to get some rest, you and your birthing partner may want to read a book.
A watch or a smartphone with a clock will help time your contractions and space in between.
You will also want your camera for before and after photographs, especially of your gorgeous baby.
What do I need after I have my baby?
You will need things for yourself after you have you baby, which include:
- Maternity pads
- Breast pads
- Nursing bras
- Toiletries (body wash, flannel, towel, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste)
- Disposable or old big Knickers
- Nipple Cream (if you breastfeed)
- Snacks (you will get hungry, especially if you breastfeed)
- Comfortable clothes and something to wear going home
- Shoes or sandals (In case your feet swell with water)
What do I need for my baby?
- Nappies in new born size
- Cotton wool, baby lotion, nappy rash cream (some hospitals like you to clean your baby using cotton wool and water, rather than baby wipes)
- Baby blanket or shawl
- Baby grows and vests (about 3)
- Baby going home outfit and hat
- Scratch mittens (or baby nail clippers if the nails are very long)
- Baby towel
- Baby shampoo and wash
- Socks and booties
- Coat or Snow suit for the winter
- Baby car seat
You may want to pack plenty of items or just a few of the basics. Just be prepared for the space you have (you may just have a small locker for your bag).
The hospital may provide you with many things too. Baby toiletries, bowls for washing baby and bottles of ready made formula may all be there.
You will often be given a few free samples of baby cream and baby bath. If not, take your shampoo’s in travel sized bottles to save space.
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If you are pregnant or planning a family, you will have to consider your birthing options. Deciding on having pain relief in labour can be a tough decision as you want what is best for you and baby. Here are a few options to help.
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© 2012 Emma Kisby