To pack or not to pack
Packing your hospital bag may feel like a bit of an unexpected pregnancy milestone. It needs to be ready in case you go in to labour early, however may people put it off as it can feel quite overwhelming. Here are our 5 top tips for packing your bag.
Food and drink
A supply of food and drink is critical to keep your energy up during labour and once baby has arrived. Suggestions of great food to have to hand are; flapjacks, mini cheddars, sweets to suck, Haribo, energy sweets, chocolate or natural energy balls. Keeping hydrated will help increase your energy too, so having coconut water, water, or squash in your bag is key. If your labour is long you might also want a bottle of Lucozade for when lack of sleep is starting to take its toll and your energy is really starting to dip.
Don’t forget straws too, as they make it much easier to drink in whatever birthing position you find most comfortable. Plus using a straw relaxes your jaw and the jaw and pelvis are linked. Relaxed jaw = relaxed pelvis and potentially meeting your baby sooner.
For labour, items to keep you comfortable, such as lip balm for cracked lips and hair ties to keep you hair off your face, are really important. Distraction items, such as music in headphones, pictures and magazines to peruse or sensory items, like ice cubes to suck on or crunch during contractions, can also help keep you calm.
Depending on the type of birth you are planning for, you might like to take some slightly different items. If you are planning a water birth you might want to bring with you some old towels to put under your arms/knees because they can get a bit sore if you’re leaning on them for a long time. If you want a calm, relaxed environment, you could bring battery-powered candles to create a soft glow in the room rather than having the overhead lights on.
For after birth, maternity pads are vital, with the more absorbent and fatter the better to provide some cushioning when you’re sitting down. Even if you have a C-section, you’ll still bleed a lot. Breast pads and nipple cream are also important if you are planning to breastfeed, in ensuring you are as comfortable as possible.
You can also have a think about what to wear after birth. Many find buttoned nighties useful for easy access for breastfeeding/skin on skin and if you need a catheter you won’t be able to wear PJ bottoms. Day to day toiletries in miniature bottles will also make you feel more at home.
There are a number of key items you need to pack in your bag. The first are babygrows for baby to wear when they are born. Bring a few newborn size outfits and one 0-3 months outfit, just in case baby is bigger than expected. A hat is also needed for when you take them home, as the temperature difference in and outside the womb is great.
You’ll need a lot of nappies in those early days, so remember to take some newborn and size 1 nappies, nappy cream and water wipes.
Finally muslins are required for mopping up milk and spills and blankets for keeping baby warm during skin on skin time.
Remind your birth partner to pack items including a phone charger for music during the birth, taking pictures, messaging/calling friends and family, extra food and drink, as well as a change of clothes for them.
THE LUNA HIVE. PREGNANCY AND BIRTH SPECIALISTS, SURREY
We have a team of pregnancy and birth specialists in Surrey, such as antenatal teachers, hypnobirthing teachers and private midwives.