Bump Baby and Me: Packing your Maternity Bag for Hospital2nd May 17 | Family
Kathy from Bump Baby and Me guides you through getting organised before heading to the hospital
It’s that time again! Now that I am 35 weeks pregnant it’s time to start getting organised! Top of my to-do list is to pack my hospital bag. Once that’s done, I‘ll feel more at ease.
Steve took down a bag of newborn clothes from the attic, we picked out the unisex babygros, vests and blankets and they’ve all been washed. Some of the clothes are so tiny looking, it’s hard to imagine Ayla was ever that small! Seeing them again brings back lots of memories of her birth and our first few days in the hospital together 22 months ago! I’m starting to get really excited thinking that in the coming weeks I will, please God, have another healthy baby in my arms.
As space is tight in most maternity units, it’s a good idea to have 2 bags: One small bag that you can bring to the delivery room with the items you feel you will need initially and one that can be stored or kept in the car for when you are transferred to the postnatal ward.
Another good tip is to have your baby’s first essentials (nappy/vest/babygro/blanket etc) clearly marked in a large ziplock bag in your delivery bag, so it’s within easy reach for you/ your birth partner. *If you and baby are happy being skin to skin or feeding you can hold off dressing baby. Your body temperature regulates your baby perfectly !
Below is a list of items you might find useful for yourself, your birth partner and new baby…pick and choose to suit yourself!
Your Birth Preferences – Written or typed notes-What things would you like for yourself and your baby during and after labour?
Hospital Notes – Can be stored in the hospital/ your home. If they’re at home have them somewhere you’ll see them!
Birth Ball/ Yoga mat - Some hospitals have them, but you can bring your own.
TENS Machine - (Obi Tens/ Meditens/ Elle / Pulsar) Great tool for dealing with contractions (Obstetric TENs have a boost button)
Music & earphones - Build your ‘labour playlist’ on your phone, Mp3 etc. & have your GentleBirth App downloaded to keep you calm & focused. Earphones may come in handy on the postnatal ward too!
Some comforts from home to make you feel more ‘at home’ in the hospital. Your pillow, picture of your other children, some positive affirmations to keep you focused.
Dark coloured face cloth- can be used as a warm compress on your perinium.
Bottled water with a straw - Sipping from a straw takes very little effort.
Light snacks that are easy to eat and digest- for you AND your partner - It’s important to keep your energy up.
Some warm socks /slippers
Comfy PJ’s / Nightdress/Lounge wear/dressing gown - For labour (dark colour) and a change for afterwards. You want to feel nice and comfortable. Low/button-down tops are good as they allow ‘skin to skin’ with your baby. In labour it is nice to feel somewhat in control. When you are in your PJ’s you may feel less like yourself and more like a ‘patient’ so instead, think about a comfortable functional labour outfit.
Underwear - Bring a good few comfortable pairs.
Flip-flops - For the showers
Handheld Fan - So nice in labour or if the ward is warm
Towel - Dark in colour.
Toiletries: (Travel size will save on space) Cleanser, moisturizer, serum, make up, hand cream, shower gel, shampoo/conditioner, deodrant, hair dryer or dry shampoo, hair brush, bobbins, water spray for face (very refreshing in labour or on a warm ward).
Nursing Bra /vests and Breast pads if you choose to breastfeed.
Book/ Kindle/ Magazine/ Pen & notebook
Mobile phone/ charger
Health Insurance information (if applicable)
Maternity Pads - Hospital will have some but always good to have your own)
A squeezy bottle (peri-bottle): If you have stitches this can give relief when using the bathroom. It also helps to keep the area clean.
Arnica/ witchhazel- (always best to check with a practicioner before using these) Arnica -remedy to help with any bruising/ swelling. Witchazelisa natural, plant-based astringent known for it’s skin-soothing benefits
Comfy clothes to go home in.
For dad/ birth partner:
Change of top/clothes/ toiletries - Important for them to feel fresh too. (Top with easy access is a good idea so partner can have ‘skin to skin’ with baby also)
Change for parking and vending machines - (Tip: register for online parking- it may save on a lot of trips in and out or a visit from the clampers!)
Phone charger & enough storage on phone for lots of pictures and videos!
For your Baby:
Nappies- Brand of your choice. (I like Naty/ Beaming Baby eco-friendly nappies in the early days for newborn bums.)
Baby Blanket x2 - Instead of using the hospital blankets, more parents are bringing in their own blanket to the delivery room so their baby is put in something cosy & soft from the very beginning! Bring a second one too for afterwards.
Babygros 6-8 (prewashed. Button or zip up ones are handy)
Vests -6-8 (prewashed)
Cardigan x 2 (prewashed)
Cot sheet - (Optional -prewashed)
Muslin cloths/ bibs
Hat /mits - *Optional. Some babies miss the feeling of their hands around their face and it’s great for mum to smell their baby’s head (research says so too!)
Baby Towel- If you wish to wash your baby. Some parents prefer to wait a few days before washing off all that good stuff!
Cotton wool - Most hospitals avoid the use of wipes on babies however are generally ok with ‘Waterwipes’
Going home outfit
Car seat – (on the day you are leaving hospital)
Remember anything else you need / forget can be brought in the following day.
Lastly, a little note on preparing for your baby’s birth in your chosen hospital:
The National Guidelines for Obstetrics and Gynaecology are national guidelines for obstetric practice in Ireland. These guidelines are meant to provide guidance to the local policy of units in Ireland.
Recommendations in The National Guideline provides a starting point for women to open communication with care providers on various practice and to aide informed decision making. Recommendations are not compulsory. Your care provider can advise you, but it’s your decision on the day.
When making decisions or deciding on the possibility of using medical intervention in a non-emergency situation, it may be helpful for use the BRAIN acronym.
B: Benefits—What are the benefits of doing this procedure?
R: Risks—What are the risks involved?
A: Alternatives—Are there any alternatives?
I: Intuition—What is my gut feeling? Does this procedure make sense?
N: Nothing—What would happen if we did nothing or waited a while?
Some other useful resources:
You and your birth partners preferences and decisions should play an active part in your baby’s birth and by preparing yourself and educating yourself on what may be offered or available to you on the big day can help make your birth experience a really positive one.
To all of you waiting the arrival of your babies, the very best of luck. You’ve got this!
Kathy is passionate about all things surrounding birth, babies and parenthood. She also has a big interest in wellness, health & fitness.
She runs ‘Bump, Baby and Me’ – providing Pre & Postnatal classes & workshops in Malahide, Co. Dublin and LOVES working with mums, dads & babies. She is the proud mummy to a beautiful little girl, Ayla, and is expecting Baby No.2 this summer.