Packing for labour and birth will probably be one of the most exciting packing experiences you will ever undertake.
Of course, there are the bare essentials to prepare, not least your hospital notes and birth plan. Refer to our hospital bag checklist below to make sure you’ve got that side of it all wrapped up.
But there are a few luxury extras that can really help to take the edge off a long and taxing labour.
With a team of 16 and 22 babies between us (plus one on the way), the Hippychick team has a wealth of experience on this very subject.
Here are some of their most invaluable pointers for your hospital bag checklist.
Pack and repack by all means, as I always do before going on holiday. Really consider whether you really need that extra top and whittle down as necessary – remember space may be at a premium at your local hospital. But above all, have everything ready at least three weeks before your due date. Babies do come early.
If you don’t know the biological sex of our baby in advance, go for neutral coloured baby suits. Buy a couple of sizes. You can always take anything unused back to the shop where you bought it.
A facial spray is really refreshing, particularly if your baby is due during the summer months. I love the refreshing feel and scent of a rose water toner – you can buy them from health shops or off the internet.
Lip balm – I never go anywhere without my trusty Burt’s Bees but especially when I’m in labour – my lips always feel really dry and cracked.
A favourite pillow – is always reassuring and will provide extra comfort. A Hippychick travel pillow is small in size but big on comfort and rolls up to fit into a convenient pouch. It also has a removable, machine-washable cover.
If you don’t already have one, get a charging pack for your mobile. There may not be anywhere to plug in close to where you’re birthing!
I’ve literally just given birth to my first child so it’s all fresh in my mind!
Spritz for Bitz – this was a god send for me which I used every day several times a day for the first 2-3 weeks to sooth the stitches.
A desk fan – they do have them in hospitals but when I gave birth in Summer, they didn’t have any spare. It really helped me during labour and during the first few breastfeeds.
A towel – the ones they provided at my hospital are tiny and thin. A fluffy bath towel, rolled up to minimise the amount of space they take up in your bag will add a touch of indulgence to a hospital shower experience.
Flip Flops – the showers can be very wet under foot from over use so these are essential.
Energy bars will keep you going through labour. Stock up on the sort of bars you would eat before or after a workout in the gym. Flapjack bars with oats are my favourite.
A play list, just as you might have one for the treadmill, will really help to keep you focussed and motivated if and when the going gets tough.
Wireless ear pods are brilliant for saving you from getting entangled in wires, particularly if you’re writhing around during contractions.
Don’t forget to include a few bits and pieces for your partner, too. He’d eaten all my energy bars before we’d even got through the first ten minutes of admission to hospital.
And don’t forget your partner?
Scott (14 weeks away from attending the birth of his second child)
Last time I took nothing with me, except myself. This time, I’ll be taking change for the vending machine (strange concept in this modern world where cash is no longer king) but hospitals have vending machines that only take cash.
Pillow – hospital chairs are not the most comfortable, and a cricked neck is not what you want when you’re about to become a dad. I’ve already got a Hippychick travel Pillow ready to go.
A Push Present – yes it’s a thing. I won’t tell you what I’m buying her just in case she reads this. But I definitely think it will motivate her in the final stages – and anything that helps her, helps me, too!
Your Hospital Bag Checklist
- Your birth plan and hospital notes
- Loose and comfortable clothing (three outfits will allow for all eventualities). You can probably wear the same clothes before and after the birth (don’t imagine you will spring back to your original size immediately after birth – sadly it takes a little longer). Front opening garments will be a god send if you’re planning to breast feed.
- All you will need for breast feeding (if you are planning to) including a front opening nursing bra for ease and breast pads
- At least two packs of maternity pads.
- Forget pretty pants and thongs. Bridget Jones style pants that are comfortable to wear are a much more sensible bet. You can always chuck them away afterwards or save them for another birth. You can also buy disposable pants too if you’d prefer.
- A wash bag – toothbrush toothpaste (there’s nothing like brushing your teeth to make you feel refreshed) a hairbrush, deodorant and moisturiser.
- Some light reading that doesn’t require too much thought or concentration. Hello Magazine, is a good bet as opposed to War & Peace.
- Cosy, fluffy socks – believe us – you will need them at delivery stage!
- A loose-fitting nightie or long shirt. Don’t bother buying a new one as it will probably be ready for the garbage by the time you get home.
- A dressing gown and slippers
- Healthy, energy inducing snacks and a refillable water bottle.
- Baby Sleep Suit and hat, scratch mittens (and booties if it’s cold)
- Plenty of nappies
- A cellular baby blanket – Hippychick do a gorgeous cotton one made from cotton so non-scratchy and in a variety of stylish colours – at £16.95, you would be wise to invest in at least two so one’s available for use while the others in the wash.
- A bib or several muslins
- A car seat for the trip home