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What to Pack for Hospital & After Birth


Your hospital bag - what to pack!

The general rule of thumb seems to be that by 36 weeks it is advisable to have your hospital bag packed and ready to go (just in case!).

What to pack for the birth bit and after your baby is born:

1. Your birth plan and maternity notes (the yellow book).

2. Nightwear. For the birth itself, some women opt to wear an old nightdress/t-shirt as things can get a bit messy. Or you may end up wearing an NHS special, the good old backless gown! However, for the before and after you will be very glad you have packed some gorgeous maternity nightwear. A nightdress and robe are most useful as they allow for easy access. A couple of sets are advisable. Some Pjs are great too for after the event. And of course we know where you can find some gorgeous maternity nightwear right here..

3. Slippers. I took my Crocs (fashion road kill maybe, but super comfortable and practical and you can throw them in the washing machine when you get home) When you are pacing up and down for several hours (or more!) you will be grateful for something warm and easy to slip your feet in and out of.

4. Socks. Your feet can get a bit chilly when your in labour.. take some comfy socks with you just in case.

5. Lip balm. Don't forget your favourite lip balm! I'm a Carmex junkie and would have been lost without my little tub by my side throughout labour! I also have it on good authority that the Green Baby petoleum free jelly works wonders too! Pack a spare just in case you lose one or things could get ugly!

6. Snacks and drinks. This is important! I didn't bother with this as I assumed my husband could nip to the café or vending machine. Wrong!! I ended up being in over night and then to add to this joy I was induced at some ungodly hour of the morning. The café was closed throughout this time and the vending machines were miles away.. So take drinks, tasty snacks, chocolate for energy. Glucose tables are great too.. easy to eat and give you a little boost.

7. A hair band is a must have if you have long hair.. or something to scrape your hair back with.

8. Pillows. I know I didn't find the hospital pillows very comfy and was so glad I'd brought a couple from home.. I also took a fleecy blanket we keep at the end of our bed. This was lovely to have with me after the birth as my son and I ended up staying in for a few days so a little piece of home was comforting.

9. A Tens Machine (if you are planning to use one.) You can hire a tens machine through the NCT. Click here for more info

10. Toiletries. If you can, it is great to have a complete second set packed and ready so you don't have to fuss at the last minute! Don't forget your toothbrush!

11. Things to do/Music to listen to. As there can be some hanging around before things get moving, it is good to take some "stuff" to do. I was in overnight before they finally induced me and as they sent my husband home I was very grateful to my book and MP3 player for some company/distraction!

12. Maternity pads. Bring a couple of packs at least! They are huge and the boxes take up lots of room in your hospital bag but you will need them and it is horrible to run out in the middle of the night if you are staying in hospital after the birth! My preference is for the Natracare range (unbleached, no chlorine or synthetic materials).

13. Underwear - old knickers or "your period knickers" that you don't mind getting ruined! In case of a c-section the NCT sell some super comfy stretchy briefs that can be worn either over or under the scar. Don't forget to use your Melba discount code MelNCT10 at the checkout to get a cool 10% off

14. A going home outfit. Go for comfort and ease with this.. sorry to break it to you but most likely you will still be sporting a baby bump after the birth, albeit an empty one! So the chances are you won't be quite ready for your old skinny jeans quite yet. Why not try our gorgeous and super comfortable bamboo roll top trousers and a Melba camisole? If you plan to breastfeed, remember to pack a feeding top too. Why not try our lovely wrap style feeding top, available in black, raspberry or teal.

15. Planning a water birth? Then maybe good idea to pop a tankini/bikini top in your bag. Not essential but you may be glad of it.

For the birth partner:

Camera - you will be so glad you have this to take some snaps of those first precious hours with your new baby!! If you are planning on taking a camcoder, check with the hospital first as some won't allow them in the delivery room.

A change of clothes - you may be glad of a clean t-shirt after a while! Also remember you could be standing around for ages so wear comfy shoes!

A Watch with a second hand, to time contractions.

Swimwear, if you want to join the mum-to-be in a birth pool

Your phone charged and loaded with all the numbers of the people you will want to contact with the happy news!

For after the birth:

(If you are planning on breastfeeding:)
Take a book on breastfeeding. Comforting to have by you as a point of reference! I chose to be in a private room with my son and was feeding every couple of hours during the night. I was too tired to get out of the bed and ask for help so it was great to have my baby bible with me for a few pointers!
Nursing bras. You can find some fabulous nursing bras at Amoralia. And even better, use your Melba discount code P10MEL at the checkout and get 10% off.
Breast pads - hard to imagine needing these until the time comes. But they are a God send and prevent leakages/damp patches. Personally, I prefer the washable versions as they seem softer and gentler. Check out the NCT's great range of breastpads and creams here.
Toiletries - these are already listed under the labour section. But if you do stay in after the birth, don't forget shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, a hairbrush..
A notebook and pen - a very dear friend of mine suggested this (she has 3 children). Her reason? I love this, "So that you can write lists for your partner on what to bring you in hospital on his next visit and little jobs for him to do around the house."
Arnica tablets - the doctor in the hospital recommended I take these after I had my son - they were amazing. Great for any bruising that you can or can't see! They definitely helped speed up my recovery.

For your baby:

An infant car seat. Most hospitals won't let you leave by car without one.
An outfit for the trip home
Two or three sleepsuits and vests for baby to wear while you are in hospital. If you have to stay in hospital aftre the birth you will of course need more.
A Baby blanket. We love Greenbaby's organic cellular blankets available in natural, blue or pink. Use your Melba discount code Melba11 at the checkout and get 11% off your order!
A Hat (just for hospital and the journey home).
Jacket or snowsuit for winter babies.
Muslin squares.. great to drape over your shoulder when winding baby and for general clean up!

Here are a few caveats re. your hospital bag:

Hospitals can vary in their policies about what you are allowed to bring in with you when you have your baby. So it is wise to check with them first. Also, check what your hospital provides and what they don't have as you may, for example, wish to take extra pillows from home with you for extra comfort. Remember thought that you may not have much space when you are there.. again, it is worth taking a tour of the labour ward/birthing centre if you can so that you are prepared and comfortable when you do go into have your baby.)

Top Tip: Idea: You could pack two bags. One for the birth bit and the first few hours after your baby is born, and another just in case you need to stay in hospital for a few days. Good to be prepared!