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Bring lots of stuff

and birth registration

The main things I learnt were that Daddy needed a sleeping bag, sweets were handy and the NHS is fantastic.  I chose to bring two birth partners to the hospital, Daddy and Granny, which made a great team.  The staff treated them well. 

My pregnancy was 'very low risk', but the birth became an 'emergency'.  I was glad of all the natural water birth preparation I did, but especially glad once I had an epidural.  

A lot of emphasis is put on having the perfect birth.  Baby's life since birth has been much more noteworthy and character forming.  I think we've mostly forgotten how they came into the world as we're just grateful they're here.

Among women having their first pregnancy who opted for a home birth, 45% were transferred to hospital before or after delivery.  In hospitals, 34% of first time parents have a 'normal birth'.

Birth bag



There is a long time before the drugs become available so...

Labour and Birth Box- aromatherapy gift set

Hypnobirth book or class notes​

Remedies such as: arnica, homeopathic childbirth kit from Helios, Bach flowers (or other flower essence such as Findhorn or Perelandra), paracetamol  

Massage: suitable aromatherapy for pregnancy, handheld massager 

A TENS machine  

Birth stool or ball and pump if the hospital doesn't have.  I found this good for putting baby to sleep later.

One thing I didn't try is a rebozo

Extra pillows or even duvet​

Floor mat​ (I think we decided there wasn't space for all this in the bag, or even in the room)

Partner’s swimming gear for water birth/ your own bikini top if preferred

Be prepared to take drugs as well after all this...

Who you're gonna call

Your birth plan, hospital notes and pen​.  Have a plan B noted as well, and be prepared to follow neither plan.

Your hospital, midwife or doula’s phone number​ (the best phone number to contact the hospital in an emergency or routine labour​​)

Your partner or birth partner’s phone number

Your own hospital reference number, which is on your card or notes (you will be asked for this when you phone in)

Phone number for a taxi company which accepts people in labour​

Your phone

Phone charger

Battery pack/ portable charger


Car seat instruction video to the ready.

Contact details for breastfeeding support services

Links to breastfeeding videos or images in case you want to refresh your memory.  Do not expect help from the hospital, in my experience it would have been better not to ask. 

If I had my time again, I might note: feeds, nappies and sleeps on an app while staying in hospital.  This is purely so as I could answer questions from staff.  I wouldn't do it at home.

Torch app, or just a torch- handy for night feeds or when tumbling around for a light switch

Relaxation music/ hypnobirth/ guided mediation or breathing/ Abba etc


Any medications you are taking​​​​​

Healthy snacks- I enjoyed being fed sugar-free gummy bear sweets after labour. At other times I had bars or dried fruit, since they are easily packed and held in bed.​ (Try Greenbay or TheVeganKind vegan supermarkets).

Drinks/ water.  We brought containers to fill there.  A sports bottle or travel cup/ flask with straws, and small change for snack machine.  You can also buy bamboo straws - these are helpful when drinking in funny positions.  Before and since I have seen no need for straws.

Find out about hospital food beforehand.  Saying that, I was assured there were vegan and gluten free options but it didn't always work out that way.


Breast pads.  Our washing machine was broken by a reusable breast pad.  They quickly become a hassle but are handy at the start when you would have to keep changing clothes otherwise.

A couple of packets of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads.  You will be amazed how many you can get through.​ 

Towels​- I don't think we brought a towel- check what is there beforehand ​

A fan/ water spray/ flannel to cool you down​​

Earplugs and sleep-mask to use if birth partner is awake.  I don't remember needing these. I think I was tired enough and couldn't walk to my bag anyway.

Bed pads for if waters break at home prior to birth, or for after birth (when there could still be blood, sweat and milk everywhere).  Ours became a mat to go under the changing mat. 

hand sanitizer/ wipes

toothbrush and toothpaste

hairbrush, hairband, hair ties (for putting hair up if hot)



lip balm (dry lips are common)

other toiletries (ie contact lenses if needed).  


5 or 6 pairs of knickers – some sources also suggest disposable ones

Bin bag for dirty clothes​​​

'Something loose and comfortable to wear during labour that doesn’t restrict you from moving around or make you too hot (a nightdress or large t shirt), plus about 3 changes of clothes.'  This was on the list, but I was actually given a flappy thing to wear.  

2 or 3 comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras- fittings are suggested for these since your size changes.  (I have actually ended up preferring stretchy bamboo crop tops.​)

Front-opening or loose-fitting nighties or tops for breastfeeding,  For breast feeding more generally, I have have found wrap-over or low cut tops to be convenient in the day time, and pyjamas which gape at the top for night (I think they are called Grandad collars).  It turns out Baby doesn't like specially designed feeding clothes or a hoiked up shirt.  ​

Dressing gown and slippers/ flip flops/ socks- feet can get cold in labour​

A loose, comfortable outfit to wear home.  (You will still be fat as you lose stomach muscle)


Daddy said he should have brought more clothes for himself, as he felt a bit yucky after staying up for such a long time wearing the same thing in the chilly ward.  (I was in hospital for three nights.) ​

Sleeping bag or plenty of blankets for birth partner.  Daddy got a cold 'sleeping' on a chair.  The two blankets we brought were insufficient.  There were not the pillows and blankets as we were led to believe, and the chair wasn't really a recliner.  I think I slept in my dressing gown. 


Babygrows, vests and cardigans

Hats- Midwives we met had alternating very strong opinions for or against hats. ​

An outfit for going home in- a pram suit if it is cold​​

Plenty of nappies (I advise disposable) and cotton wool, or whatever you are going to use. Hospitals seem to prefer bringing cotton wool to wet wipes, but you have to look for the water and container yourself.  ​

A shawl or blanket

Muslin squares (we didn't really use these, except later to put on Baby's head to make them sleep)​

A car seat for the trip home- revise how to use this and have instructional video to the ready on your phone

Nail clippers or babygrows with mittens- our baby was born with talons and a scratched face

If you definitely plan to bottle feed- formula, bottles, cleaning soap and a flask of hot water.  Breastmilk takes a few days of constant sucking to come in, and would be curtailed by introducing formula.

Post partum handy things

A rubber ring to sit on and relieve pressure on stitches

Cranberry juice- for an immunity boost

Ibuprofen- midwives may suggest a course of this and paracetamol

Arthritis cream- handy when stuck lying in funny positions

Straws- can help drinking in funny positions

Flask- can keep drink warm while you forget to drink it

More maternity pads



Heath & Heather

Organic, plastic free

For the very end of pregnancy, with medical advice.  Read the Bolton NHS page and Royal College of Midwives

raspberry leaf tea clipper.jpg



Organic, plastic free

For the very end of pregnancy, with medical advice.  Read the Bolton NHS page and Royal College of Midwives

How to register a baby's birth

Useful link

Working families advice website

Adult birth certificate    

Additional birth certificates for an adult

You can also apply for birth and marriage certificates from the council where the registration took place.

Birth certificate 

Birth certificate/ birth registration

Register no later than 42 days after the birth.  It may be useful to have more than one certificate if you need them to apply for other things.  Register in the council where the baby was born.


the birth notification letter from the hospital or your baby’s red book

photographic identification (such as passport or driving licence) for each parent of the child that will be recorded on the birth certificate.

Baby information to provide:

the date and place of your baby’s birth (if you have twins, triplets etc. then the time of birth for each will also be required)

whether your baby is a boy or girl

the forenames and surname of your baby

You can choose any surname for your baby whether or not you are married but cannot change it later. The only way it can be changed is the process of re-registration.

Mother information to provide:

forenames and surname(s) (including any maiden surnames)

date and place of birth

usual address at the date of baby’s birth

occupation or previous occupation if not currently working

Father/ parent if relevant information to provide:

forenames and surname(s)

date and place of birth

occupation or previous occupation if not currently working

Certify a copy of something    

Post office (or lawyer depending what is specified).

UK Passport   

UK Passport


2 new photos of your child

the child’s full birth or adoption certificate (the one with parent’s details on it)

proof that your child has British nationality (for example a British registration certificate, parent’s passport details or parent’s birth certificates)

any valid passports from a different country belonging to the child

any court orders (for example, that describe parental responsibility or residency arrangements)


It should take 3 weeks to get the passport – use the 1 week Fast Track service if you need it urgently.


£49 online and £58.50 to apply with a paper form from the Post Office.


GP says does not sign passports

have known the person applying (or the adult who signed the form if the passport is for a child under 16) for at least 2 years

be able to identify the person applying, eg they’re a friend, neighbour or colleague (not just someone who knows them professionally)

be ‘a person of good standing in their community’ or work in (or be retired from) a recognised profession

They can’t be closely-related to or involved with the person applying, e.g.: related by birth or marriage, be in a relationship with or live at the same address as the person applying

Child benefit   


Child benefit


the birth certificate or adoption certificate for each child in this claim

– don’t send photocopies

extra pages you’ve filled in if you want to claim for more than 2 children

if any child in this claim was born outside the UK we also need to see their

passport(s) or their travel documents used to enter the UK

– don’t send photocopies


It can take up to 12 weeks to process a new Child Benefit claim (or longer if you’re new to the UK).

Claim Child Benefit as soon as your child is born or comes to live with you.

Child Benefit can be backdated for up to 3 months – make your claim as soon as possible.

If you don’t have the birth or adoption certificate, you should still send in your claim form – send the certificate later on when you’ve got it.  You don’t need the birth or adoption certificate if you’ve claimed Child Benefit before and are making a new claim for the same child.

Child tax credit 


Child tax credit


It can take up to 2 weeks for the claim form to arrive and up to 5 weeks to process a new claim.


Childcare vouchers- tax free, 15 hours, 30 hours, tax credits, universal credit





Doctor registration form

European Health Insurance Card- new version


Healthy Start




Maternity allowance


Maternity information from the government


Maternity leave TUC guide


Nappy voucher


Nursery funding


Prescriptions and dentist visits maternity exemption



Example of things you can register your baby for in Islington


Birth certificate/ birth registration if born in Islington or City of LondonCamdenHackneyHaringey


Doctor registration form


Nappy voucher

Scans, high quality photographs, or photocopies:

Proof of Identity – e.g Driver’s Licence, Passport or Birth Certificate;

Proof of Address – All recent (in the past month)

Proof of Pregnancy or Birth


Parking vouchers

Apply for your vouchers prior to the birth of your child

If you would like to apply for your free visitor vouchers before the birth of your child, you will need to complete an application form, which will need to be signed, dated and stamped by your midwife.

Children registered in Islington

If your child was born in Islington you will need to complete a voucher application form. The free vouchers will be sent to you within two working days on receipt of your full application. If you do not apply for the vouchers at the time of registering the child you will be required to send a copy of the birth certificate. You have three months from your child’s date of birth to apply for your free vouchers.

Children registered outside of Islington

If your child was born and registered outside of the London Borough of Islington you will need to provide a copy of the birth certificate. If your child was adopted you will need to supply a copy of the adoption certificate.


Birth registration
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