Vegan Family Guide

London Children's Map

Plant based baby bants.  Top tips for vegan children, their parents or guardians.  London little one map of fun.

Shakspeare Walk, Stoke Newington, London, N16

Islington and Hackney Vegan Families group

BIRTH BAG PACKING

Bring lots of stuff

The main things I learnt were that Daddy needed a sleeping bag, sweets were handy and the NHS is fantastic.  I had two birth partners, Daddy and Granny, which made a great team.  My pregnancy was 'very low risk', but the birth became an 'emergency'.  I was glad of all the natural birth preparation I did, but probably more 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.

Image by KAL VISUALS
 

BIRTH BAG PACKING

 

Relaxation

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

  • Hypnobirth book or class notes​

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

  • Massage: massage oil (use the code LWW10 for 10% off at Funky Skincare), suitable aromatherapy for pregnancy, handheld massager 

  • A TENS machine  

  • Birth stool or ball and pump if the hospital doesn't have

  • 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)

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

  • Be prepared to take drugs as well after all that...

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

  • Earphones

  • 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

Food

  • Any medications you are taking​​​​​

  • Healthy snacks- I enjoyed being fed sugar-free 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 buy reusable straws from Ethical Superstore or Natural Collection- these are helpful when drinking in funny positions. 

  • 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.

Toiletries

  • 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 ​

  • 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. 

washbag

  • toothbrush and toothpaste

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

  • soap

  • deodorant

  • lip balm (dry lips are common)

  • hand sanitiser, and other toiletries (ie contact lenses if needed).  

Clothes

  • 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)

Partner

  • 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.  (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. 

Baby

  • Babygrows, vests and cardigans.  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 yourself.  ​

  • Muslin squares (we don't really use these)​

  • 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 plan to bottle feed- formula, bottles, cleaning soap and a flask of hot water

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 brink it

More pads