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 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'.

Image by KAL VISUALS
 
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BIRTH BAG PACKING

 

Relaxation


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


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 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.

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.  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)


soap


deodorant


lip balm (dry lips are common)


other toiletries (ie contact lenses if needed).  


facemask


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 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. 

Baby


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

RASPBERRY LEAF TEA

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

Organic, plastic free

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

 

Vegan Family Guide

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