LABOUR LUGGAGE - WHAT TO PACK FOR A HOSPITAL BIRTH

08:26 Hayley Brockie-Dunlop 2 Comments

AND NO, IT WON'T FIT IN A "BAG"


One week old and still in hospital, thank goodness I didn't pack light!

It took me all of five minutes to realise that the items specified on the squillions of lists available out there detailing what to pack for hospital was never going to fit in a stylish weekend bag unless you have a magic Mary Poppins one. So the fact that this assortment of essential items is commonly referred to as a "hospital bag" is completely misleading. It also makes you feel as if you must be overpacking when you realise that the only vessel which will contain what you actually need for giving birth is probably the biggest suitcase you own.

My advice? It's better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. And if you get anyone joking with you about "moving in" just bear in mind that there is indeed a chance that you might be there for a little while. I stayed in hospital for eight nights in the end and even then I had to dispatch relatives to my house and the shops for some extra bits and bobs.

Now, I was originally going to ramble on below about all the things to pack, but if you're reading this because you'd like a list of what to pack for hospital then that's what I'm going to give you: an actual list. A list you can download and import into your own baby spreadsheet amongst the dozens of other tabs (oh, was that just me then?).

HERE IS THE LIST.

If you can't access it feel free to get in touch and I'd be happy to email it to you instead.

Here are some footnotes to the list:

When to pack
I had most things packed by week 34 and the bags were zipped up and ready to go by week 38 (which is when I was certain I would give birth...cue three weeks of sheer boredom).

What to pack in
We packed in a giant wheely suitcase and a backpack. In one half of the suitcase was my stuff, in the other half was stuff for the baby, and the "technical backpack" as it came to be known was effectively the labour kit - money for taxi, mobile phones, camera, iPod, food, drink and anything else we needed to be able to access quickly before the baby arrived. Basically, if it involved batteries or calories, it went in the technical backpack. I packed the suitcase and I put my other half in charge of the gadgety bits, though I did ensure he knew where everything was in the suitcase, too.

Baby clothes
Do consider packing a couple of sizes in case you have a particularly small or big baby. And don't spend a fortune on a "going home" outfit for the baby unless you're particularly desperate to do so. They'll look cute in a plain little sleepsuit and hat!

Your clothes
Similarly, don't spend a fortune on fancy birthing nighties either. Get yourself down to Primark and pick up a few cheap ones. And bear in mind you'll still have a big tummy when you leave hospital so those maternity joggers have some life in them yet (in my case, for an additional five months...).

Food and drink
We never did master what food and drink to pack, and due to my relatively quick labour I think all I managed was a few sips of Lucozade and nibbles of breakfast biscuits in the end. There are some better ideas here (because everyone has a naan bread to hand, right?!).

Formula
I've read more than once that if you take formula with you to hospital you're "setting yourself up to fail" at breastfeeding. This displeases me. After I gave birth I wasn't with my baby, so didn't even have the chance to fail, let alone succeed! Yes, hospitals do provide formula, but they'll only give it to you if absolutely necessary and it's treated a bit like a controlled substance. If you're in hospital for any kind of prolonged stay after giving birth, as I was, having a few ready-prepared bottles saves you (or your partner) having to go through the rigmarole of pleading - quite literally - for more formula at the ward's front desk 3am in the morning. Aptamil do good little bottles which come with pre-sterilised teats. 

Nursing bra
I know I keep banging on about them, but these are the best ones for immediately after giving birth *looks down top* and I'm still wearing it six months down the line.

Car seat
We don't have a car but, unless you're planning to walk or get the bus home with your newborn, you'll need a rear-facing car seat for the journey home.

Why the hell do I need to take a sieve?!
If you're planning on a water birth (or, like me, want to use the birthing pool for a little while without actually giving birth in it), there's not really much extra you need to pack, though you might want to wear a bikini top (I just kept my sleep bra on). Some hospitals are grateful if you bring a sieve to donate to their collection. The less said about that the better, but use your imagination...(hint: it's not for the baby).

Can you think of any other essential items I've missed off the list? Feel free to comment below!

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