So while most of us are packing our suitcases for that Summer Holiday, many of you will be packing a bag for a completely different adventure……having a Baby!!
Your due date is fast approaching and labour is imminent. Denial is working no longer, this baby is coming out and it is time to pack a bag ready for the big occasion. Most people opt for two, purely because of the amount of things you need and it is a great way of staying organised. Rather than packing a baby and a mama bag though, packing a labour bag and an after bag can help your birth partner find the right things when you need them.
The Labour Bag
Labour can be short or long or a non-starter if you are going in for a planned c-section but whatever happens there are a few essentials you need.
1. Water and snacks
Taking a sports bottle of water or bringing a straw makes it easy to drink whatever position you find yourself in and for a natural labour pack some snacks for energy. Dates are supposed to be great for slow release energy, sugar and keeping your body stocked up on nutrients.
Labour wards are hot, birth is sweaty and you may find that a top knot is the best place for your hair pack a few hair bands so that you aren’t frantically searching between contractions.
3. Something to birth in
This may be a night dress, baggy tee or a bikini depending on the type of birth you want but pack something comfortable and that you don’t mind never wearing again.
4. Maternity notes and Birth preferences
That all important folder should have a space saved specifically at the top of your bag, but writing a sheet with your birth preferences is a great way to help the midwives give you the birth you want. Of course these things don’t always go to plan but if you don’t ask then you don’t get so if you want to use a homemade cord tie, have immediate skin to skin with your planned section or any other requests then make a note of them (as well as making sure that your birth partner is aware)
The After Labour Bag
1. Baby vests and sleepsuits (roughly 5 of each).
Even summer babies will need both as it takes their tiny systems a while to kickstart the temperature regulation controls. A vest and a sleepsuit is perfect baby attire and packing a few is best bearing in mind babies emit a lot of bodily fluids in the early days. A little hat and blanket are a great idea too, especially for leaving the hospital.
2. Comfy clothes for mama
Now is the time to splurge on some comfy (dark coloured) pjs. After labour your body is exhausted and putting on something soft and fresh feels so lovely. Pick a nightie that buttons up the front or pjs that are practical for nursing.
3. Nursing bras and breast pads
The ones that look like sports bras are ideal as they accommodate a bigger range of sizes and your boobs may not know what has hit them once baby arrives. Packing some breast pads is useful too although it may be a few days before your milk comes in.
4. Post Partum Pads and pants
Like sanitary towels, but much bigger, pack a lot as you may want to double up at the start. Pack some old pants, the bigger the better and ideally not white. You may not end up taking them home and nobody will care what they look like so the granny knickers at the back of the drawer are ideal.
5. Phone charger
You have just given birth to the most beautiful baby ever born and they are only a few hours old once so you will want to take hundreds of photos. Add that to calling relatives, texting friends, updating social media and your battery will be flat pretty soon! Packing a spare phone charger (and camera charger) is a great idea. Don’t forget…. if you have booked you Newborn Photo Shoot, you will be needing to contact your photographer to let them know baby is here, so they can find that very important space for you in their diary within baby’s first 2 weeks!
Hospital floors aren’t that nice, you have just had a baby your feet deserve some luxury.
7. Nappies and cotton wool
This one is pretty obvious, but definitely not something you want to forget! Cotton wool and water is best for baby’s skin in the early days and newborns get through roughly 12 nappies in a 24 hour period so come prepared.
8. Mama toiletries
That post baby shower is bliss and having those extravagant mini toiletries makes it feel even better. Don’t forget a gentle body wash, deodorant, shampoo and your toothbrush. You may want to pack some make-up too, if it makes you feel better after the birth then a coat of mascara can be a great thing.
9. A notebook and pen
This time is so precious and you may end up sending your partner home and being on your own with this beautiful baby you created. Often thoughts flood our head at this point so having somewhere to write them down helps us savour them for the future. If you get gifts whilst still in hospital it is a great place to record them too as new baby hormones and sleep deprivation mean you may not remember who gave what later on.