Now Mumma, your options are much more personal. Take your time thinking about your options and try to enjoy the experience. It is also wise for your birth partner to know what is in your bag in case you are otherwise preoccupied! Midwife means “with woman” and therefore your dignity and wishes are the most important thing to a Midwife so please ask any questions you have.
We will start with some essentials:
Large maternity pads are essential and much better than sanitary towels. Sanitary towels are so absorbent it becomes difficult to assess any loss you may have either before or after birth which is something your Midwife will ask about at each contact. Hospitals often provide you with pads however they do not tend to have any sticky strips on them or wings which is neither comfortable, nor practical.
Underwear / Bra:
There is no doubt your biggest support during childbirth is your birthing partner or Midwife however a close second must be your bra. Your breasts will undergo lots of changes in the first days and weeks after your delivery, changing in both shape, size and sometimes even colour. Do not be surprised if your nipples grow and darken. Believe it or not, this is to help your little one feed! It is therefore important to get measured for a maternity/nursing bra and pack your favourite over shoulder boulder holder. Remember, you may leak in your bra, so it is worth having a spare and a few breast pads in your bag even if you decide to formula feed. We do provide a bra fitting service on site. Follow this link if you wish to access these services ?HYPERLINK.
This is where Bridget Jones comes into her own, the bigger and comfier the better. This is particularly important if you have a caesarean wound as we do not want your underwear to rub on your wound. Be sure to pack a dark pair instead of nude however…
If you plan to purchase disposable pants, we can recommend from personal experience and from witnessing some rather tricky situations, that you buy a larger size than you think as they come up very small!
Seems strange but this is one of the most important things you can pack. Midwife’s tend to be very protective of their pens so we would not recommend relying on theirs! You will need it to fill in feeding charts, nappy charts and most importantly menus. If you decide to breast feed, you can burn up to an extra 500 calories a day and therefore eating and drinking well is important. Regardless of the way you choose to feed however you need to look after yourselves and fuel your recovery. You have just achieved something amazing!
On the subject of food, snacks are vital. Your uterus is a muscle and therefore needs fuel. What fuel you choose is up to you, but we find women often feel a bit sick in labour and therefore want isotonic drinks and small snacks rather than attempting the hospital food. You do not need to pack water, but this seems an ideal opportunity to reiterate the importance of staying hydrated in labour. Keep sipping on water unless your Midwife tells you otherwise. Nutrition and hydration and bladder and bowel care is one of the most important and basic elements to birth. Be prepared that a caesarean can cause you to suffer with trapped gas, which is completely normal but can be painful. Do not worry or feel embarrassed about it, it is a normal and the Midwives and Doctors actually want to hear about your bowel functions. If you want to be prepared however peppermint can help, so it may be wise to take some peppermint tea with you just in case.
Maternity Services want to promote your home from home environment as much as we can. There are many benefits to you and your baby, including releasing the love hormone oxytocin which is needed to promote physiological birth, milk production and bonding. We often find it is the small things that make the biggest difference, so let your imagination run! Some women take a playlist /their own affirmations/ aromatherapy oils and diffuser with them, others bring photos of loved ones/battery tealights/massage oils. Please check with your Midwife if there any restrictions in your local Trust regarding the use of oils. Some trusts have Bluetooth speaker systems, others rely on your own equipment, so this is also worth checking before your arrival. Most importantly take a pillow. The hospital will provide a pillow for you however there is only one per bed and we want you to sleep well, be comfortable as possible in labour and help you feed. A simple pillow can achieve all these things, however, make sure it is old or has a cover so it can be cleaned easily.
Something to Wear for Delivery:
This depends on your planned place of delivery. If you plan to deliver in theatre you will be provided with a gown to wear. If you plan to use the pool you are welcome to wear swimwear however many women choose to either be naked or just wear a vest top, again take what is comfortable for you. Try not to worry about packing the right thing, Midwives have seen it all and only worry that you are as comfortable as possible, be this naked or in a sparkly bikini! If you plan to deliver “on dry land” you can use a hospital gown or bring your own clothes. Whatever you choose it is best if they are comfortable, loose and something you do not mind getting wet and or dirty.
Clothes for after your Birth:
Comfortable clothes are key. Many women opt for their maternity clothes and dark leggings, it may be good to take a spare set due to normal blood loss after delivery. Again, these are just ideas and completely up to you. Remember to pack PJs, slippers, and dressing gown in case you have an overnight stay. Many women also find flip flops useful for the shower run. We find that hospitals are either very hot or very cold, so we recommend packing layers.
This is so individual, and we would not want to direct you, instead we have just given you a few ideas. Please discuss your birth plan further with your care provider if you wish to do so. We also provide an enhanced birth planning service if you wish to discuss this further with us. ?HYPERLINK.
- A stress ball or Mohdoh
- TENS machine which can be hired or purchased
- Paracetamol. If you are planning a normal delivery and ring the maternity ward for assessment, they are more than likely to ask if you have tried a hot bath and paracetamol. Many women imagine this is not going to do much for them however paracetamol enhances any other medications you may have so is a good place to start if you do wish to take pain relief. Please keep a record of when or if you take any as your Midwife will need to know to make sure they care for you safely.
- Hot Water Bottle
- Phone charger
- Things to do, E.g. Ipad, crossword etc, particularly important if you find yourself an inpatient at any point.
- Camera if you wish. Please be aware that you need to ask permission from your care provider before taking photos during or after your birth.
- Towels. You will be provided with towels in the hospital however they are small, and many women prefer to have their own.
- Please try to remember your notes as it is important for your Maternity Teams to know your history. If you have a birth plan attach it to your notes so it isn’t lost. The Maternity team keep your notes after you have delivered so if you would like to keep your birth plan make a spare copy before you go.
- Hair Bands
- Lip Balm as the hospital atmosphere and entonox can both cause very chapped lips.
The most important thing to pack however is self-belief. You are doing something amazing!
Your nearing your due date and you are wondering what to pack in your hospital bag?
It is a Good Question! As Instagram posts and online blogs fight to influence your decisions, we want to simply tell you what you may need and why. We will explore your baby’s needs and yours separately.
Your baby will need..
A simple and obvious starting point! A typical hospital stay for a vaginal delivery is either a few hours or overnight depending on many factors including how you feel and how your baby is feeding. For a caesarean section, the stay tends to be one or two nights for a planned caesarean and two nights for an emergency caesarean if your recovery is uncomplicated. Your baby will need anywhere between 4 and 10 nappies a day so the small pack of your chosen brand should cover you. Most local trusts do not provide spare nappies; however, you will receive a bounty bag at delivery which currently has four nappies in.
Your little one cannot regulate their own temperature when they are born so it is important to ensure they are dressed appropriately. They should wear one more layer to what you are wearing, day and night. For example, if you are wearing a nightdress, your baby will need a vest and bodysuit. Be sure to pack a few spares in case of any accidents!
Depending upon the time of year it will depend on what you put your little one in, but this is something you can have great fun with. We have seen novelty outfits, fancy dress, and many many bows and tutus! The bounty team offer portraits of your baby while you are an inpatient, so you may want to pack a special outfit for these photos or for going home. This is not essential however and most people will just take a few vests and bodysuits.
Little ones are born wet and are surprised by our cool environment as they are used to a toasty 37 degrees. If we allow them to become cold, it can affect their feeding and general wellbeing. Most trusts will have access to baby hats however if you can take your own it would be best. Despite lots of different advice you have probably had from family and friends, babies do not need a hat indoors past the first 24 hours of life. Top Tip: Lots of advice has changed over the past few generations. If a health professional advises you of something that is different to what those close to you advise, be brave and stand your ground, there are a lot of myths to bust!
Parents often bring their own blankets however all hospital trusts provide blankets for babies whilst they are inpatients. If you do plan to use the hospital blankets, you will still need one for the car journey home as the hospital blankets are not to be taken away!
Your car seat.
For the journey home little ones require a car seat unless you live very close and can walk home, in which case you need either a carrier or pram. If you are driving home we would strongly recommend practising with your seat before you pick up your new baby as struggling in the rain or the dark is not fun…you would be amazed at the amount of blood, sweat and tears we have witnessed at this point!
If you plan to breast feed all assistance and support will be provided for you and you will be encouraged to stay until you feel confident and comfortable with feeding. If you have expressed antenatally there will be provision for you to store your milk in a specific fridge. This will be named and dated to ensure you reclaim the correct milk. Antenatal expressing should be discussed with your healthcare provider. If you decide to bottle feed some trusts provide you with readymade formula that you can have, others request that you purchase it from a vending machine onsite. Please check this before you attend the hospital.
In the UK we do not have exposure to enough Vitamin D, which is not surprising when you consider our weather! We therefore advise that all breast-fed new-borns take a Vitamin D supplement. A sample is provided in your bounty bag after delivery however you can take your own with you and can be purchased from most supermarkets. If you are breast feeding, you can put a drop on your nipple prior to a feed so your little one can absorb it easily. Formula is already fortified with Vitamin D, so you do not need to worry about any supplements.
Nappy Cream and Cotton Wool.
You may hear many people encouraging the use of nappy cream from the beginning of your little ones lives however the current evidence suggests prevention is better than cure. The best way to avoid nappy rash is to wash little ones with cotton wool and water rather than wipes for at least the first six weeks of life. Babies should be cleaned 3-4 hourly or as soon as possible after they have dirtied their nappy and talc powder should be avoided. We would advise taking a bag of cotton wool as it is not provided by trusts as a rule.
A few Muslins, wipes for those mucky moments (but not for new bottoms), and a dummy if you choose to use one. Just a little note of advice, teats and nipples require a different suck so dummies can confuse breast fed babies. We therefore encourage you to establish the feeding before you use one if you plan to do so.