There are so many lists online for things that you should be taking to the hospital for birth. My midwife even gave me a nice comprehensive list. With Max I of course thought it was all necessary and you don’t know really the ins and outs of it all and what you do and don’t need, so I packed everything. Second time around I will be taking a lot less so I thought I would compile a list for first-time mums so you know what you really don’t need to bother with.
- Your birth plan and maternity notes – OK, these are fairly essential but be prepared to be completely flexible with your birth plan. I don’t know too many people where it has gone exactly to plan.
- Dressing gown – if you want, but hospitals are sooooo hot you really won’t want to wear it.
- Backless slip-on slippers, that are easy to get on and off – again, if you want, but just wearing socks will do the job!
- Socks. Believe it or not, your feet can get cold during labour – I agree with this one, take socks.
- Old nightdress or T-shirt to wear in labour – this one is necessary.
- Massage oil or lotion if you would like to be massaged during your labour – erm, I don’t know anyone that wants to be massaged during labour??
- Birth ball – I guess you could take it but most hospitals tend to have them.
- Lip balm – this is an odd one to be on the list but if you’re taking your makeup bag I guess you’d having something like this in there?
- Snacks and drinks for you while you are in labour – drinks definitely. Can’t say eating is high on the list though!
- Things to help you relax or pass the time, such as books, magazines, or a tablet computer – I think this is more useful for your stay in hospital after, whilst feeding baby etc
- Hairbands or a clip – erm, obvious?
- Pillows. The hospital might not have enough to make you really comfortable – if you can really be bothered to carry it?
- Music. Take your MP3 player or a CD player and some CDs – fairly useful but not something I would be using.
For your birth partner:
- Water spray or a hand-held fan, to cool you down while you’re in labour – seriously, who has the time?
- Comfortable shoes. They may be pacing the corridors!
- A change of clothes. Your birth partner might not get the chance to have a shower for quite a while!
- Bendy straws, to help you to have a drink during labour – this is ridiculous!
- Swimwear, if they want to join you in a birth pool – fair enough.
- Mobile phone and charger. If their mobile has a stopwatch/timer function, they can use it to help time your contractions – useful
- Digital camera or camera phone to take photos or a short film of the birth and early moments with your baby – again, useful.
- Snacks and drinks. You don’t want a dehydrated, hungry birth partner looking after you – fair enough but they may want to ‘stretch their legs’ and get out and about for a bit.
For after the birth:
- A going-home outfit. You’ll need loose comfortable clothes to wear while you’re in hospital and for the journey home – I would just suggest PJs for whilst in hospital but a spare outfit is a good idea.
- Nursing bras. Bring two or three – depends on how long you’re staying in hospital really
- Breast pads – essential
- Maternity pads. Bring a couple of packs – deffo essential!
- Toiletries, towels, hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste – obvs?
- Old or cheap knickers, or disposable knickers – essential
- Eye mask and earplugs, to help you sleep on a brightly lit, noisy ward – hmm, you have a newborn, don’t think you’ll be getting much sleep anyway
For the baby:
- Two or three sleepsuits and vests
- Baby blanket.
- Nappies. Your newborn will go through as many as 12 in a day.
- Muslin squares, for mopping up any milk your baby brings up (possetting).
- One pair of socks or booties.
- One outfit for the trip home (all-in-one stretchy outfits are easiest).
- Baby car seat. Some hospitals won’t let you leave by car without one.
- Jacket or snowsuit for winter babies.
So pretty much all of the baby stuff you do need, especially if you know you’ll be in for a while from a planned caesarean.
What are your thoughts? Anything you think is missing from the list? I think that there are some essentials but you can always have people bring things for you – if you are staying over night in hospital your partner generally can’t stay too so they can bring anything you may have realised you need.