Packing your hospital bag for the impending birth of a baby is a pretty definitive way of declaring, “Come on, Baby! We’re ready for you!” We’re awaiting the arrival of Baby #3 any day now, so we are feeling all the feels. I’m so excited to meet this baby, but at the same time I know what’s ahead so I’m willing to wait.
A great way to stay patient is to spend some time packing your labour bag, ready to go. I’m a fan of having my bag divided into a “Labour” section and a “Post-Labour” section, or you might choose to have 2 bags and keep the “Post-Labour” bag in the car to be retrieved once bub has arrived. I also wholeheartedly recommend giving your support person a guided tour of The Bag before the big event. That way you won’t find yourself trying to remain zen whilst managing contractions and barking out where to find the hair elastics.
“NO! Not THAT front pocket. The OTHER front pocket.” (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.)
Here are 21 things you’ll find in my labour bag this time around.
In the Labour Section
- Bendy straws. Say what? First baby round, these were recommended by the woman running our childbirth workshop. Best recommendation ever. When you’re between contractions, you need to conserve energy and remain hydrated. Bendy straws allow your support person to offer you drinks, Grecian-Goddess-style, whilst you expend minimal energy. (On the topic of drinks, the same educator also recommended packing low-acidic drinks like apple juice. Her reason being that if you vomit in labour, acidic drinks like orange juice burn on the way back up. She was a fairly hilarious lady.)
- Snacks (for you and your support person). Who knows if it will be a marathon or a sprint? You need to keep your energy levels up. My midwives have always recommended soft foods like fruit packs or noodles. You’ll be grateful for this on your first loo visit, post-birth.
- Face cloths. So you can create your own warm/cold compresses depending on your needs. This can also extend to include any other aids or implements that you’d like to use in labour — essential oils, stress balls, that kind of thing.
- Socks. Cold feet can literally be a labour “thing.”
- Lip balm. I always seem to have super dry lips during labour. One word: annoying.
- Hair ties. I’d like to pretend that I’m all super-glamazon during labour but all I really want is ALL THIS HAIR OUTTA MY FACE.
- Swim suit / Change of clothes for support person. This is a hospital-dependent one. Should you be planning on a water birth, you might like to have your support person climb in with you. In which case, they’ll need some swimmers and a change of clothes (because the Drowned Rat Look is so last season.)
- Camera and charger. For capturing all of the feels.
- Phone charger. To ensure your phone is charged enough for you to inform visitors that they must bring all of the soft cheese and sushi when they pop in for a visit.
In the Post-Labour Section
It’s a good idea to check what items the hospital will provide as all hospitals have different policies and offer different provisions. For yourself, consider packing…
- Maternity Pads. Also affectionately referred to as “surfboards.” Just pack lots of them.
- Comfortable underwear. High-waisted ones are a good option in case of a C-Section.
- “Accessible” clothes/ pyjamas. Post-birth, your body becomes a bit of an Access All-Areas zone to medical staff and your newborn. You’ll need clothes that allow for breast-feeding, should that be an avenue you are trying to take; clothes that allow for stitches to be checked; clothes that allow for lots of skin-to-skin contact with your precious babe.
- Toiletries. All the things that you’ll need to feel human and a bit spesh.
- Bathroom aides. That first loo visit after giving birth can be scary business. Truth be told, I’ve never been organised enough to do this, but many women swear by packing some stool softeners and things like haemorrhoid cream for just in case. I’ve heard other women swear by packing a water bottle with a nozzle cap to wash themselves down with after using the loo. Toilet paper on your lady bits after birth can feel like sandpaper.
- Comfort measures. Hospitals aren’t known for their plush range of linen so perhaps a warm blanket and your pillow. Perhaps a nice, fluffy towel? (That first shower after giving birth is maybe one of the best of your life.)
- More snacks. Hospitals are also not renowned for their meals. Pack your favourite snacks — you deserve it!
- A going-home outfit. Gotta look nice for the requisite “going-home” photo, right?
- Nappies and wipes. For obvious reasons. It is one of life’s marvels just how much poo and wee one little human can create.
- Baby clothes. A variety of singlets, onesies and some beanies.
- Wraps and sleep suits. I am absolutely rubbish at swaddling so sleep suits are always my Go-To.
- A going-home outfit. Getting to take your newborn home is one of the greatest feelings. Pop them in a lovely outfit and keep the fingers crossed that no nappy explosions take place between hospital and home.
Any other items you would pack (or unpack?)