There’s absolutely no doubt that pregnancy prepares us for the lack of sleep even before baby makes their arrival. Thanks to the general discomfort of growing a small human (round ligament pain or lightning crotch, anyone?)
So - as you head towards the latter half of your third trimester, if you’re planning a hospital birth, now is definitely the time to think about packing your hospital bag… but where do you start?
As a general rule, we would recommend having your bag packed by around week 36 - but you may want to get things sorted even sooner if your pregnancy is deemed as being high risk.
We’ve put together a handy checklist which you can print out and tick off as you go here
I wanted to bring anything and everything we might need for every eventuality - despite only living 5 minutes away from our local hospital. I decided it was better to have way too much than have too little! I didn’t want my husband to have to leave me at any point during my labour.
It’s important to remember that hospital rooms aren’t always that spacious. If you’re having a planned C-section, or you’re expecting to stay in hospital for at least a few days for any other reason, you need to be savvy with your packing strategy.
Suitcases can be a little bit too bulky. We’d definitely recommend a pull along bag on wheels - as lets be honest, no one wants to be carting heavy bags here there and everywhere after they’ve gone through labour!
Packing a smaller bag for baby things and another for your partner that can slot into a larger bag means you can then take bags back to the car one by one if you want to. You can leave non-essentials in the boot and collect them as needed. It’s also a sensible idea to return things you no longer need to the boot of the car once you’re done with them (e.g. tens machine, birthing ball).
Once your bag is packed and ready to go, it’s often recommended to keep it in the boot of the car, but we think popping it close to the door is a better idea as you can’t always predict who will be taking you to hospital.
It’s also important to practice being able to fit your little one’s car seat safely before your new arrival makes their appearance. The last thing you want is to be stressing about whether the car seat is fastened securely on your first journey home together! Be sure to do a few trial runs.
Make sure you pack things clearly for your birthing partner too. A lot of the mummies in our Bump Baby and You Facebook community have shared a top packing hack with us - to pack things for their baby in clearly labelled food/freezer bags. This can make life so much easier for daddies/birthing partners who aren’t sure what they’re looking for.
- Your birth plan and maternity file.
- A contact priority list for when you’re ready to make your announcement - make sure your birthing partner has all of the necessary phone numbers they need.
- Snacks and drinks - NHS food isn’t always the best - so it’s important to take along some satisfying high energy snacks such as fruit and nut bars, chocolate, granola bars. Keep hydrated with your favourite drinks too.
- Mobile phone and charger.
- Tablet/Book/Magazine or anything else you may need to keep you entertained.
- Phone charger – you may or may not be allowed to use this on the ward, if not you can take a car charger.
- Music on your phone or tablet – particularly any music or hypnobirthing audio you plan to listen to during birth.
- Pen and paper in case you want to write something down.
- Any leaflets or flashcards you’ve made to help through labour or to assist with things like breastfeeding positions.
Change for car parking and vending machines.
Phone, camera, charger.
Your own snacks and drinks.
Entertainment – tablet, magazines etc.
Toothbrush – they should be able to share your toiletries.
A change of socks, underwear and t-shirt/top, plus a sweater in case it’s cold.
A pillow from home can be handy for getting comfortable.
Don’t forget, a coming home outfit is a must have for you and your baby - and no, we’re not talking Kate Middleton style glam here! (Unless you fancy popping your heels on for a photo shoot after the hospital that is…)
You’ll need something that’s comfy, practical and if you’re planning on breastfeeding - easily accessible for you.
You’ll need something that’s weather appropriate for your little one - a hat and a blanket is a must for going outdoors but make sure you remove any layers that could cause baby to overheat for the car journey home.
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