Hospital Bag Items. So the lists online are endless, but what do you actually need in your hospital bag?
Here are a few of the things that as a midwife, I see most helpful in the birth room and there after ….
💡Lip balm- Gas and air can make your lips really dry. So can hospitals with their dry air.
💡 Earplugs/Eye mask- This one is useful if you need to spend any time on the antenatal maternity ward eg. induction of labour. Ear plugs are definitely not for after you’ve had the baby!!
💡Flannel/water spray/mini fan – You can get HOT in labour. Also hospitals 🥵
💡Socks- if you have an epidural or spinal. When it wears off your feet can feel cold!
💡 Always pack an extra bag to keep at home for a relative to bring in if you unexpectedly need to stay in for longer
💡 Dads/Partners- Pack yourself a bag too. Think change of clothes, food, toothbrush, food, drinks, food. Paracetamol is also a good one for you to have, hospitals can’t dish out the drugs to Dads and lack of sleep and hospital air can mean headaches. Did I mention snacks? There is nothing worse than a hangry Dad.
But it’s not always about the practical things that you may need. Such as clothes to wear, food to eat, nappies for baby etc.
Have you ever thought though about packing items that may make your birth better?
Here are a few hospital bag items that will help improve your birth.
1. A Pillow – The most relaxed time in your day is most likely the moment just before you go to sleep. Your body, without maybe even realising it, will find comfort in the smell of your pillow. Bring your own pillow with you to help keep you relaxed in labour. Plus, pillows are like gold in a hospital!
2. An IPad or laptop – One of my TBTBC ladies went through her whole labour watching the athletics on her iPad. She had an induction of labour and was on the hormone drip. I remember going in to see her whilst she was in labour as I was on shift. I left the room thinking she is far toooo calm to be in labour as she just perched there watching the athletics. Turns out an hour later I was in the room as she birthed her baby. It was amazing! The iPad for her offered a great distraction method.
3. Headphones – If you think about the times that you have maybe been to the gym for a gym class- music is a massive part of any session as it acts as a distraction method. You notice less when you are feeling out of breath or exhausted because a good song is on. The same can apply for birth, complie a birthing playlist with your fave tunes on and bring a speaker or some headphones to listen.
4. Lucozade – Your uterus is a muscle, so during your contractions your uterus will need water and energy to work efficiently. Lucozade (ideally not the fizzy one) is great to keep your uterus hydrated so it can keep on contracting well.
5. A flannel- Many birthing mothers get very hot in labour. A flannel can be put on your forehead or nape of your neck to help keep you cool and comfortable. If you forget a flannel,, a sanitary pad on your head can also work the same way !
And for baby…
- Pack enough nappies for 48hours days.. 8-10 nappies to be on the safe side. If your baby only does one poo a day then you’ll be fine. Equally, they can poo 4 or 5 times a day or more so better to pack safe. If you’re in for longer than have extras already packed in your “extras” bag at home.
- A hat is a must. Babies lose heat through their heads and they don’t regulate their temperatures very well in the first few days.
- As a rule of thumb, baby should be wearing one more layer to you. So in the winter, you are likely to be putting your baby in a vest, baby grow and a cardigan. Then blankets too. Cardigans though are great for the winter baby. 5x vests and 5x baby grows and 2 x cardigans would be plenty for a 48 hour stay in the hospital.
Want the complete checklist? You can get it here to print off and tick off when you have added it to your hospital bag.