Top things women say they need during labour

Is it time to pack your hospital bag, but you’re not too sure where to start?  At Hatch Private Maternity, we’ve put together the ultimate maternity bag checklist for baby and mum, based on advice from those who have done it before.

Consider packing your bag eight weeks before your due date, just in case labour happens early. Even if you are planning a home birth, it’s a good idea to pack a bag in case you need to go to hospital unexpectedly.

Here are some of the essentials to have on hand, regardless of whether you’re having a hospital, home, or waterbirth. If you think of any others, please be sure to let us know.

 

  • Your Antenatal records would have been sent across to the hospital, but if you have a birth plan or additional paperwork be sure to pack.Also ensure you have your health insurance details and Medicare card.
  • Things for labour. This could include old, oversize t-shirts (anything comfortable), extra underpants, warm socks as women often get cold feet in labour, and lip balm. For water immersion during labour or waterbirths, many women wear a bikini, tankini, vest top or prefer to be naked. The hospital has towels.
  • Glasses or contact lenses if you wear them. If you have a C-section you can’t wear contact lenses and glasses can fog up during labour, so have both on hand just in case.
  • Maternity sanitary pads or disposable underpants. After birth, you will experience bleeding called lochia, like a heavy period. Bleeding is heavier in the first few days post-birth which is why it can be helpful to wear disposable underpants the first few days.  Bleeding will settle over the course of 1-2weeks, but we encourage 3-4packs of maternity pads for the initial hospital stay as you will be changing these for hygiene every 2-3hours.
  • Pyjamas and day clothes. Think about clothes with easy-open tops if you’re planning to breastfeed. Dress yourself each day in comfortable day clothes around the hospital.
  • Basic clothes for baby. Newborn nappies and wipes (more on this in next section), singlets, socks, a beanie to keep baby warm immediately after the birth (some hospitals supply these), a few changes of clothes, tops and bottoms or one-piece suits, and large cotton or muslin wraps to take the baby home in.

 

Here are some other must-have items mums mention:  

 

  • Hair ties or clips to keep hair out of your face.
  • Items to distract or help pass time. Think light reading, iPad to watch shows, or other devices to listen to music.
  • Comfort items. Spare pillow, breastfeeding pillow, massage oil, heat pack, TENS machine if you’re planning to use one.
  • Nipple balm. If you’re planning to breastfeed, nipple cream can be helpful (you can also use your own breastmilk as a healer). There are many organic, natural balms on the market now to help sooth sore nipples and some don’t need to be wiped off between feeds.
  • Bottom balm for baby. Nappy rash creams that form a wee and poo proof barrier to protect baby’s delicate skin from nappy rash.
  • Flushable wipes. Unscented, flushable wipes can help if you are suffering any soreness post birth and are a gentler option to hospital toilet paper.
  • Body lotion. The hospital air-conditioning can make skin dry out.
  • Breast pads. Breast pads can mop up any leaks when breastmilk comes in. You may want to consider purchasing a Haakaa breast pump (available for purchase from Hatch or online excellent for collection that liquid gold and assisting with engorgement – ask your midwife more about this product at your next visit.
  • Baby wipes and nappies. Some hospitals supply these, but many do not so it’s worth checking. Mater Mothers Private Hospital will supply one packet of their Mater brand nappies, and a small packet of wipes. You will need to pack a large packet of baby wipes to help make changing that first poo (meconium) a bit easier.
  • Favourite toiletries. Having your first shower post-birth will feel amazing. It is best to pack some travel sized bottles to ensure you’re covered. Look for items that are natural or unscented as babies are getting to know your own scent and perfumes only confuse them. Also pack a hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and any skincare or makeup if you use it.
  • Comfortable nursing bras. A growing bust needs soft, comfortable support especially as milk comes in and you are learning to breastfeed. Look for supportive wire-free maternity bras. Maternity bras are easy to clip and unclip, which makes breastfeeding go more smoothly. Nursing singlets are also a great option in those first few weeks.
  • If labouring, snacks will help keep your energy levels up (and those of your support partners). Some mums find they only feel like chewing on ice during labour or don’t feel much like eating.
  • Camera or camera phone. For capturing the first moments after baby’s birth and getting your first family photo.
  • Notepad and pen. For tracking feeds and jotting down questions.
  • Phone and phone charger. Most people don’t forget their phone, but a lot of mums say they forget their charger.
  • Presents for older children. For parents with older children, a present from the baby to them, and vice versa can be beneficial, as many mums report.

 

For some great tips on what items you might need when baby arrives home, visit:

Raising Children