Ahh, the infamous hospital bag. Subject of approximately seven thousand threads on Mumsnet, countless Youtube videos, and a source of (totally unnecessary, but very much real) anxiety for Mums-to-be from the third trimester onwards!
I actually loved packing my hospital bag ready for having Ottilie, and found it appealed just nicely to the side of me that’s super organised and totally into neat folding and careful planning and buying cute miniature beauty products, thank you very much. And I was so happy to find that when I’d had my baby girl, literally every single item in my bag was used and not a single thing was unnecessary or missing!
This time round I’ve worked from basically the same packing list as last time, but with a few tweaks…based mainly around the fact that I’m hoping not to have to go into hospital at all! I’m planning, preparing for, and hoping to have a calm, tranquil home birth with this baby, and have also been using hypnobirthing as a way of preparing for baby’s arrival.
The principles of hypnobirthing, and of home birthing too, encourage creating a safe, familiar, comfortable space in which to give birth as opposed to the traditional brightly lit, impersonal, medicalised environment of a hospital. Of course, there are countless different reasons why giving birth in hospital is brilliant and I wouldn’t change the experience I had with Ottilie, but am hoping that staying at home and nestling down in the comfort of my living room this time around will make the experience of birth all that much gentler for both me and baby.
THE ‘DURING BIRTH’ KIT
This selection of bits is packed up into a small cosmetics bag, and is what I plan on using whilst I’m in labour to create a comfortable, cosy environment. The string lights were a Tiger find and look so pretty when lit up, I’ve got a couple of packs of electric tea lights for dotting around the room, and some essential oils (lavender and bergamot for relaxation, and clary sage to encourage or strengthen contractions if needed) to use in my diffuser. Crucially, all these items can be taken with us to use in hospital if needed too!
On the more practical end of the scale, I’ve got packed some earphones (I’m planning on listening to the positive pregnancy affirmations from my hypnobirth course, because I find them so relaxing), Magicool spray (a GODSEND when you’re burning hot in labour!), hair bands (for the obligatory top knot), and lip balm because gas and air makes your lips so dry!
The other things I’m packing for use during labour are:
A bikini and old sports bra (dependent on what I fancy wearing, and where I deliver)
A water bottle and straw
Lucozade sports drinks
Snacks (Nakd bars, some sweets, and grapes…if we ever manage to make a punnet last longer than a day in this house, that is!)
A TENS machine (I didn’t use one first time round but have heard great things about them!)
ALL THINGS POST-NATAL…
So, this is where stuff gets SERIOUS. Basically, the main things you’ll need post-natally are all absorbent (and super sexy…). Breast pads (I’ve bought some lovely washable Little Lambs ones this time round, but have a couple of disposable Lansinoh ones in my bag just in case I need them), maternity pads (last time I loved the Boots ones but am trying a brand called Naturacare this time- I’m sceptical of how thick and chunky they are BUT they are biodegradable!), and on the advice of my midwife for wearing immediately after giving birth, Tena pants! See, I told you, all about the sexiness right now.
Cosmetics-wise, I didn’t expect to care about how I looked after having Ottilie but was surprised to find I did! Well, it was more how I * felt * that mattered, and so I’ve packed a small cosmetics bag for this birth just like I did for last time. Some cotton pads and cleansing water (I remember it feeling so good to wash my face last time after having been hot and clammy for about 48 hours solid beforehand!!), moisturiser, some light foundation and mascara, and a bottle of the Roget + Gallet Rose shower gel that my lovely aunt bought me after having Ottilie that made those first few post-natal showers feel extra relaxing and luxurious!
On top of the above, I’ve also got packed:
Two sets of pyjamas, one short and vest top set and one heavier-weight set.
Nursing bra and vest top
Comfy joggers for wearing after giving birth/going home, if we happen to transfer in
A new cosy but lightweight dressing gown
Dark towels…dark for obvious reasons!!
Lansinoh nipple cream (the BEST for dealing with any early days feeding soreness!)
FOR THE NEW ARRIVAL!
And this is the best part! Baby things! I’m keeping my packing fairly minimal, just like last time- just a few basic bits to have on hand for when baby makes his or her arrival! Of course, if all goes well and we do birth at home most of it will just be unpacked straight away and won’t be needed immediately, but it’s good to have it all together and organised just in case we do end up in hospital for whatever reason.
So, in the bag for little one is…
A pack of size 1 Kit + Kin nappies (my favourite biodegradable nappy brand!)
1x pack of Water Wipes
A cellular blanket and large swaddling blanket
1 hat for right after birth
3 sleepsuits and 3 vests (rolled up into little outfit bundles, because they’re much easier to find and grab when needed that way!)
A knitted cardigan and hat.
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And last but not least, let’s briefly chat about home birth specific stuff! I’m borrowing a birth pool, pump, and tap connectors via a home birth community group that runs in my area, and then have bought a liner and hose via Birth Pool in a Box.
I’ve also got put aside, on advice from my midwife…
- Plenty of dark towels in varying sizes, for both me and baby after I’ve delivered
- Absorbent bed pads, for protecting soft furnishings from any blood or amniotic fluid (what an image!)
- Large plastic ground sheeting to cover and protect the (CREAM!!) carpet in our living room, where I hope to give birth
I’ve also stocked our freezer full of homemade cake and cookie dough balls, so that we’ve got plenty of sweet treats to enjoy during and afterwards AND to share with our wonderful midwives too!
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And that, as they say, is that! I’ve had so many questions about home birth via my Instagram already, and though I of course can’t vouch for the experience itself yet, I hope that this post helps anyone trying to pack and prepare for one! And, bar the last few items, it’s exactly the same as I had packed for my planned hospital birth with Ottie too. I’d love to know if it helps you if you’re planning or packing your birth bag right now… or if I’ve forgotten anything vital!