This is a checklist of 20 of the most commonly recommended must have items you need in your labour bag.
What Should You Pack In Your Labour Bag?
Packing for a baby is hard enough, but anticipating your own needs after birth can seem impossible. But, far more of your hospital stay will occur after the birth of your baby, and packing to become a mother is often a challenge of the unknown. This list of basic items to bring in your maternity bag will come in handy!
1. Non-Soda Drinks
As milk production begins, the body’s requirements for fluid increases leading to an unquenchable thirst. Breastfeeding women need a constant supply of water or other nourishing fluids, but should avoid sugary soda drinks, which cause dehydration.
2. Snacks To Pack In Your Labour Bag
A breastfeeding woman craves fuel for her increased metabolic rate and even the best hospital meals will not suffice. Stock some of your favourite, energy dense snacks preferably with high complex carbohydrate content (low GI) for sustained energy.
3. Magazines, Puzzles, and Pens
Life with a newborn is divided into three hour cycles of change-eat-sleep leaving you with the odd quiet time. You may sleep, but, if not, weariness often limits your activities to puzzles, magazines, or television. Don’t forget to put pens in your maternity bag.
4. Pear Juice And Kiwi Fruit
A daily glass of pear juice or a kiwi fruit (skin on) are a gentler cure for constipation than prunes or laxatives. After giving birth, the last thing you need is to strain.
5. Wheat Bags And Ice Packs
After delivery, there are areas requiring soothing warmth or cold. Most hospitals will not provide hot packs due to medico-legal fears of burns, but your own gel packs can be heated or cooled as required. Make sure to add some to your birthing bag essentials.
6. Comfortable Not Frumpy
Socially speaking, your popularity peaks after birth, but physically it is a transitional time; no longer pregnant you are still a way from your pre-pregnancy physique. It will do your psyche no good to feel frumpy while receiving visitors, so pack maternity outfits which make you feel comfortable but attractive.
Time becomes meaningless in the maternal dimension, so taking a watch not only anchors you to the outside world, but is essential to time the contractions, for time feeds, and visiting hours. It’s easier to check the time when you have a watch on your wrist versus grabbing your cell phone all the time.
8. Maternity Pads
They’re big, ugly, and essential especially with tampons off-limits. Lochia, or the bleeding after birth, can be surprisingly heavy. Take two boxes of the brand recommended by friends and some old underwear in your hospital labour bag.
9. Breast Pads
A good breast pad can be the difference between comfort and embarrassment especially when receiving visitors. As your milk comes in your breasts will engorge and leak until supply adjusts to your baby’s demands.
10. Seamless Nursing Bra or Sport Tops
In the first few days your breasts enlarge at a staggering rate, initially outstripping your maternity bras. Seamless nursing bra or lycra-based sports tops have no underwires, can provide flexible support, and are comfortable for sleeping.
11. Hair Elastic For Wrist
Pack a few hair elastics even if you have short hair. They are worn around the wrist and swapped from side to side to indicate which breast should be started on at the next feed; it is easy to lose track in the fog.
12. Phone Numbers And Cell Phone
From your parental cocoon, you can share news via phone or text message. Take a list of phone numbers and your cell phone, but check the rules regarding use of mobile phones in your hospital.
13. Triangular Pillow Or Bean Bag
Most women form a close relationship with a favourite pillow or bean-bag during pregnancy. This old friend is useful to facilitate breastfeeding, or to help mom get comfortable after birth.
14. Camera / Video
Pack your cameras, chargers, and spare batteries in your labour bag and if the equipment is new try it out before time.
15. Earplugs And Eye Shades
Adjusting to your baby’s routine means sleep must be taken opportunistically, day or night. Earplugs and eyeshades help to tune out the hustle and bustle of the hospital.
16. Extra Bag
In many ways, you will be bringing home more than you took to hospital! But with all the cards, gifts, and post-birth paraphernalia, take an extra bag or two to transport your new family home.
17. Packet Cloth Diapers
Whether you decide on cloth or disposable diapers, you should invest in an extra packet of plain cloth diapers. These all-purpose gems can be used as change mats, clothing-protectors, makeshift bibs, and wipes.
It is tempting to pack all of the adorable baby outfits you have bought, but the reality is that newborns spend most of their time swaddled and clothing becomes all about accessibility and ease – in other words; pack at least 5 onesies in your labour bag for baby.
19. Muslin Or Flannel Wraps
Wraps or ‘blankies’ are invaluable companions for use in swaddling, covering baby in the pram, a shoulder protector, playmate, modesty cover while feeding, or any one of 50 other uses. The wraps are essential items to add in your labour bag. The choice of muslin or flannel is seasonal.
20. Baby Book
Memories are quickly formed and lost amongst the constant activity of these first weeks unless they are recorded as they occur, so pack a journal or baby book in which to record feelings and paste mementos.
These 20 must have items should definitely be in your hospital bag!