Packing for Mum and Baby before Delivery

Be prepared! This doesn’t just apply to boy scouts. Expectant mums also need to be ready for delivery at any time. Once a pregnant woman passes into the last four weeks of her term, her bags should be packed and ready to go. The last thing a woman in labour needs to be worrying about is whether she packed her underwear and enough baby vests. A little planning ahead of time never hurt and takes a great deal of unnecessary worry out of the big moment.

Mum – Most stays are short, around three days and this gives a rough starting point. Three of everything and then double it. What a lot of women don’t realise is just how many pairs of undies and how many nightdresses a woman can get through when she’s just given birth. It can often seem like there isn’t a part which isn’t leaking some kind of fluid! Remember, be prepared:

Nightwear – Three of everything, and then add a spare. (New dad will likely be too flustered to remember how to work the washing machine, so don’t count on fresh from home.)

Underwear – Some women choose to stock up on disposable underwear. This certainly saves on washing and ruining proper underwear with stains. Pack enough for 4-6 changes per day, possibly more.  Make sure bras are packed, especially if choosing to breastfeed and if nursing bras been bought for the purpose. Also, take some socks. Women almost always complain of cold feet in hospital, even on warm maternity wards.

Pads – Take plenty of heavy duty, disposable sanitary pads. Bleeding will likely be heavy at first, tapering off as time passes. Be ready for lots of changes, both for hygiene/comfort and to prevent staining as far as possible.

A little side note to this is to pack some moist toilet tissues. Everything ‘down below’ will be a bit sore and uncomfortable. Be kind and use moist towels to clean up for the time being.

Daywear – Take a couple of big and baggy t-shirts (hospitals tend to be overly warm) and some comfy pants. It’s nice to have one dressy item, like a blouse, for visiting hours, but no-one is going to be judging new mum on her fashion sense when there is a dot of a baby to coo over, so don’t fret.

Toiletries – Take miniature versions of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and shower gel. Include toothbrush, hairbrush and face wipes. Take make-up if it is really necessary, but again, no-one will be judging on immaculate make-up a couple of days after giving birth.

Phone, camera, charger/batteries and address book – Hospital phones are often busy. Take a cell if possible (but observe any hospital rules about usage). Camera is vital to record baby’s first days so make sure there are plenty of batteries for it, or the charger is packed. No post-birth mother can remember every friend or relative she promised to call when baby arrived, so have the address book at the ready.

Book/music – Not only do some mums want music during birth, believe it or not, babies do sleep and mum may well be at a loose end (if she isn’t sleeping!). Have a book, a puzzle book and pen or music packed to prevent boredom.

Snacks – Keep that energy level up by having a few healthy, energy boosting snacks in the bag.

Baby – For such a small being, babies require an awful lot of stuff!

Car seat – OK, this won’t be in the packing, but it better be in the car before the baby comes home. Hospitals will not let baby go home in a car without a car seat. No excuses, just have one ready.

Baby bag – Get used to this item, as it will be around for a long time. Baby bag will contain nappies, wipes, cotton wool, baby lotion, nappy bags, possibly a few towelling squares (to put over the shoulder when baby is burping), nappy rash cream and a towel, hooded for preference. Other items will be added to this over time, but those are the basics.

Breast/bottle – There will be plenty of help available for whichever choice is made for feeding baby, but there are a few things which should go along in the bag. Nipple shields and cream, pump and breast pads for breast feeding. Depending on the hospital, pack bottles, teats and formula for bottle feeding.

Clothes – Babies throw up… a lot. Make sure there are plenty of romper suits, vests, mittens, socks and caps to keep baby clean and warm.

Going home outfit – One for mum and one for baby.

Beyond these basics there may be personal choices, such as a birth plan or paperwork recording the pregnancy to date. On a final note, make sure there is a change purse in the bag with coins for the vending machines. Labour may be long, and time on the wards may require the odd sugary snack! Be prepared!