Packing a bag is part of the build up to your baby’s due date. Knowing you have what you need ready and waiting will help you and your birth partner feel prepared for the big day.
It can be really hard to know what you really ‘need’ in your bag. There is a lot of information out there and the list can seem never ending.
Most people start to gather things together for their ‘hospital bag’ in the last three or four weeks of pregnancy.
If you have had an early labour before, or if your midwife advises it, you might want to get organised earlier.
It can be tempting to take along everything including the kitchen sink. It is best to avoid this!
It can help to divide up your packing into two bags. If you have a birth partner who will be able to get ‘bag number two’ easily for you – pack one for labour and delivery and one for after baby arrives.
Remember - it is always important to have;
What do I Need For myself?
Think about being comfy;
You will want to freshen up during and after labour. Don't forget to pack;
What do I Need For Baby?
Packing for your baby is exciting – thinking about how soon you will be dressing your baby in the things you have got ready for them.
You will need to take nappies for baby and cotton wool for bottom wiping (baby wipes can make sensitive new born skin sore).
If you are going to formula feed you will need ready made formula bottles to use during your hospital stay. They are quite expensive so you may want to buy them over the last couple of months of pregnancy.
Plan Your Journey
Make a plan for how you will get to and from hospital.
If you need to organise a lift make sure they realise it could be day or night when you need them. Have a reserve person on stand-by just in case!
You may need money for a taxi home or for car parking. If money is tight try and save this over the last weeks of pregnancy.
Remember your car seat - and practice how to fit it a few times.
Passing the Time
Labour can be long. Think about what you could take to pass the time for you and your birth partner. This could just be your phone, a book or magazine, or some people like to watch TV on a tablet.
Try and always think about other people in beds and rooms near you. Keep the volume down or use headphones as much as possible.
Take some snacks and drinks for you and your birth partner. (If you are the one in labour check with the staff on delivery floor if you are ok to eat and drink before you tuck in!). Avoid things that smell strong – it might make you feel a bit sick.
What About Home Births?
Even if you are planning a home birth it is a good idea to have a 'hospital bag’ ready as well.
There may be different items you might need for a home birth. Speak to your midwifery team to double check what they recommend you have ready for your home delivery.
It can feel like you need lots if things - try not to worry about it. They should mostly be things you will need in the early days with your baby anyway.
Getting ready for a new baby can be expensive. If you are really worried about how you will afford the things for a hospital bag for you and / or your baby speak to your midwife or health visitor. They can help make sure you have all you need.
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.
You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.