Make that bagS...! I know this is going to sound excessive but I genuinely advise clients to pack at LEAST 3 bags if they are planning a hospital or Midwifery led unit birth! There's so much conflicting advice out there, so if you're getting yourself in a tizz about what you REALLY need - read on!
OK, so the first bag you're going to want to pack is your LABOUR BAG. By which I mean a bag of stuff you might want with you during your babies birth. This might not contain much for some people, but for others - especially if you've done Hypnobirthing, there might be a few more bits. Here are my suggestions. I've put in bold things which I consider 'essentials' !
Maternity Notes/ File
Your birth plan (x3 One for your file, one for Dad's back pocket, and a spare!)
Flip flops - the bathroom can get pretty wet & slippy if you've used the shower or pool.
Bikini - even if you don't use the pool, the shower can be a godsend for relief!
Birth ball and pump
Wheat bag/ hot water bottle
TENS machine if using
Nice smell/ Aromatherapy & diffuser if needed
Soft towel x 2 for baby as soon as born
Blanket to remind you of home
2x towels for you
DIGITAL, make sure everything is downloaded and will be available offline! - Music, Affirmations, MP3s, Oxytocin inducing pictures, visulisations, techniques
Bag number 2...!
Your snack bag. This is pretty personal, so I'm not going to tell you what food you should be taking. Take LOTS. More than you think you need, plus a bit more. Food you love, which is easy to unwrap and eat. Fresh berries, nuts, dried fruit & flapjack are great energy food. Sugary drinks are a must for keeping energy up & getting a quick hit. Avoid sweets which require fiddly and time consuming unwrapping each time (ie chewits).
Bag 3 - Baby's bag
Ideally leave this one in the car until baby is born - you don't want your room/ ward cluttered up with bags and belongings. Once babe is born, pack your labour bag up (birth partner..!)
Warm hat to pop on babies head (This could go in your labour bag, along with a sleepsuit, if you prefer)
4 sleepsuits (may sound excessive, but pack more incase of poonamis or longer stays)
1 set of scratch mittens
A pack of nappies (At least 14)
Babies blanket - if you sleep with said blanket for a week or so, it will have your comforting smell on it, which can help sooth baby
Going home outfit
Teddy - same as blanket, sleeping with a teddy and placing it with baby if you are unable to hold can be hugely comforting
If you're formula feeding make sure you have everything packed in this bag.
Finally...!! Your 'Apres birth' bag - all the gear you might want to help you feel more human, and perhaps even rather lovely after your baby is born.
Spritz for bits!! This stuff is the bomb when it comes to soothing your lady bits after birth! Pricey, but very VERY worth every penny - https://myexpertmidwife.com/collections/the-collection/products/spritz-for-bits?gclid=Cj0KCQjwn7j2BRDrARIsAHJkxmza_rXX_oOlZy0umQQ1O3kHSKGodYa4Hvtp35I9dA_pZsekk5_zxHsaAvssEALw_wcB
Nipple balm - either 'My Expert Midwife' as above do a fantastic 'No harm Nipple Balm', or Lansinoh is great, and available at Boots etc!
Feeding vests/ Vest tops x 3 (Leakages, length of stay..)
BIG pants x 5- I mean big, up to your belly button big!
Disposable pants pack - similar to above but you can chuck them away. Handy in the first days after birth.
Maternity pads - Always night are just not going to cut it with your post birth bleeding. You need the strong stuff. Available from Boots or online.
Nice snacks. Push the boat out - you just finished creating a human. Pack a cake, chocs, whatever you damn want!
Nice toiletries - Mini Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. WHAT a difference this makes! Having a warm shower with lovely smells, followed by a lovely moisturiser just makes you feel divine.
Breast-feeding shizzle - Pillow, pads (Lansinoh are the best!), nursing bras
Nice Pyjamas - extra points if they're new, but avoid white (I didn't think this though..!)
Ok, I lied. One more bag. This one might not seem 'essential', but will make a big difference to your partner, and perhaps to baby!
A zippy hoodie - if for some reason you are unable to have immediate skin to skin with your baby, a zip up hoody can be an easy way for your birth partner to strip off, snuggle baby in the top and zip back up for warmth and modesty.
Flip flops. Ok, you might not anticipate your birth partner jumping in the pool with you, but if they take on the roll of helping you in the shower, then again - slippy yucky floor!
Shorts! It can get blooming hot in those birth rooms!
Have any Hypnobirthing/ Massage techniques on your phone, birth plan in pocket.
Pillows and blanket, if you're in a hospital which allows birth partners to stay overnight. Pjs too, you don't want to be kipping in boxers, or the previous day's sweaty gear.