If you are having your baby in a hospital setting you will need two bags - one for the labour ward and one for after the birth.
Here are some things to include in your labour bag.
- An old T-shirt or loose nightgown, and pyjamas or nightgown for after the delivery. These need to open at the front, or lift up easily from the waist, if you are breastfeeding.
- Warm socks, your feet may get cold in labour
- Dressing gown and slippers - for walking around during labour
- Glucose sweets. These are good when approaching the 2nd stage for extra energy
- Bottled water/drinks and bendy straws so you can sip fluids while your partner/midwife holds the cup/bottle
- Light snacks and drinks (if your hospital does not allow eating during labour your partner can use them, and they will be handy after the birth)
- Face cloth / sponge
- Cold water spray for your face (you could use a plastic plant spray)
- Instant hot bandages (usually used for back pain), which can be taped in place around your back/stomach, depending on where the pains are strongest. Alternatively bring hot water bottle/ or hot packs that can be warmed in a microwave.
- Massage oils and homeopathic remedies if using them.
- Music of your choice
- Hair-band or hair bobbins to hold hair back, if it is long enough to get in your eyes.
- Camera /camera phone (on a setting that means you wont require a flash) and/or Video camera.
- Flip-flops for the shower
- Big bath towels
This is also a good checklist if you are having a home birth for things you may need ready. The midwife will usually bring most of what is needed, or give you a list of what to get in. However, some basics may include:
A plastic mattress cover
Large black sacks for rubbish
Sheets of plastic for under the birthing pool if you are using one.
Essential oil burner
Candles and nightlights (you may want to down the lights and up the atmosphere)
And for After the Birth
- 5-10 pairs of old panties or disposable knickers
- Two packets of super-absorbent maternity/sanitary towels (not tampons)
- Toiletries including shampoo and bathing products.
- Arnica 200 tablets
- Nappies, nappy bags and cotton wool for cleaning baby’s bum.
- 6 plain babygros (buy a neutral colour unless you are certain of your baby’s gender)
- 6 baby vests or bodysuits
- Tea tree essential oil
- Breast pads
- A nursing bra, nipple Shields and Lansinoh (a lanolin cream or alternative if you are allergic) if you are breastfeeding
- Earplugs and an eye-mask, to help you sleep on the ward
- Towels or a bathrobe
- Comfy clothes to come home in - including dark trousers/leggings.
Some other suggestions from the mums on eumom.ie included massage gel (for partner to use while massaging and rubbing back in labour) and for after the birth: black pyjama bottoms (to mask leaks until you can change), gaviscon (because the heartburn won’t go away immediately), your own painkillers, phone charger, carmex or petroleum jelly for lips, and cereal bars or other non-perishable snacks (because you may not get food in some hospitals after tea-time!)