Your Hospital Checklist
Your Hospital Checklist
Having a baby is one of the most wonderful experiences we have as a woman, but it is not always plain sailing. Here are a few tips and ideas as what to expect when the time comes around.
A due date can sometimes be as reliable as the weather forecast, so preparation is the key and you can feel safe in the knowledge that you have everything you’ll need, when your little one decides to make an appearance. So it is advisable to pack a bag for yourself and baby few weeks prior to the date you’ve been given. Here are some suggestions for what you’ll need for yourself and baby.
1 Pack of Nappies
1 Pack of Wet Wipes
Cotton Wool Pads
3 Baby Grows
1 Pair of Scratch Mitts
2 Muslin Squares
New Born Size Hat
Bottles & Formula (if you are not breastfeeding)
All being well, you may only plan on staying in hospital for a few hours after the birth, but even that is long enough to need a few changes. It is also advisable to pack at least 1 vest and baby grow in a size 0-3 months for babies weighing over 9lbs at birth.
Birthing Night Shirt
A Thin Cotton Dressing Gown (hospitals are usually warm)
2 Night Shirts with Front Opening (if you plan on breastfeeding)
2 Pairs of Knickers
1 Pack of Disposable Knickers (great if you are bleeding or have a C-section)
1 Pack of Maternity Sanitary Towels
1 Pack of Breast Pads
2 Breastfeeding Bras
Your Birth Plan
Camera, Phone and Chargers
Notebook & Pen
Day Clothes (for when you’re discharged)
So what to expect….The unexpected
The biggest piece of advice that I can give about labour and giving birth is to expect the unexpected and be prepared for your birth plan to change at short notice. Do make a birth plan with your preferences in terms of labour positions, pain relief and what you would like to happen after baby is born and make sure the midwife is aware of it when you arrive. However, none of us know how we are going to react to the circumstances and pain that is involved with labour and giving birth.
We all hope that we can labour quickly and easily without any pain relief and give birth to a healthy baby without batting an eyelid, but in reality that’s not always going to be possible. As we all have different pain thresholds, none of us know how our bodies will cope with labour particularly first time around. In terms of pain relief it is best to just see what happens and go with the flow, you will know if and when you get to the point of needing some form of pain relief, either to just take the edge off the pains, or take them away all together.
My birth plan went right out the window after 14 hours of labour and an emergency C-section, needless to say I didn’t bother making a birth plan for my next two children! Your instincts over what you want and need at the time will take over and get you through it all. There are no prizes for suffering needless pain without any assistance, the most important thing is that mother and baby come out of it healthy and relatively unscathed at the end, so don’t worry if you haven’t stuck to your birth plan, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed, just adapted to your circumstances.
If you have had problem during pregnancy or are already booked in for a caesarean section, it is a good idea to have a friend or family member on hand to help out with childcare if you already have other children, in the event that you may have to stay in hospital longer than planned. Pack a bag for at least one overnight stay and make sure your partner is aware of where to find additional ideas for you and baby if a longer stay is necessary.
If your choice is to bottle feed your baby, then you will be advised to take some bottles and cartons to hospital with you, as most maternity wards do not provide them anymore. The ward will have a room where you will be able to sterilise and make up your babies’ bottles until you are discharged.
Finally, one of the best tips I can give is not to be afraid of how you feel soon after baby is born. Labour can be very intense and painful and I remember looking down at my first born a few hours after he was born thinking “that was so awful that I am NEVER doing that again,” and at the time I was sure that I meant it. It is amazing though how quickly the mind forgets, as just 1 month later I was saying, “well, when we have the next one…” much to my husbands surprise, who thought we were stopping at 1! I have found the scenario is normal for EVERY new mum I have talked to, but most mums tend to change their minds. Because of this, I always try to warn friends and clients that this will be a perfectly normal feeling to have straight after your baby is born, but for most of us, it won’t last. As painful as labour and birth is, our babies and children bring such love and joy to our lives from the day they are born, that any amount of pain is worthwhile!
By Lisa Clegg Author of THE BLISSFUL BABY EXPERT available at Amazon