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Baby on the way? Get Packing!

Expectant mums, have you packed your hospital bag yet?! It’s a good idea to organise your bag at around 36 weeks, just in case baby makes an early appearance. If you’re stressing about what to pack, here’s all you need to know!

Essentials for Mum

Your comfiest nightie or t-shirt for labour. Forget about looking stylish or glamorous, that’s the last thing you’ll care about when you’re in the throes of labour. Pack a few other nightdresses or t-shirts to be prepared for a longer hospital stay. Pop in a dressing gown, socks and slippers. Hospitals can be cold, and you want to be as comfortable and warm as possible.

Maternity pads and plenty of large, comfy pants. Forget regular sanitary towels – these will be absolutely useless. Yes, maternity pads are huge and uncomfortable, but you’re likely to need them. Lots of them.

A towel and a face cloth. The hospital might provide you with towels, but it’s nice to have one from home and your own is likely to be softer.

Comfortable, weather-appropriate clothes to travel home in. Again, forget about making a style statement. Choose your favourite maternity outfit. You might have given birth, but you’ll be wearing maternity clothes for some time yet…

Shower gel, shampoo and any other essential toiletries. Don’t forget lip balm: your lips may get dry during and after labour, and those little things can really make a difference to your comfort level. Remember a hair brush and pony tail bands or clips if your hair is likely to get in the way during labour and nursing.

A few maternity or nursing bras, breast pads and nipple cream. It’s a good idea to experiment with difference breast pads in advance. There are loads on the market, with varying levels of success. Test them for comfort, ease of removal and absorbency before baby arrives.

You might have a longer stay in hospital than you anticipate, particularly if you are waiting to be induced and the maternity ward is extremely busy. Take plenty of books, magazines, an iPad – anything that will keep you occupied and entertained.

Bottled water and heathy, high energy snacks will keep you hydrated and give you the nutrients you need to get you through the imminent labour.

Essentials for Baby

Again, you don’t know how long you and baby will be in hospital for, and remember newborn babies can be messy! Take plenty of basic clothing for baby: bodysuits, all in ones, scratch mitts, hats, bibs and cardigans. Add a couple of soft, stretchy baby blankets and a suitable jacket or pram suit for taking baby home in.

The hospital might provide a couple of newborn nappies, but make sure you have a good supply. You’re likely to need around 8 nappies per day, so a pack of 32 should last for 4 days. Don’t forget a big bag of cotton wool balls for keeping baby clean, but forget about skin care products. If you bath baby in hospital, a sponge bath with warm water is sufficient.

Don’t Forget Dad!

Ok, so Dad isn’t actually doing any of the hard work (at this stage) but if he’s there for the duration he needs some hospital supplies too! Make sure he has plenty of cash, a phone card if necessary, a list of contact numbers, a camera (fully charged if digital; lots of film if not), books and magazines to keep him occupied during the waiting period, and snacks and drinks.

By Claire Gillespie, co-founder of StorkUp.com, where parents can discover, share and buy the best products for their children.

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