My hospital bag advice
- Maternity pads (at least two packs) - once your waters break, they constantly 'rebreak' and you spend most of your time sat on soaked pads (it is pretty grim). I ended up using two packs of pads before getting to the hospital and then used an additional pack during labour at the hospital, and had run out when my baby had arrived - which left me up shits creek, borrowing from the hospital.
- A change of clothes and washbag for your birthing companion(s) - depending on your birth, where you live, and mode of transport; you may find yourselves at the hospital for days on end and they do not cater for anyone other than the Mother, therefore make sure they have at least a change of pants, spare top, toothbrush, deodorant, etc.
- A blanket (and pillow) - this is for your companion, as the hospital may only supply a chair for them to sleep on, with no covers or pillows.
- More knickers and socks (than you think you'll need) - because it's better to be safe than sorry, especially with your waters constantly breaking over and over.
- A towel - there are showers and baths available in most hospitals, and to know you have a towel to hand, gives you the chance to wash as and when, and also saves the Hospital laundry fees.
- A large water bottle - you get super thirsty and having a large bottle that you can top up from the water cooler at long intervals is a huge help.
- A full pack of nappies and baby wipes - you may not use them all but it takes all the hassle out of the panic when you are half awake, exhausted, faced with a brand new baby and a meconium filled nappy.
- At least three outfits for your new baby (in varying sizes) and a blanket - you never know how long you will need to be there for, whether the estimated measurement of your baby is accurate, and how messy they may get in such a short space of time.
I'm sure there are other items, which I will add in time but these were the main things we were missing at the time.
Additional items suggested by others:
Straws - making drinking easier when in difficult birthing positions.
Breast Pads & Lansinoh (other brands are available) - the colostrum can leak a little and breastfeeding isn't pain free, having a little relief on hand is highly recommended. *I ended up with blood blisters on my left nipple and a lipstick shaped right nipple, all because my feeding positions weren't suitable.
*although that's a story for another time...