12 labour items you probably didn’t know you needed
If you’re planning to have bub at a hospital, then you are going to need to pack for the adventure. You’ve probably already included the maternity gown, the assortment of snacks and the adorable going home outfit for bub. In fact, you’ve probably already packed enough items for a trip around the world.
But there might be a few items that haven’t made it into your labour bag, items that you may really wish you had (and may necessitate a trip back home by your partner to retrieve).
Lip balm and lotion
You may be sweating, but your lips and hands can get quite dry during and after labour. Sure, dry lips are probably not your biggest concern right now, but having some lotion and lip balm on hand never hurts.
Music is a great distraction in life and in labour. You may not feel like dancing or listening to music when you’re labouring, but adding your earphones to your bag can give you this option. And, you never know, putting on some tunes might take your mind off the pain. And, if you want to do a little dance, then it may even help bring bub down the birth canal.
Comfortable shoes and socks
You may be spending some of your time pacing back and forth down the delivery room hall or taking a walk around the block to help speed things along.
Bring your sunnies too, just in case it’s the middle of the day and you don’t feel like confronting the sun or the non-labouring public without eye protection.
For the car park, the coffee machine and the vending machine. This is probably something your partner will need more than you as he will be the one topping up the meter and downing caffeine to keep awake.
Odds are, you’re going to go through more than one pair during labour. And after labour you may need to change undies every few hours. Best to leave the fancy ones at home and stick to the cheapies.
It’s the most common forgotten item. Add a spare one to the bag now, just in case you forget to grab your regular one on the way out the door.
Oversized maternity pads
Bigger is better! You will need these after labour but they can also be beneficial to wear during labour to protect your clothing and knickers.
Nappies and wipes
Some hospitals supply these, but not all. It’s best to pack on the safe side and bring your own. And having your own set of wipes is also extra handy for the first newborn poo, known as meconium (or smelly tar-encrusted excrement that you won’t believe came out of your teeny tiny baby), which requires a pretty big clean-up!
Red Nose Baby wipes are the perfect combination of gentle and tough, designed to handle the messiest meconium moments all the while protecting your newborn’s delicate skin.
Squeezable heating packs
The hospital may give these out but it’s a good idea to pack a few. They are great for after-birth aches and pains and easy to squeeze and pop while cradling your newborn, without having to heat them up in a microwave.
Bring soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and a toothbrush, deodorant and a hair brush. If you normally wear makeup on a regular basis, then pack this too as there will be plenty of photo ops after bub is born.
You may stay overnight after giving birth. And often hospital labour wards are loud. Having ear plugs on hand, just in case, can help dull the background noises of other newborns and labouring mummies.
If you’re not comfortable wearing ear plugs, then putting your earphones on with the music on low can also dull the sounds and help you relax during those brief moments of rest.
In addition to packing your labour bag, you also need to prepare yourself emotionally. This means accepting that sometimes, even the best laid plans go astray. Keeping an open mind, trusting in your body’s ability to give birth and communicating with your support team throughout the process can all make things run smoother.
And, if you are ready to tell everyone to shut up and leave you alone (hey, it happens), then at least you’ve packed your earplugs.