Sunday, October 2, 2016

My labour and hospital bag list

This is from when I was in hospital with Ds7

The idea was that I was going to write an update on my pregnancy (will do soon), but I'm 31 weeks now and suddenly the important thing seems to be to write my labour and hospital bag list ;) 
I will include other pre/post baby planning too.  


I have found it best to travel as light as I can when going into hospital, it's no fun being in labour and carting around heaps and or heavy suitcases (Bags with 4 wheels that can turn all ways are great.  Found this out on our holiday to Jakarta last year).  Not to mention the more you bring the more to manage, and cart from place to place, and the more likely you'll loose something.  

I take 3 bags total.  A labour bag, a bag for my own use after baby's birth, and a bag for baby.  The labour bag goes home with Dh leaving me with two.  I have found it easier to have a bag for me and one for baby rather than all in one.  It's easier to find stuff.  I don't take a handbag but put my purse and other essentials in my hospital bag.  

I often pack everything, except items I can't pack till the last minute, quite early, which is usually when I start getting serious braxton hicks somewhere around 34 weeks.  I always print up my list to go through before heading for hospital because I have found that once I've gone into 'labour mode', however early in labour, my mind is no longer able to think about what else needs to go in the bag.  The most I can do is look at my list at what is marked as still needing to go in, and gather it up and toss it in my bags.  Certain things have been put in a special standby place even now to make sure they can be found.  I have a new sd card in my camera, I'm keeping the battery well charged, it's in a place I will supposedly be able to find in a rush.  Orders have been given (to fellow household photographers;) not to touch it under any circumstances.  

Something I've learnt the hard way is that I love to capture specific shots of those first moments if possible.   If this is what you want be sure your support people know in advance what your hopes are here.  Do you want particular shots?  A list may be helpful here.  Often in the tiredness and euphoria after the birth of a baby everyone is either dazed or too tired to remember all the photo's that were wanted (and if they weren't even told what you were after can't know it), and you can't go back and get these.  

Remember the following are my plans of what I'm going to do for this baby's birth, not suggestions of what others should do.  I will give suggestions as to why things are on the list though in case it is helpful for anyone, and just to explain my plans for my children to remember later.   

My Labour and hospital bag checklist, plus other stuff :)

What to do before the birth

Go for walk by the lake  

A pre-labour walk has become a tradition for our family.  I can't remember who we first did it for but maybe we started with Dd3?  We used to go by the Swan River near Applecross, but last time we walked by Lake Monger.  We go for a long fast walk.  I am usually at the front with everyone else following behind lol.  Trying to talk walk baby into coming out.  Note: if you ever go on such a walk, 'don't tire yourself out!'  If you do start things off you want to have the energy there for labour.  

Go to confession 

I always try to go to confession as close as I can to the birth.  

Wear to Hospital- (Summer birth)

Pregnancy belly support belt
Soft casual short sleeved shirt
Crop top  
I wear crop tops under most of my shirts.  I get them from Kosher Casual.  
Long soft casual skirt
Soft bra’s
Old underwear and sanitary napkin  
Brown scapular  
Shoes suitable for labour
Something easy to get on and off that won't get ruined if it gets wet etc.  For me, no flip flops, my feet need sturdy support.  I also choose something that I can wear socks with in case I'm feeling cold.  I don't like to bring slippers.

Labor bag -  send this bag home, except for needed things

Holy water 
I take this in case baby needs baptising in the case of an emergency, but actually any water can be used in an emergency.  
Canon Camera,  check for sd card  plus extra sd card 
Don't rely on mobile phones, they can often seem great at the time but later reveal the photo's to be grainy or there can be blurring you didn't notice.  Phones are coming ahead in leaps and bounds, but I'd still be taking all the most important shots with a good digital camera.  
Phone - add a contraction counter app. 
I love these contraction counter apps.  When I first used one I realised just how wrong I had been in timing contractions for previous pregnancies. Contractions were closer together than I thought! 
Pencil and pen
Will work where a flat phone/tablet won't ;)
Small notebook to write down thoughts/feelings/contractions/feeds/poops etc.  
Okay, I admit it, I'm old school.  We'll see, I might use my phone.  I don't usually write down feeds and nappies but while in hospital you will be asked to note them down.  As to thoughts/feelings.  You'd be surprised how quickly you can forget things, especially due to tiredness.  If you are someone who likes to write all these things down write it down as soon as you can.  
2 plastic bags for dirty clothing, rubbish
Sanitary Napkin x 2
1 extra underwear
Always best to carry a spare.
This is probably just a photography enthusiast thing.  I like tack sharp photo's.
Childbirth massage oil
I love the smell of these type of things.  Very relaxing.  
Towel  - emergency item
in case of birthing on route. 
Heat pack - emergency item
For keeping baby warm in case of the above.

Clothing to change into for birth-
Light cardigan 
You never know when you're going to feel hot or cold, both during labour and after.  Whatever the weather it's best to have something to help you either feel cooler or get warm again.
I usually keep the shirt on that I came with and swap the skirt with an Indonesian sarong.  It's long and modest and can come off very easily if needed.  
Thick comfy socks
I always get very cold after the birth.

Hospital bag 

Purse, medicare card, hospital prenatal record
Loose change for parking, food, phone etc.
I used to take a book to read, but I find that I never do read it.  And these days you are in and out of hospital, if you are a public patient, before you can blink.  At any rate, even if I did get a longer stay I usually try to sleep if I get any 'nothing else to do' time, rather than read.  
Camera recharger
Phone recharger
Purse packet sized tissues
Nail clippers
Raspberry leaf tablets
Chamomile tea
I'm supposing because my labours are short I often have great difficulty going to sleep for a long time after the birth.  Does any one else get this?  Chamomile can be helpful.
Soap/ soap holder
Travel sized shampoo/conditioner
Hair brush
Travel sized toothpaste and toothbrush plus holder
Sanitary napkins
Hair tie
Jojoba hydrating day cream
This is so nice!  Very light and a wonderful smell of the Australian bush even though it contains no extracts/oils which are from Aussie plants that I can see... but, when I smell it, Aussie bush! ;)
Flannel plus plastic ziplock bag for 

clothing to take for hospital stay-
Maternity bra’s X 2
6 x underwear
crop top
Packet of nursing pads or 2 pair cotton ones
I never actually need these while in hospital but I bring them anyway just in case.  It usually takes about a week after the birth, if I remember rightly, for me to need to use them.  
2 sets soft long sleeved casual shirts
Even though this will likely be a summer birth I often get cold at night in the hospital.
2 sets soft casual skirts long  non ironing
I don't like to wear nightdresses in hospital so I just wear casual clothes that are comfy for sleep.

Clothing to go home in - 
1 soft casual shirt short sleeved
1 casual skirt long (You have to wear maternity clothing still after birth for a while)

Gifts for little ones when they visit hospital 'from baby'?  might get something simple, a little bag of lollies each and a holy card, something to keep them busy for a few minutes when they visit.

Baby’s bag 

Nappies x 6  
I don't bring too many nappies because the hospitals I've been to provide them.  Just enough to get home plus a few spares.
Nappy wipes  
It can be worth buying an 80 pack even though it takes up bag space.  
Baby Bee Leatherwood Honey Cream Bath 
I haven't tried this but if it's like the Botty Butter below it should be lovely.
Cotton tips
For baby's belly button.  These days I'm very often not in hospital long enough to get to needing to clean the belly button.  This is something for when the cord starts fall off which takes a few days.  But I still bring them in case.
Cotton circles 
For cleaning baby's eyes/face.
Honey & Herb Baby Botty Butter  
This smells lovely and works well. 
Singlets x 3 
Baby suits x 3   
1 short sleeved and two long sleeved
It will be summer when baby is due and only really necessary straight after the birth when my babies often need some warming up.
Aren't newborn socks the sweetest things!
Sleep wrap/ cocoon thingy
At home we co-sleep, but in hospital one of these gadgets can be quite useful.  I have some old brand that I only really use for hospital.  (It's not worth buying just for this.  I bought one and found it was the only time it was useful so I put on my list to take)  There are newer things out that are probably much better.
I always try to keep my baby's nails short rather than use mittens, otherwise they can scratch themselves terribly.  But I still take a pair to the hospital.  
One of the children even has one tiny scar on their face from when they were a baby!  I tear their nails off (sounds awful doesn't it but it is very easy to do) when they are little and their nails are still soft.  I still have trauma from cutting a month old's finger with nail clippers once.
Change mat
Baby blankets x 2

Things to have prepared at home when bring baby home -

For baby, which we will have blessed on baby's baptism day.  I might make a cord/wooden bead one for baby.  Previously I have bought them, but I do know how to make cord rosaries so I might get the bits and pieces together and get myself into action.  
Baptism dress
I have my own from the 70's, some which we bought for the others, plus various vintage ones I've found over the years.  
Sleepy Wrap baby carrier
Turns out it's called something different now, a Boba Baby Wrap.  I like how it's soft and comfy.  If you are new to it it might make you want to cry to use in the beginning especially if you're out and about.  Getting it on, fabric everywhere.  If the Boba is the same material as the Sleepy Wrap the heavier the baby gets the less I like using it, I like something more supportive.  But, since I have one two they do have their moment of use, which is enjoyable.  
Baby Hawk Mei Tai
I like Mei Tai's best.  Mine has ties and no buckles.  I did buy one with plastic buckle ties once (mmm, let's not talk about how many baby carriers I have lol) and the buckle broke so I prefer ties.
Muslin anything is great for use with little ones.  Muslin flannels are great for cleaning their wee faces, towels are so soft and absorbent, baby wraps wrap nicely (buy big ones), and they are good for throwing over your shoulder, or wherever needed for catching or wiping up stuff ;)  
Baby Bath
Need to buy a new one. 
(might add more to this list later)

If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask them.  Also let me know what you have found useful :)  


  1. You are wonderfully organised and experienced, Sharyn! I can hardly think of anything to add... raw honey is nice for when the cord falls off, if there is any bleeding. I really like outfits with long sleeves and feet, because my kids' cute socks always fall off. But this time around I accidentally discovered that the mits meant for the hands stay very well on baby's feet! :)

    1. Organised on paper at least ;) I have a feeling that I may just want to get preparing sooner rather than later though.

      Newborn socks always fall off don't they, but you can't help but buy them. So cute! I have found these special ones that are supposed to stay on, and they stay on longer. The mits. I prefer long sleeves too. But since you've given me an idea about them, I will give it a try and they may get some proper use for once :)