Packing your Hospital Bag for giving birth
If you are due to meet your little one very soon, this blog post may be just what you're looking for.
Especially for first time parents, packing a hospital bag can seem like a daunting task and many questions may be running through your head: where do I even begin? What bag do I need? When should I start packing my bag? What items should I pack? The list goes on and on...
To make things easier for you, I have created a handy tick off checklist that you can use as a guide to see what you already have and what you still need to get before you can finally tick off this task from your to-do list.
You can download the handy checklist from my Lockdown Babies Oxfordshire community support group on facebook - you can find it in the files section of the group.
When should I start packing my bag?
Don't leave packing your back until last minute - as we all know, babies have their very own agenda and aren't particularly punctual when it comes to arriving on their due date. Some decide they want to stay in the warmth and comfort of their mummy's tummy a bit longer, and some simply cannot wait to make their grand appearance. Start slowly preparing items for your hospital bag at the beginning of your 3rd trimester so early labour doesn't catch you off guard.
Where do I begin?
Start off with making a list, or printing out the checklist and start putting things together in advance. It's good to have things prepared so you can pack when you feel ready. Start with the most important things such as documents, clothing for you and baby, essential toiletries, nappies, chargers etc. You can always find more things you will need and add them as you pack.
What bag should I use?
This is entirely up to you and your preference. You may prefer to have items separated in more smaller bags, or have everything in one larger suitcase. You don't need to spend money on a new hospital bag, but if you wish so there are plenty of lovely ones on the market. You may find a bag with wheels or a suitcase is more convenient for you and your partner than a carry bag.
Are there any other important things I should take with me?
Having a list of phone numbers for your midwife, doula where applicable, birthing partner and for childcare for older sibling where applicable near your hospital bag or in your phone may be a good idea so that you don't start to panic when your labour starts. If you don't drive, having a list of taxi company numbers is a good idea so you don't have to google their contact during contractions.
Also having a note of your hospital reference number on hand will be handy.
Also don't forget to pack a camera or a phone with camera to capture those first precious moments of your little one's life.
Don't over think it and try not to worry.
It can be incredibly overwhelming and stressful to think about packing your bag and about labour itself. If you feel like you need support, reach out to your loved ones, midwife, friends and family, or connect with other parents to be via support and social groups. Being in lockdown it can feel very isolated and like you are all alone but believe me, you're strong and you've got this - you can find support from amazing online antenatal classes and online hypnobirthing courses, your midwife or doula, you can virtually connect with other parents and parents to be to share experiences and get tips. You can join support groups on social media and stay connected. Practice relaxing exercises to help you clear your mind. I know it is tough mums, but remember: you are not alone. And you've got this. You are strong and brave. Listen to your body and try to stay relaxed and positive. You are amazing and you will do just brilliantly.
Numbers & Resources:
Maternity Assessment Unit (John Radcliffe Hospital): 01865 220221
Cotswold Birth Centre: 01608 697930
Horton Midwifery-led Unit: 01295 229459; Assessment Clinic contact: 01295 229779
Wallingford Maternity and Birthing Centre: 01491 826037
Wantage Maternity Unit (check here for COVID-19 updates): 01865 904832
Bicester Midwives: 01869243763