You’re expecting a baby, the big day is approaching fast, and you’re wondering what to put in your baby bag ready for hospital. If you’re planning a home birth it’s just as important to have a baby bag handy just in case you need to go to hospital after all.
While it’s tempting to cram everything but the kitchen sink in there ‘just in case’, it’s actually much better to stick to the things you’ll genuinely need, avoiding confusing clutter. Here’s our expert take on the absolute essentials for a baby bag.
How early should I pack my baby bag?
The experts recommend you get your baby bag together at least three weeks before your due date. Four weeks is a good choice, early but not too early. It’s there for you if you happen to go into labour before the due date you’ve been given.
What are the baby bag essentials for the mum-to-be?
First, think what you’ll need to help you feel comfortable, at home and well equipped for your stay in hospital.
Baby bag tips – Pack a washbag with essentials and treats
A well-stocked washbag is a great first step, containing your toothbrush, a hairbrush or comb, and if you have long hair, something to tie it back with so it doesn’t get in your way during labour. Add a flannel if you use one, and take some lovely scented soap. Your lips might get dry so pack some soothing lip balm. Deodorant will help you feel fresh, and you might even want to bring along some make-up basics, moisturiser, even some perfume to help you feel good. Remember to take a small mirror if so!
A little battery-run fan helps keep you cool and you might even pack a nice, fresh-feeling water spray for the ultimate in chilled-out treats.
Keeping yourself happy and occupied
You might end up spending quite a lot of time waiting around, so unless you’re happy entertaining yourself you’ll enjoy a book or electronic reader, some magazines, or a gadget to listen to radio, music or podcasts. If you’re taking tech with you, remember your charger and fully charge it beforehand and bring your charger along.
How about special baby bag clothes?
You’ll want to wear something light, fresh, loose and really comfortable during labour itself, clothing that won’t either restrict your movements or make you feel too hot. And it’s sensible to pack three sets of loose, comfy clothes to change into so you always feel clean and fresh.
Take a few loose nighties, pyjamas or tops that open at the front, handy if you’re planning to breastfeed your new baby. 2 or 3 comfortable, supportive bras will make such a difference, including nursing bras if you’re going to breastfeed. Just bear in mind your boobs will probably grow quite a lot bigger during the last few weeks of your pregnancy.
Remember to pack some breast pads to help you stay fresh. A couple of packs of ultra-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads and 6 pairs of knickers complete the picture – disposable knickers are a great idea. And your dressing gown and slippers will help you feel at home, and cover up that awful papery hospital gown-thing you might have to wear!
Baby bag extras to remember
Your own soft towels from home will provide another little familiar treat in hospital. Healthy snacks and drinks will sustain you on the journey from arrival to the birth, there whenever you need them. Extra pillows from home will help keep you as comfy as possible at every stage, and don’t forget your TENS machine if you’ll be using one for pain relief. You’ll need to bring along any medicines you’re taking. And whatever you do, don’t forget your birth plan and hospital notes.
Baby bag contents – What will your new baby need?
You’ll arrive without a child and leave home with a baby, so he or she will want some cute bodysuits and sleeping clothes. They’ll need a cosy outfit to go home in, including a hat, little scratch mittens, and either warm socks or booties.
Nappies are absolutely vital from the start, and you’ll need lots of them. It’s good to bring a shawl along, or a blanket, to keep you and the baby private and warm when breastfeeding, and muslin squares or bibs help protect your clothes when feeding your new baby in hospital. Last but not least, buy and fit a baby car seat in good time so you’re prepared for a safe journey home.
Pack your Biovault Family kit in your baby bag
More and more mums to be are arranging to collect and store their umbilical cord blood, which is rich in the kind of stem cells that might, one day, be used to save their child’s life or cure them of a serious disease. Whether you’re enjoying a home birth or plan to go into hospital, you’ll need the kit conveniently to hand so your midwife or other supporting medical professional can do what needs to be done at the perfect time.
Make sure your Biovault Family Kit is safely in the bag from the start, and check the instructions carefully along with your healthcare pro so you both know exactly what to do and when to do it.
What goes in a home birth baby bag?
Your midwife will help you decide what you need in your baby bag for a home birth. Your first task is to decide, in advance, where you’re going to give birth, and prepare it early so you don’t have to panic or rush around when your waters break. You’ll want to prepare some clean bedding, clean towels, clothes for the baby – including a warm hat – plus nappies, and plenty of ultra-absorbent sanitary pads or maternity pads.
This isn’t a baby bag thing, but do make sure you have reliable transport ready and waiting just in case you need to go into hospital rather than complete the birth at home. This’ll help you feel relaxed and fully prepared to make the most of this magical experience.
What to put in your birth partner baby bag?
Your birth partner also needs to equip themselves for what could be a long stay in hospital with you. They’ll need things to entertain themselves plus snacks and drinks, cash, a phone with essential numbers stored in it, their own wash bag and, if there’s a chance they might stay overnight, a sleeping bag and portable camping mattress.
What else do you need to prepare for the birth?
The more you can do to prepare everything, the smoother everything will go and the easier you’ll find the first few days at home with your new baby. The last thing you need, after giving birth, is having to organise stores of nappies or household essentials like loo roll. Make sure the fridge and freezer are well stocked, and maybe cook and freeze a week’s worth of meals in advance.
Now you’re fully prepared, you can focus on the important things – giving birth to your child and collecting the cord blood and tissue that could one day save or change their life. Here’s where you can order your Biovault Family Kit. Good luck with everything!