Article contributed by Inish Pharmacy: Buncrana, Muff and Carndonagh
Pharmacist Emer King, who recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl, shares this guide to packing a maternity bag for a smooth delivery:
The HSE website has an excellent, extensive list of what you need to pack in your hospital bag. However, having had a baby last November, these are a few pointers from personal experience that I would do differently if I were pregnant again or was glad I did.
The first point I will say is to definitely have your birth partner with you when you are packing your bag. In my case, I had a very long ‘latent/ early phase’ labour, however, after arriving in the hospital, things moved very quickly and ended up quite rushed. I had packed my bags on my own, and so my poor husband looked absolutely blank when the midwife asked him to find anything.
Bring your pregnancy records everywhere with you. Be in the habit of always putting them in your bag when leaving the house. Again, this is in case you are rushing to the hospital (even the calmest of people will be nervous at this stage), and this is when you would be likely to forget those last-minute items that you can’t pre-pack. If you’re in the habit of always grabbing your folder, this should stand with you when you leave.
Clothing-wise – comfort is key! We are all tired at this point, get your loose-fitting clothes and pyjamas packed for the days following labour and birth. For underwear – choose large cotton or disposable ones. I used cheap cotton underwear from Penneys, however a lot of people did tell me that they found the disposable pants a lifesaver. If I were to go again, I would consider getting these. Also, bring plenty of maternity pads! You will be advised to wear two pads at a time initially and to change them every time you use the bathroom (especially if you have stitches) to prevent infection and aid healing. The best pads I found were the Bastos brand maternity pads.
Pack a nice shower gel for yourself. The showers you have in the hospital are almost healing in themselves. It is nice to have a little bit of luxury or your favourites as a little treat – God knows you deserve it!
Don’t forget to pack all your dental items. Brushing your teeth and keeping a routine will help in the early days when day and night merge together.
I found having a lip balm in my bag a lifesaver. The air conditioning and heat in the hospital dried my lips out so fast. I also packed a Sculpted by Aimee Connolly Hydralip, which is very moisturising but has a mild tint in it. Basically, you get all the hydration of a lip balm with the added bonus of looking like you’re wearing lipstick, which is fantastic when you want to feel glam without having to make an effort!
For baby, packing a ‘nappy caddy’ bag would be very helpful. I didn’t do this, and I found I was always bending to get bits and pieces mid-change. If you could lift out one bag that has all your items together, it would be very handy. You can pack what you prefer to use in this, however, I would recommend at least one pack of newborn nappies, nappy cream, nappy bags (good for disposing of soiled nappies), a portable changing matt, WaterWipes (or your preferred brand of baby wipe). You will also want cotton balls to clean the baby’s eyes every morning.
Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, bring breast pads. Your milk will come in whether it is stimulated with feeding or not. You do not need expensive pads, they all work very similarly and again, you will want to change them quite frequently, especially if you have a lot of leakage.
If you are choosing to breastfeed your baby, don’t forget to pack some Lanolin cream to prevent and/or treat dry and sensitive nipples.
If you are choosing to formula feed your baby, the hospital will provide disposable bottles and formula, so don’t worry about packing those. Ensure to pack bibs and muslin squares as your baby may spill/ spit milk out and spit some of their feeds up, especially in the beginning as they get used to feeding.
Whether or not you are planning on using a soother, it is always worthwhile to have a pack in your bag just in case you change your mind.
I brought a suitcase with me, and I would not recommend it. The hospital was busy when I was in, so having to drag a big suitcase up onto the middle of the bed during the night was very awkward and loud. A holdall-style bag would be better, in my opinion.
The most important thing to remember is should you forget anything, have your partner and family members prepared so that you may need them to bring you extra supplies. Using a click and collect service here would be very useful as you can have your items pre-chosen and purchased. Also, the staff in the maternity wards are lovely and very helpful, so don’t worry, they will be with you and help you through it all as best they can.
Emer – Mum of baby Molly
Pharmacist Inish Pharmacy
**EVERYONE HAS UNIQUE HEALTH NEEDS AND CIRCUMSTANCES SO ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR OR PHARMACIST BEFORE STARTING ANY NEW MEDICATION OR SUPPLEMENT**
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