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Having your hospital bag packed early will mean that you’ll be ready whenever your baby does decides to arrive!  It’s best to have a labour bag containing items you’ll need during labour and birth, along with a hospital bag for after the birth with your baby’s things and your going-home clothes in it.  Your birth partner may want some personal items as well, in which case he or she may want to pack their own bag (yours is likely to be very full!).  It’s also worth noting that if you’re having a home birth it’s still a good idea to have your bags prepared so that everything is ready and in one place.

Here’s a list of everything you should pack in your labour bag, to help you get through the birth of your new baby…

Birth plan and maternity notes
Several nightdresses or t-shirts
Slippers or socks
A lightweight dressing gown
Lip balm
Water spray or sponge – to help keep you cool
Snacks and drinks – to keep your energy levels up
Maternity pads
TENS machine – used for pain relief (optional)
Favourite music
Hair clips and a brush
Tissues or wet wipes
Your mobile phone (and a charger!)

There are a few things you will need for both you and your new baby so it’s worth packing these in your hospital bag too!

Going-home clothes for you ­- loose & comfortable
Nursing bras – two or three
Breast pads – just in case you have any leaks!
Maternity pads – at least two packs
Big, comfy knickers
Open-fronted nightie – suitable for breastfeeding
Toiletries – wash items, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant
Baby clothes
Muslins or bibs – useful for mop ups
Nappies, baby toiletries and cotton wool
Baby blanket or shawl – for when you go home
Baby car seat – essential if you are driving home after the birth