What do you actually need when you go into labour?

So, a couple of friends of mine have recently given birth and having just had Wriggler’s fourth birthday, I got to thinking – what do you actually need when you give birth…and on those ‘amazing’ lists given by the baby bibles, what did they miss or what were they wrong about?

Well, firstly, don’t pack too early as you keep adding to the bag (s) or repack entirely repeatedly. Also don’t leave it too late as you will forget something. I would say have your bag ready from about 37 weeks…and if you have older children have an overnight bag ready for them as well in case they have to stay at the grandparents while you have the baby.

Secondly, pack a bag for you and a bag for the baby, it keeps things organised and separate, just in case.

In your bag pack the things you need, such as maternity notes and clothes. In the baby’s bag have nappies (8-10 per day roughly), wipes and a blankie.

Thirdly, I would really recommend getting some A4 sized roll-up vacuum bags. Use two for you and put a vest top, knickers, maternity pads, a nursing bra, and breast pads in each. You can then just grab a pack when you have had the baby and are getting changed afterwards, or after your showers and the dirty stuff can be repacked into it. Then use four for the baby bag and put one outfit for the baby (vest, hat and babygro), nappy and muslin in each, so that The Mr can just grab one and have everything he needs to dress the munchkin when they arrive.


My top ten things to include are:

  1. Phone and phone charger
  2. Hair brush
  3. Energy drinks – like lucozade
  4. Sweets or snacks
  5. A light dressing gown (more to cover up than keep warm as the wards are usually warmer than average) and slippers
  6. PJs
  7. Your own towel
  8. Magazines (or a book if your attention span is up to it!)
  9. Spare change for if you do wander down to the cafe or shop
  10. Also take your own supply of ready mixed baby milk so that if you can’t get any from the hospital you are prepared

And three things to not bother with:

  1. A birth plan…perhaps it is better to have this as more of ‘I would like plan, but know it probably won’t happen plan’, as it is pretty rare we get what we think we want when in labour. I had a vision of a water birth for Wriggler…but was induced when 13 days overdue instead. And then for Fidget I assumed I would be waiting weeks again, only for an induction at 38 weeks to change that ‘plan’. So, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that shizz. Maybe have one thing that is important in the ‘experience’, like for me it was as long as The Mr tells me what we got (Team Yellow here!) then I would be fine
  2. Makeup…ok some of us might like to look pretty in those first ‘new mum’ photos, but in my experience it is the furthest thing from your mind…and even if you do slap some on it feels like a clown has painted your face and you still don’t look like you!
  3. A ‘labour outfit’ – I think I snorted when my midwife asked me as my waters broke at 10cm, if I had an outfit I wanted to change into to while I was in labour…I had done labour and this baby was coming and I had been in my PJs the whole time…bit late really…so to be honest you will labour in whatever you are wearing, just don’t be too attached to it as it might get a little yukky in the process

Need any more ideas? Check out these helpful factsheets: Emma’s Diary Checklist, NHS Pack Your Bag, Mothercare Baby Checklist, and Bounty Hospital Bag Checklist. Is there anything I miss or what would you guys recommend (or not) from your experiences?

2 thoughts on “What do you actually need when you go into labour?

  1. I followed all the tips on those “baby bible” sites and packed a massive overnight bag full of spare pyjamas, clothes, make up, hair dryer, straightener, books, food, snacks, energy drinks, a million baby outfits, nappies, hats, blankets, another bag for my other half full of snacks and drinks and books etc for him….We used precisely none of it! I used a bit of my shower gel and shampoo and that was pretty much it. If I ever have another one, I won’t worry so much about how much stuff to pack!

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