Your Hospital Bag

Your hospital bag is a very important thing - be prepared! You can't throw in your entire wardrobe and decide on the day what you need - careful planning is required (or just read this list)

Toiletries

Shampoo, conditioner, soap, shower gel, cleanser (cleansing wipes are a convenient option), moisturiser, hairbrush, toothpaste and a toothbrush, deodorant. You may want to take some makeup, so that you won’t look quite as rough when visitors come, but you will probably be more concerned about your sore bits!

Salt

Which leads me rather neatly onto salt; put it in the bath if you have had a smal tear or very tender, it's healing and soothing. I would not recommend using it after stitches as it could cause them to dissolve. Speak to your health visitor for advice.

Clothes

Large, comfy t-shirt to wear during labour, a couple of nighties (front fastening are best for breastfeeding), slippers, nursing bras, plenty of pairs of dark, comfortable pants. I would recommend taking maternity clothes to leave hospital in. It is very unlikely that you will be able to get straight back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. Of course if you are one of the lucky few who can, then prepare to be hated by all other mothers, who are still trying to shift the baby weight after years (like me!).

Items you may require for labour

Water spray for your face (labour makes you even hotter and sweatier than a spin cycling class), lip balm (sounds crazy compared to what the rest of your body’s going through, but you lips will get dry and it will be annoying), glucose sweets, bottled water, hair bobble, socks, snacks, aromatherapy oils, music, books or magazines.

Maternity pads

Brick like sanitary pads – it will be gross down there.

Breast pads

Lesson one of motherhood, breast milk doesn’t just flow at feeding time.

A bath towel

You know, the things to dry yourself with :)

Cleaning stuff..

A bathroom cleaning spray and cloth or anti-bacterial wipes. In some hospitals bathroom cleanliness leaves a lot to be desired.

Baby stuff

Sleep suits, vests, scratch mitts, nappies, cotton wool, baby lotion, nappy cream, a first stage car seat and blankets for the journey home. Practise fitting the car seat before you need it, it may take some time to work out how to get the f***ing thing in (that is what you’ll be calling it).

Birth plan

The, er, birth plan.