Adventures of a Free-From Clothbum Mum!

Cloth nappies, dairy-free living, reviews and parental ramblings!

Going off topic – my labour bag!

on February 15, 2012

Ok, so I said that I’d throw in a few random posts, and this is one of them. I remember when I was getting ready for going to hospital, I worried myself silly about what I needed to put into my hospital bag. I really got in a stressy fuss about it, and I just didn’t need to.
So I thought I’d share what worked (and what really didn’t work) for me, plus some other bits that I used at home after the birth that made my life a whole lot easier.

Obviously, I’m going to start with nappies. I convinced myself that using cloth in the hospital would be too hard work and so I packed a few packs of disposables to use. I did use them, but not for very long as I also had packed some teeny tiny cloth nappies – and I’m so glad that I did. It honestly wasn’t that hard – we just had a wetbag with us that we took home (I was only in for one night, so that made it easier) and meconium (the first poos that a baby does) isn’t as tough to get off cloth as I was told it would be.

Using cloth with a brand new baby isn’t going to be for everyone. I’m personally glad that we did as we started off exactly as we meant to go on, we didn’t really know any different (which meant that we didn’t slip back too much into using disposables) and as Monkey’s birth was relatively straightforward, using cloth wasn’t too bad. If you have a rather difficult birth, however, and you’re utterly exhausted, or your little one has to have more specialised care, then disposables would obviously be a lot easier. It’s all about what works for you at the time!

Anyway – my bag. I packed the following things that were great –

My Tens machine – I got an Elle tens machine and it was the best thing that I got by far! The second I thought something was a bit funny, a bit different, I strapped that baby on and I managed to get to 7cm before I even got to hospital! Once I was there (not too long after as my labour was very fast) I managed with just that, gas & air and then a waterbirth (obviously no Tens then!) It was well worth the money. You can hire them but I thought it made more sense to buy considering that I want another baby!

Black and dark bluenighties/PJ’s/ towels/ dressing gown – all I need to say is, don’t wear light colours. They show up stuff and stain more easily. Don’t want to get gory, but honestly – darker colours are better, in my opinion!

Nice, comfy cotton knickers (black) in a size bigger than normal. I packed those god-awful paper knickers (because that’s what I thought you were meant to do). UGH. They are really uncomfy. I wouldn’t bother – complete waste of money.

Net knickers from the NCT shop. Really handy as they don’t rub on any scars and are really comfy. I didn’t have a C-Section, but thought I should have a few pairs just in case. I did wear them and they were incredibly unattractive but did their job well!

Natural maternity pads. I got a range of maternity pads and the Natracare ones were by far the best. They’ve got a lovely, breathable cover on them and are completely organic. I really felt the difference when I wore these in comparison to others that had plasticky backs or were made from other materials. These just made me feel, much nicer – you know…down there!

Arnica tablets. Obviously, I don’t know whether I would have healed slower or bruised more if I hadn’t have had these with me, but I got one of those click ampule Arnica tablets dispensers from my local chemist and took them regularly. I seemed to heal very quickly after giving birth and also used an arnica bath gel/shower gel as well.

A empty sports water bottle. One of these, filled with warm water, is essential when you go to the loo after having a baby. If you don’t have one, ask the midwives for a little jug. You’ll thank me for it later!

Reusable breastpads. I had a mixture of disposable ones and reusable ones. The best disposable ones that I used were the Tommy Tippee or Nuby ones, but they cost quite a lot per box. I’ve found that reusable breastpads really save quite a bit of money (like cloth nappies vs disposables) and ones backed with PUL are better as they don’t leak through your clothes. I’ll blog more about these in the future, but it’s well worth getting a few pairs before you go into hospital.

A spritz bottle with diluted witch hazel in it. A friend of mine, who’s a midwife, suggested this. It really helps to heal any area that’s been stitched and soothes it at the same time. I was so lucky in that I didn’t need to use it, but I gave it to a lady next to me who told me it was wonderful – so I know that it does the trick!

Babygrows with inbuilt mitts. These are worth their weight in gold. Forget the ones without mitts, you’ll spend forever trying to find little tiny mittens that seem to continuously, magically, disappear!
Make sure you take a range of sizes. I thought I’d have a teeny baby as I was a very small baby & my bump was tiny, but I got a nearly 9lb whopper so half our stuff didn’t fit!

Camera/video camera. Don’t really need to say anything apart from – don’t forget! We nearly did!

Glucose tablets/ fruit bars. These gave me little bursts of energy when I had none! Great stuff.

Things that I found an utter waste of time, include the following –

A tankini – I had a waterbirth and for some reason, I thought that I might end up wearing this for part of the birth at least (I think I’d watched too much of One Born Every Minute). I didn’t need it. The room was quite warm and the idea of something touching my skin was just a massive no no! I obviously regressed to natural, hippy mummy and wanted just, erm, me!

Magazines – I had a very, very quick labour so these were completely useless. I thought I’d be there for hours and would need something to occupy my mind, but there was no time to even cough! They got passed over to another lady quite quickly!

My iPod. Again – thought I’d be spending hours on the maternity ward, bored to tears, but – no! So, all those lovely playlists that I made just weren’t listened to. We didn’t get the music in the birthing room – there just wasn’t time, and we didn’t really think about it! Too busy getting on with the important stuff.

Cooling sprays. I gave birth in August so I thought that I’d be baking hot and that those sprays would be wonderful. Again, didn’t really get time to think about using them and a cold flannel pressed on my forehead did the job wonderfully (and cost pennies!)

My hair straighteners! Seriously – what WAS I thinking! People took photos of me in an exhausted state, looking like a mummy who’d just given birth. And, you know what? I love those photos! I look so so happy AND so, so real! Who the hell really has time to put on makeup, etc?!?! I love the fact that there’s nothing contrived about our pics. They capture the moment!

Reading this all back, it’s really funny that the things that I’ve mainly considered to be useful and important are mostly more natural items. I’m obviously much more of a hippy dippy mummy than I thought I was! The thing is, all the more organic, natural products like the breastpads and the maternity pads just feel better. They’re not as cheap as other ones – I know, but they’re well worth it. Cotton knickers are definitely a must and if you get black ones, then you can wash them and nothing will show. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be comfy after having a baby. If you’re not comfy, then you’re not going to be as relaxed as possible and when you’re in an environment that’s not your own home (obviously a home birth is different, but you’re not going to pack a hospital bag if you’re having your baby at home) then it’s nice to have some comfort!

Final tip would be – get your bag ready and leave it in the car/ by the front door. Sooooo much less stressful than trying to get bits together whilst you’re about to go in!

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3 responses to “Going off topic – my labour bag!

  1. Stephanie says:

    Whaoo! You were really ready (way more than me). Good job and I am sure it will help lots of other mums. If that can help, Really Eco Baby created a “mum nest” with some essentials for the hospital http://www.reallyecobaby.co.uk/ourshop/prod_1655542-New-Mum-Nest.html (sorry we don’t want to hijack your page, just though it could be useful).

  2. Kay says:

    This is really useful. I remember spending ages packing mine and then looking at it in disgust when I was in labour, thinking what on earth did I packall that rubbish for when all I really wanted was some cartons of juice to get me through!

  3. Rebecca says:

    I know! There are things you think you’ll need and there are things you absolutely wish you’d thought of. My top tip? I nearly had a home birth the second time and was there til the very end (went in eventually but had her just after we got there, it was like the ambulance journey triggered something!). But we didn’t have the right snacks around. I ended up being spooned honey (don’t really like honey) to keep energy up. Yuck. I suggest people have a really good think about that as you never know how long it will go on. This time I am going to make sure I am well stocked up on the chocolate I like. And lovely fresh things to drink.

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