My mummy’s friend is just about to have another baby, so the whole birth thing is a the top of my mind at the moment. If I’m honest, I don’t remember too much about mine, other than it was a bit of shock turning up in a noisy hospital having spent so long in a comfy, quiet, warm place. Mummy says the hospital looks like it sailed with the Ark; I don’t know, because that was long before my time.
It seems to me that mummies are more relaxed if they have an idea about how and where they want to give birth. I think classes are definitely a good thing, although in my experience, and I’ve only been born once, the best thing to come out of the classes is other mummies and babies going through it at the same time – you have someone to talk it through with. Believe me, I’ve heard my Mummy talk to her new mummy friends about stuff she won’t talk to Daddy about!
I would say that it’s a good thing to have a plan, but be prepared to have different variations of the plan. My Daddy says that “failing to plan is planning to fail,” so my mummy had a plan, but I don’t think she ever took it out of the bag at the hospital. It had done its job by then though – Mummy and Daddy had talked it through and discussed various scenarios, so they were as ready as they thought they could be. (Between you and me, it didn’t work out as Mummy had thought, but that’s why it’s good to consider various options, in case the rose-tinted glasses are already being worn by someone else when you arrive.
There are pros and cons for water or ‘traditional’ births, home or hospital, and I’m not going to debate those. I only know about mine, so I can’t pass comment. I do think though that it’s important for any mummy or daddy—to-be to think about what they’ll need for the The Big Event. (Or anyone else who’s going to be there, for that matter.)
Most hospitals have limited space, so think about that if you’re going in. Obviously, if you’re going to be at home, you’ll have as many cushions, pillows, blankets etc as make you feel comfortable. My mummy packed two bags; one for labour, during the birth, and then the second for afterwards, in case we were in hospital for a while. Daddy went to get that from the car after I was born, so we didn’t have too much with us in the room. If you're staying at home, it might still be sensible to gather the "Birth" things together and the "Post-birth" things, too.
For your “Labour/Birth bag:”
For your “Labour/Birth bag:”
- A birth plan, or various versions of it
- Your maternity notes
- A nightie or t-shirt. Don’t take your best one though – the midwives won’t notice, and chances are, it will be ruined during the birthing process. Let’s be honest!
- Slippers and dressing gown – my mummy was so thankful for them after I was born because she could go and have a bath on her own and gather her thoughts
- We had snacks and drinks, but Daddy ate most of them. Still, it meant he didn’t need to leave!
- Mummy was grateful for the things Daddy wouldn’t have thought of, like a hairband, lip balm, chewing gum etc
- Perfume or make-up; apparently , it can make a huge difference to how you ladies feel.
- If you’re planning on using a TENS machine, make sure that’s in this bag.
- A change of clothes for your birthing partner – even if they don’t get messy, they might be wearing their clothes for a long time!
- Something to wear home! You’ve probably spent ages agonising over what we’ll wear home, you’ve forgotten yourself. Choose something comfy and loose – you lose a lot of weight in one hit, but you probably won’t fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans just yet!
- Toiletries, including some lip gloss, perfume, hair brush etc.
- A clean nightie. My mummy bought a couple of very cheap nighties than button down the front, just for the hospital. Apparently they look like something my great-grandmother would wear, but Mummy didn’t mind then if they got messy, and the buttons meant it was easier when we practiced feeding.
- Old knickers, as above – you don’t mind if they get ruined, and they probably will.
- And for the really ‘unsexy’ things that you might not consider – if you’ve never had a baby before, why would you? Nursing bras, breast pads, maternity pads – being a new mummy is not that glamourous!
And don’t forget us!
- We’ll need our car seat, obviously.
- Take a hat for us, even if it’s Summer.
- Something to wear home. If you want practical and easy, that’s fine, and if you want to go totally over the top with a “coming home” outfit, that’s fine too.
- A blanket – we’re not very good at regulating our own temperature to start with.
- Some vests and sleepsuits.
- Nappies, of course!