Despite my resistance to a home birth, I spent most of my labour in my bathroom, with my son making a splash within an hour of my arrival at the hospital.
My hospital stay was short, and I didn’t use everything in my hospital bag, but it gave me great comfort knowing that I was well prepared.
While you’re on maternity leave, put your nesting instinct to good use by packing your hospital bag, freezing some meals, buying Young Living Essential Oils for your birthing kit, making some DIY products and creating your birth playlist.
Depending on your birth plan, where you’re having your baby and the facilities provided, choose what’s relevant for you from my suggestions.
Hospital Bag Checklist for labour:
- A Birth Doula offers support before, during and after birth to you and your partner (obviously she won’t fit in your bag). Check out the Australian Doula College (ADC) website for more information and help in finding the perfect doula for you. The ADC also do placenta encapsulation that I credit for my high iron levels, good milk supply and strong immunity.
- A laminated copy of your Birth Wish List. Do lots of research by attending birth education classes and ask your Doula, Midwife or OB questions to gain a thorough understanding of the stages of labour and birth to help you write your plan.
Writing a Plan B too will ensure you go into labour feeling empowered so that whatever happens, you’ll make informed decisions. Either ask your Doula for a template or find one online.
- An Electric Hot Pack to reduce pain in your lower back and abdomen. I was counting on using my wheat pack as a natural pain reliever wheat packs (along with hot water bottles) have been banned from maternity wards in Australia.
- A Playlist as some hospitals are mobile black spots so if you’re planning on using Spotify, have a back up plan.
I chose relaxing music from my yoga classes by some of my favourite artists such as Sacred Earth, Deva Premal, Snatam Kaur, Sharon Gannon, Donna De Lory and Krishna Das to name a few but choose music that resonates with you.
- A Fluffy Robe will keep you warm and is easy to breastfeed in.
- Portable Speakers to listen to your playlist in labour and for playing lullabies, nursery rhymes and The Wiggles later on.
- Headphones to listen to podcasts, watch movies on your mobile device or to make phone calls if your labour stalls. Comedies that make you laugh will boost oxytocin and help progress your labour.
- Snacks to give you energy and stamina. Have a stash of easy to digest finger food. Some of my favourites are:
- Cut up fruit that has a high water content to keep you well hydrated like watermelon, grapes, strawberries, oranges or apples
- Cut up veggies like cucumber and celery with some guacamole or hummus dip
- Bliss Balls
- A smoothie
- Warm soup in an insulated flask.
8. Pure Plain Coconut Water to keep you well hydrated. It’s a great electrolyte replacement and contains less sugar (and others nasties) than Gatorade or Powerade.
9. A Stainless Steel Drink Bottle with a sports cap so you can drink water when you’re in various positions. It’ll also be useful when you’re breastfeeding.
10. Therapeutic grade Essential Oils will make your room smell nice and keep you calm and relaxed. For a relaxing atmosphere, add 2- 4 drops of lavender essential oil in a diffuser.
11. A Diffuser will disperse the scents and the health benefits of the essential oils into the atmosphere. You can’t use Candles in hospitals so ditch your oil burner and buy a diffuser. You can also use it in your baby’s room to kill airborne germs, ease congestion, promote sleep and much much more!
12. A Face Spritz to use during labour and for when you’re a sleep deprived mama in need of a pick- me- up.
14. Your Own Pillow for comfort. To help you sleep during labour and afterwards, pop a few drops of lavender essential oil on it
To boost oxytocin (for bonding and breastfeeding), stay nice and warm after birth. Have a hot shower, dry your hair and put on clothes that are easy to have skin to skin contact with your baby and breastfeed in.
Hospital Bag Checklist for After Birth:
- Fragrance- Free Soap or Body wash to enhance bonding and promote breastfeeding.
- Deodorant Paste. Here’s a quick and easy DIY recipe if you’d like to make your own or buy some.
- Woollen Socks to keep your feet warm in bed.
- Ugg Boots to keep your feet warm and easy to slip on and off whilst juggling your baby.
- A Meal for after birth that is sweet, warm, oily, simple and moist. Choose easy to digest foods like soups and porridge and then introduce heavier meals once your digestion improves. Avoid cold, dry foods that can make you constipated. Arrange for a friend or a family member to bring you a home-cooked meal because hospital food is awful and void of any nutrient value.
- Cutlery to eat your homemade meals. I didn’t anticipate that there wouldn’t be any in the kitchenette when my husband showed up with home-cooked shepherd’s pie.
- An Insulated Reusable Coffee Cup will keep your tea or coffee nice and hot.
- A Warm Cup of Delicious Tea is like a hug in a mug and boosts oxytocin. Drink Raspberry Leaf Tea from 35 weeks to strengthen and tone your uterus in preparation for labour and birth and drinking it after your baby is born shrinks your uterus and provides you with a rich source of iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium.
- Ear Plugs and an Eye Mask to block out the noise and light from the nurse’s station, catering cart and noisy neighbours so you can sleep while your baby sleeps.
- Peri Spray to soothe and heal your perineum. To make your own, add 10 drops of frankincense and 10 drops of lavender to a 40 ml spray bottle and top with distilled water. Spray onto your perineum each time you pee or directly onto padsicles (frozen pads) for a cooling effect.
- A drop of Peppermint Essential Oil in the toilet before your first wee. The vapour is said to stimulate the urethra and bladder and to help your body to relax and let go.
If you’re keen to try the DIY recipes, reuse glass jars from home or purchase containers and the raw ingredients (excluding the therapeutic grade essential oils) from New Directions.
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Find out why I choose to use Young Living Essential Oils and how to buy them HERE
If you found any of these ideas helpful or have any questions, please COMMENT below.