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Everything you need to pack for labour, from maternity clothes to nursing bras and newborn sleepsuits to post-birth knickers

When do I pack my hospital bag?

As you enter your third trimester of pregnancy, it’s time to start thinking about your baby’s birth and getting items together to pack into your hospital bag. It’s best to have your hospital bag packed and ready to go from around 34 weeks just in case you go into labour earlier than planned. You don’t have to buy a special maternity bag, just look for a bag that’s the right size for a weekend away, as you’ll be packing items not only for you but also your new baby. Once you’ve packed the bag, keep it handy either in the car or near the door, so you'll be ready to go at a moment's notice. It’s also a good idea to plan your route to the hospital and do a practice run, just so you know how long it will take.

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What do I need in my hospital bag?

You’ll need something to wear during labour and don’t forget you’ll also need to take clothes and nappies for your new baby. Think loose and comfortable nightwear (look for buttons down the front if you’re planning to breastfeed), toiletries, a nursing bra, a lightweight dressing gown (hospitals are often very warm) plus newborn-sized clothes, maternity pads or period knickers. It’s also a good idea to pack an outfit for going home in – just remember you might not be back in your ‘normal’ clothes for a few weeks or months yet. Toiletries such as toothpaste are obviously a must, but also take a cooling spray and soothing lip balm to keep you comfortable during labour. Non-perfumed wash products are best for using post-birth as you’ll still be feeling very tender.

Your maternity bag checklist:

Lightweight dressing gown
Front-opening pyjamas or nightdress
Nursing bra (pack at least two)
Period pants
Cooling spray for labour
Lip balm
Slippers or thick socks
Mobile phone and charger
Newborn clothes
Muslin cloths
Baby blanket or swaddle
Going home clothes

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Words: Sarah Lafarge

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