When you’re pregnant, labour and giving birth tend to loom largest in your thoughts, but it pays to be organised and plan ahead for what you’ll need afterwards.
Here's 14 things to plan and shop ahead for
Things you'll need in hospital
- Maternity sanitary towels: Ordinary ones just won’t do and tampons are not suitable because of the risk of infection. Many women bleed post partum for about 4-6 weeks, so might be worthwhile if you stock up. And even if you have a caesarean, expect bleeding as the internal placenta site heals.
- Disposable knickers: Trust us you won’t want to keep the pants you wear in the first few days.
- Comfy pants/PJ bottoms and baggy T-shirts: White nighties may look good in your photos – but they’re just not practical in the first few days. Also pyjama tops which button up at the front helps with easy access when learning to breastfeed.
- Loose fitting clothes: It takes time for your uterus to contract back down to its normal size and your body to recover from birth. So be easy on yourself and try not to worry about your weight. And with more important things to think about (like your cute as a button new baby) you won’t be worried about fitting into your old skinny jeans.
- Dressing gown and slippers: You’ll need one for dashing up the corridor to the bathroom.
- Set up a group email: Save yourself endless texts and phone calls by setting up a group email to announce the birth details and attach a photo – or create a closed/private group of all your friends and family on Facebook if this appeals to you.
- Breastfeeding basics: You’ll need a front opening maternity feeding bra, breast pads, and some nipple cream may be handy too.
- Makeup and cosmetics: A can of dry shampoo, a hint of tinted moisturiser and some lippy can banish that just-run-over-by-a-bus look – you’ll be glad you made the effort when you see the photos. Avoid using perfumes so you can breathe in that intoxicating newborn baby smell.
Your first few days at home tend to be dominated by your baby’s feeding and sleeping, so it helps if you’ve got some of the others bases covered in advance. Aside from the essentials such as a cot, bassinette or Moses basket, the following may be useful:
- Book an online grocery delivery or pre-prepared food service: It’s one less thing to think about and will make life easier for you and your partner.
- Say yes to offers of help: Those relatives who ask what they can do to help? Ask them to cook you a meal and deliver it or sort the washing and ironing for you.
- Invest or hire a breast pump: Expressing milk to freeze or store in the fridge means your partner could give your baby one of their feeds and give you a break in the evenings.
- Don’t forget bottles: If you’re bottle-feeding either full-time with formula milk or partially with expressed milk you’ll need at least six bottles, plus sterilising equipment.
- Blow up a rubber ring: If you’ve got stitches and bruising you may find it helps to sit on an inflatable ring to take the pressure off.