The days of grabbing your keys, mobile and wallet and heading out the door are soon to be over, and it all starts with the birth! Here is a comprehensive checklist devised by Essential Baby members to help you with your first step on the journey of parenthood!

Needless to say you don't need to take everything or there won't be room for bub in the car! Have a browse and choose the things that seem relevant to you.

Paperwork

  • Ante Natal Card
  • Hospital Information
  • Several copies of your birth plan
  • Private Health Insurance details (if applicable)
  • Cheque for Excess (if applicable)
  • Medicare Card/Details
  • GP's details

For Mum during the birth

  • Lip balm as your lips can become dry and chafed during labour from heavy breathing. This may offer some relief.
  • Massage/Aromatherapy oils for during labour.
  • Soothing music of your choice for during labour, and CD player (or Ipod and speakers) if the hospital does not supply.
  • Something comfortable to wear such as a loose tee shirt or nightie.
  • Extra pillows.
  • Beanbag if preferred (check with your birthing hospital).
  • Lollies or lollipops to suck on.
  • Watch with a second hand to time contractions.
  • Hand mirror if you want to watch the head crowning and baby being born.
  • A bedside clock as after birth you'll frequently be asked about your babies feeding and dirty/wet nappies.
  • Sports drink/squeeze bottle.

For Mum

  • Two to three nightie/pyjamas if you are staying at the hospital
  • Slippers/socks
  • Bathrobe as you may be in a shared ward
  • Two to three nursing bras/tops
  • Two boxes of disposable breast pads
  • Underwear: it pays to have some old ones in the bag that can be thrown away in case of staining in the days after birth.
  • Maternity Pads - at least two packets - your partner can always bring more if needed. Some women prefer incontinence Pants - not good post-Caesar.
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush, hair bands, make up, deodorant, liquid soap, moisturiser, Lanisoh (nipple cream), hair dryer (wonderful for drying yourself completely and gently for stitches/soreness).
  • Glasses/Contact lenses
  • Face washers
  • Hand cream/gel
  • Towel
  • Day clothes: bear in mind that you will be sore so loose fitting clothes are suggested
  • A roll or two of your own soft toilet paper. You are bound to be tender and don't want to be using something hard and scratchy! Some women prefer flushable wipes.
  • Breast Pump: in case there is a need to express. The hospital should have these, but some women prefer certain brands and may prefer to use their own.
  • Plastic bags for dirty clothes
  • Tissues
  • Metamucil & Ural
  • Multi-Vitamins (Elevit etc) if you plan on continuing to take them if breastfeeding.
  • Digital camera and charger
  • Snacks

For your birth partner

  • Snacks for during and after labour. It can be a long time between meals for your partner so pack some snacks that he can nibble on whilst you are in labour. You may be there for a long time and sourcing food will be the last thing on his list.
  • Panadol: some partners suffer from stress and tension headaches when watching their partners in pain and often hospitals won't give medication to fathers so it can be handy to have some in your bag.
  • Money for pay phone or a charged mobile phone to make birth announcement calls.
  • Pen
  • Magazine
  • Own pillow
  • Watch or small clock for feeding, nappy change records

Extras!

  • Address book
  • Video camera
  • Normal camera with film and extra batteries
  • Snacks for when you are back on the ward
  • iPod
  • Journal/Notepad to keep notes of the things you may forget in the haste of everything.
  • Magazines and books for reading when baby is sleeping (if you are not!)
  • Wallet if you're wanting to purchase from snack trollies, canteens, or pay for the use of TV or telephone. Be careful about leaving money in your room when unattended, or simply make sure your partner has money with him each time he comes!
  • Pen for filling out paperwork, and thank yous if you feel up to it.
  • Your own pillow or doona
  • Box of chocolates and thank you pressies for midwifes.
  • Baby nail scissors
  • Framed photos of the other kids as it makes them feel special when they come in to visit.

For Baby

  • Four stretchsuits
  • Four singlets
  • Four pairs socks/booties
  • Four cardigans (depending on season)
  • One cellular blanket (for going home)
  • Scratch mittens
  • Nappies & wipes (some hospitals provide them, discuss this with your hospital before you give birth).
  • Cotton wool
  • Extra nappy pins (the hospital ones may be blunt)
  • Going home outfit
  • Bunny rugs
  • Toiletries: baby bath lotion, shampoo (if your baby has hair!, brush and comb, massage oil.
  • If bottle feeding, check if you need to supply your own bottles and formula.
  • Warm hats/bonnets

Car

  • A correctly fitted Australian Standards Approved Car Restraint
  • Big garbage bag and towel in case your water breaks in the car

When the birth is over you'll have the single most important thing of all - your beautiful bundle of joy!

Discuss pregnancy tips & questions and birthing experiences with Essential Baby members.