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You should have your hospital bag packed and ready to go four to six weeks before your due date – and make sure dad or your birth partner knows where it is. See below for our comprehensive list.

For me during labour

  • Medical notes and birth plan – print a few copies to put in your hospital bag
  • TENS machine – easy-to-use pain relief
  • Old t-shirt or nightie – something you’ll feel comfortable in
  • Bottle of water – choose one with a sports lid
  • Energy-boosting snacks – labour can be a long and tiring business
  • Hair ties or scrunchies – to tie your hair back and stop it getting in your face
  • Water spray or hand-held fan – mums often say cooling down made them feel better
  • Socks or slippers – conversely, your feet can get cold during labour

For me after the birth

  • Maternity towels – you can expect to bleed heavily after birth
  • Disposable maternity briefs or old knickers – as above, this isn’t the time for your best lingerie
  • Two nursing bras – even if you’re not breastfeeding, your breasts need comfy support
  • Breast pads – help soak up leakage
  • Nipple cream – works wonders on sore nipples
  • Towel, dressing gown and fresh nightie – will feel like a little bit of home
  • Flipflops or slippers – nice for getting up for the loo or having a little walk
  • Toiletries, make-up and hairbrush – a shower after birth will be heavenly
  • Mobile phone and phone charger – let close friends and family know the happy news
  • A comfy going-home outfit – you’ll probably still look 5-6 months’ pregnant and you’ll want to be comfortable

For baby

  • Pack of newborn nappies – stock up on these for home as well
  • Nappy cream – good to have to hand
  • Nappy bags – for obvious reasons!
  • Cotton wool or baby wipes – you’ll be changing nappies up to 12 times a day
  • Hat, mittens and socks – you’ll need to make sure your baby is warm enough
  • Baby clothes – three or four sleepsuits and three or four vests
  • Going-home outfit or pramsuit – choose something special!
  • Cosy blanket and soft baby towel – lovely for cuddles
  • Soft muslin squares– useful for pretty much everything
  • Car seat (Group 0+) – it’s against the law to take your baby home in a car without one

For dad/birth partner

  • Magazines, newspaper, book and music – there’s often a lot of waiting
  • Camera/camcorder and spare batteries – for baby’s first pictures
  • Phone and charger – everyone will want to know how you and baby are
  • Change for car park/vending machine – in the rush, this is easy to forget
  • Plenty of snacks and drinks

Other bits and pieces

  • Lip balm – the air on hospital wards can feel very dry
  • Support pillow – hugely helpful for the first feeds
  • Your glasses or contact lenses
  • Facecloth or sponge – even a quick wash will help you feel fresher
  • Disposable bags – useful for taking home dirty clothes

Need to know! Make sure you’ve got these details to hand

  • Important phone numbers
  • Where my hospital bag is
  • How we plan to get to hospital

Tesco Loves Baby top tips

  • Don’t worry – if you forget something important, the hospital may be able to provide it or a visitor can bring it in for you
  • Do make sure your birth partner checks road works or potential disruptions on the hospital route
  • If you think you’ve over-packed, leave non-essential or larger items in the car boot. Your partner can always pop out to retrieve them for you later
  • Remember you can get lots of the things you need for your hospital bag at Tesco!

From bump to toddler, Tesco Baby Club is here to help you at every stage. If you’re not a member already, join the club now for great savings and expert advice.

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