EVEN if you've planned every single step of your labour plan, there's no guaranteeing that it'll actually pan out that way.
That said, the one thing you do have absolute control over is the contents of your hospital bag.
Speaking to Mama Mia, Australian Birth Stories podcast host Sophie Walker explained how she interviewed 300 mums to find out the 20 essential items they had with them on the special day.
To kick things off, mums recommended having a water bottle with a straw with you at all times.
The expert explained: "Sipping from a straw is much easier in labour as you may be prone to gagging or vomiting if you drink too much too quickly.
"You may also be lying down or on all-fours and in these instances, a straw is most helpful, as it is after birth when you’ll be holding or feeding your baby."
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What's more, others brought their own insulated mugs and tea bags with them.
Not long does this give you a bit of home comfort, it means you're also less likely to spill your drink too. Win-win.
And on the subject of liquids, mums took in bottles of coconut water as well.
"They're full of electrolytes which help your muscles contract efficiently," Sophie said. "Without them your muscles become tired and weak and consequently, your labour may slow down."
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Once your baby arrives, chances are you'll be ravenously hungry – so mums who have been in that position before recommended taking in some snacks to tide you over.
And as you might have to spend a night or two in the labour ward, bringing your own pillow and towel in with you also came highly recommended.
As you'll probably be up with the baby in the early hours of the morning, it's also worth taking a night light with you too to help with nappy changes and late-night feeds.
If you're already planning on formula feeding, make sure to come armed with plenty of bottles to hit the ground running.
20 Hospital Bag Essentials
- Water bottle with a straw
- Coconut water
- Insulated mugs and tea bags
- Your own pillow
- Night light
- Loose clothing
- Nursing bra
- Button-down PJs
- Adult nappies
- High-waisted underwear
- Peri Bottle
- Nipple Balm
- Phone charger with extra long cable
- Hair Ties
- Lip balm
Unsurprisingly, comfy underwear came up time and time again – with mums recommending nursing bras and high-waisted pants.
She added: "Comfort is key and you’ll want something that stretches to fit your breasts when your milk comes in, even if you're not planning on breastfeeding.
"[High-waisted pants] can help especially if you’ve had a caesarean birth as you don’t want the waistband of your undies placing pressure on your wound.
"They can also help to support your belly and keep maternity pads in place."
Along with nipple cream and lip balm, mums said their other life-saver was a Peri bottle – not to be confused with Nando's!
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Available in most pharmacies, this bottle squirts water onto the perineum to keep it clean in the days following the birth.
Meanwhile, others said it's worth buying a phone charger with an extra long cable as plugs are quite often really far away from the wall.
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