Are you nearing the end of your pregnancy and the birth of your baby is just around the corner? If you haven't already done so, you're going to have to take care of the famous maternity suitcase. Clothes for the delivery room, birth trousseau, toiletries for your stay... But how do you prepare your maternity suitcase? Here's everything you need to know so you don't forget anything on D-day!
What is a maternity suitcase?
The term "maternity suitcase" refers not to a single suitcase, but to all the luggage a pregnant woman needs to prepare for her birth and her stay in the maternity hospital with baby. In most cases, this trousseau is divided into two: a bag for the birth room and a large suitcase containing the essentials for the post-delivery stay.
Why do you need to pack a suitcase before going to the maternity ward?
Packing before going to the maternity ward is an important step for the mother-to-be. Its main purpose is to organize and anticipate the big day. It is therefore often likened to a "rite of passage", enabling :
- accept the fact that you can now give birth at any time;
- prepare yourself mentally and physically for the arrival of your child;
- relieve stress by taking concrete action to bring about changes in your life.
When should you start packing your maternity suitcase?
There's no precise date for starting to pack your maternity suitcase. In fact, every mother is free to organize herself as she wishes. Some choose to gather their future baby's belongings very early on. Others take charge during the final weeks of their pregnancy.
For peace of mind on your way to the maternity hospital, we recommend that you don't leave it to the last minute. Ideally, pack your suitcase at the beginning of the ninth month of pregnancy, around 37 weeks of amenorrhea. From that point on, baby can be on the way! If you're thinking ahead, you can also start packing in the early days of your maternity leave.
As we've seen, packing your bags for the maternity ward is a crucial step if you are to look forward to your birth and your new life as a mother with peace of mind. Take advantage of these moments to refocus on yourself and your baby.
Instructions for use: everything you need to pack!
When you register, your maternity unit will give you a document listing the essentials for you and your baby's stay. This list may vary from one establishment to another, depending on the products you will be provided with(toiletries, diapers, etc.). To make sure you don't forget anything, we've compiled a list of baby and maternity essentials for the delivery room and your stay in the maternity ward.
For the delivery room: baby and mom essentials
To ensure that your delivery goes as smoothly as possible, here's what you can put in your birth room bag:
- a loose-fitting T-shirt or large nightdress;
- a vest;
- a pair of socks;
- a bottle of water;
- a mister;
- a packet of tissues;
- a book and music;
- a cell phone or camera to immortalize your first moments with baby.
You can also take along a pareo or a sturdy cloth to hang on to, to relieve the contractions. If you're a fan of alternative medicine, don't forget yourhomeopathic prescription. On the day of delivery, certain essential oils can be used to soothe pain. So don't forget to pack your bottle of massage oil for the big day!
To welcome baby in the best possible conditions, put together the following trousseau:
- a cotton bodysuit;
- velvet pyjamas;
- a warm bra;
- a bonnet;
- a pair of socks;
- a soft blanket;
- a sleeping bag ;
- a cotton diaper (useful for skin-to-skin contact) ;
- an eco-friendly disposable diaper.
For your stay in the maternity ward: the mother and baby bag
After a monitoring period of around two hours, you and your baby can return to your room. To make the most of your stay, we recommend that you pack these essentials in your maternity suitcase:
- two pyjamas or nightgowns;
- five loose-fittingtunics or T-shirts;
- two leggings or jogging suits ;
- a vest;
- a bathrobe or robe;
- two pairs of socks ;
- compression stockings (especially if you wore them during pregnancy);
- comfortable slippers;
- two dark-coloured towels;
- three bras;
- five pairs of cotton or disposable panties;
- ultra-absorbent sanitary pads;
- toiletries (shower gel, shampoo, personal hygiene soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.);
- a few beauty products (make-up, moisturizing face cream, stretch mark treatment, make-up remover...);
- a hair dryer.
Also pack the following items for baby:
- six to eight front-opening bodysuits;
- six to eight cozy pajamas;
- three woollen vests;
- four pairs of socks ;
- slippers ;
- small cotton gloves (to prevent scratching) ;
- one or two sleeping bags ;
- a fleece blanket;
- two bathing capes;
- five bibs or diapers ;
- a warm outfit for when you leave the maternity ward (a bonnet, a pretty outfit, a pilot suit or an angel's nest);
- a comforter ;
- a pacifier (if necessary) ;
- eco-friendly disposable or washable diapers;
- bath and diaper products (liniment, wipes, diaper cream, mild soap, saline solution...).
Some maternity hospitals supply baby care and hygiene products. But be sure to ask before the birth to make sure you have everything you'll need during your stay.
Administrative documents to bring with you
Before leaving for the maternity ward, don't forget to take along a folder containing essential administrative documents:
- your ID and that of your father;
- your carte vitale;
- your health insurance card;
- your maternity file;
- your test results;
- your ultrasounds ;
- your blood group card;
- your birth plan (if you have written one) ;
- the family record book (livret de famille ) or early acknowledgement (if you have already done so).
If you've decided to breastfeed your child, here's what you also need to pack in your maternity suitcase:
- clothing compatible with breastfeeding (that opens easily at the sides or front);
- three nursing bras ;
- washable nursing pads (to absorb milk leaks);
- mother-of-pearl or silver nursing shells;
- a lanolin-based cream or sterilized honey (for cracked nipples).
Our tips for packing your maternity suitcase with peace of mind
When a pregnant woman is organizing her maternity suitcase, it's easy to get carried away and pack too much for fear of running out. To help you stay calm during this important stage, we invite you to follow these three tips.
1. Go straight to the essentials by choosing the essentials for you and your baby
Your maternity bag and suitcase are not expandable (unfortunately!). We therefore recommend that yougo straight to the essentialsand prepare them according to your needs and those of your baby. Take along clothes for dressing, hygiene and toiletries, and whatever you feel most comfortable with.
What may seem necessary to you may not be so to other moms. However, make sure you don 't pack too many bulky or expensive items that you probably won't use. Once you've finished packing your maternity suitcase, check that everything you've put in it will prove useful during your stay.
2. Have fun packing for motherhood
Organizing your maternity suitcase is the last step before meeting your child. By the time you read this, you may already have finished decorating the baby's room, so all that's left to do is pack for the big day.
So make the most of this moment that heralds the end of your pregnancy and the beginning of your new life as a mother. Enjoy these final preparations and connect with your baby. Explain, for example, that you're gathering everything you need to welcome him at birth. Imagine him in the pretty layette you and dad have chosen for the occasion, and enjoy this unique moment!
3. Don't be afraid of forgetting something
Once you've packed your maternity suitcase, relax and enjoy the last few weeks of your pregnancy. Don't worry if you've forgotten something! If you're missing a bodysuit or your favorite shower gel, ask Dad to collect it from home or buy it in a store. If you need something to make labor easier, ask your midwife to lend you a balloon or find an alternative solution.
Where can I get all the components for my maternity suitcase?
To buy all the components of your maternity suitcase, you can visit a specialist nursery store. You can also buy online from French e-commerce sites.
We advise you to opt for natural hygiene products and items made from organic materials. A baby's skin is very sensitive, so it's essential to take care of it right from birth!
Maternity suitcase FAQs
When should you pack your maternity suitcase?
There is no exact answer to this question! The most important thing is to plan a few weeks in advance, so that you can leave for the maternity hospital with peace of mind on the day of the birth.
What size suitcase should I choose for my maternity ward?
Mothers-to-be generally opt for a medium or large maternity suitcase. In the case of a first pregnancy, we recommend you choose a large suitcase to hold all the things you'll need.
What should I wear to the delivery room?
For the delivery room, pack a small bag in which to slip a comfortable outfit: a large T-shirt or nightdress, a cardigan and a pair of socks.