My 48 hour survival guide to birth - from someone who gave birth a week ago

Below are some tips that I wish I had known or items I would have liked to already have had during labour and immediately after. This is just what helped me, it's not a definitive list but it's helpful.

Most of the items are from Amazon because you can get next day delivery which is a must when you're insomnia shopping at 2am and remember you need something to chill out the pain in your vagina.

LABOUR Contraction timer app

I didn't have an app downloaded for this already and there's loads out there. I used the Gentle Birth contraction timer as I'd been using their hypnobirthing app.

The contraction timer app was super easy to use and convinced my boyfriend I really was having contractions. Also useful when you first get to hospital to be able to tell them how many contractions you've had, how long, close together etc as this is information you won't retain!

Pain relief Pre labour do proper research into each type of pain relief available to you and their side effects so you can make an informed decision going into labour of what you want. In my birth plan I wrote I didn't want an epidural, after getting to fully dilated with no pain relief I was SCREAMING for an epidural! For me it was the best thing I did - especially when I found out, as I was about to start pushing, she was back to back so that would have been a WILD ride with no pain relief

during labour.

All the hypnobirthing, meditations, birth prep goes out the window. I've never experienced a pain like it and it's incomparable to anything other than labour. The contractions really are like waves - you feel them gradually rising, they peak and then dissipate. My TENS machine and handheld fan saw me through to fully dilated without any pain relief. Would I recommend that - no not really. But I did it. Buckle in it's one hell of a ride!

Immediately after birth In all honesty I did not feel an outpouring of love straight away for my daughter. I was relieved she was ok and everything was fine. I was ecstatic I was no longer pregnant but I wasn't madly in love with her. Birth is traumatic and is a massive physical undertaking. It took a while for me to ground and process that I now had a daughter. It took me a good few days and Oxytocin coursing through me that comes with breastfeeding to properly fall in love with her. But for those first 48-72 hours I felt a connection but I would have saved myself from a burning building first. Now I would take her out with me! But in all seriousness it's completely normal to feel quite indifferent to your baby as soon as they're born. Focus on yourself and patching yourself back together - the love for your baby will come.

Breastfeeding My recommendation would be to try it. With breastfeeding I have always said, if it works, it works. If it doesn't it doesn't. Why I say to try it is that you might actually like it! It definitely helped me bond better with my daughter, not to mention it rips through that calorie burn! So if like me, you're keen to get your body back, this is liposuction in a feed. As one of my friends said, "babies literally suck the calories out of you."

That said if you're adamant you don't want to, don't. There's too much bloody pressure on women that breastfeeding is the be all and end all. Breast is best is bollocks. Fed is best. Your one aim is just to keep your child alive every 24 hours. How you get through the 24 hours and how their survival happens is secondary - just get through.

Water You will be unbelievably thirsty. I was told to get a bottle with a straw after I'd given birth and I mean yes, this probably would be useful and I will get one as less likely to be spilled.

Food I vomited so much in labour. Getting to the bile level of sick which is not enjoyable when paired with contractions, so I was starving after I'd given birth and the epidural had worn off. I didn't bring any snacks into hospital but the grapes and crisps and sandwich my boyfriend came back with were most welcome.


  1. A handheld fan - hospitals are SO hot. I've never understood why. You will be eternally grateful for this cool air. It can stand up by itself so it's great for putting on the table next to you. One charge lasted me 24 hours in hospital and I had it on a lot!

  2. Water bottle with a straw - I didn't have one with a straw but I wish I had!!

  3. Baggy dress you can breastfeed in - I got changed into this as soon as I went into active labour as it was loose so helped keep me cool. I bought three but only ended up using one. I sized up so it was even baggier. It's a good length too, I'm 5'10" and my ass was not on show!

  4. Period pants - you need LOADS of these. I find them much more comfortable than wearing a pad and cooler too. With the lochia I found I was going through a pair every two hours. I took eight pairs into the hospital and that just about saw me through but I used pads in them to make them last longer while in there.

  5. Witch hazel and Aloe Vera Gel - I squirt this in my period pants and find it really soothing.

  6. Nappies - the hospital don't provide them. I took these biodegradable ones but tried my first reusable one in hospital and LOVED them.

  7. Reusable Nappies. These Pop-in newborn ones are INCREDIBLE. You can find second hand ones from FB marketplace and eBay. I cannot recommend the Pop-in newborn ones enough

  8. Wet bag - essential if you're using reusable nappies. Fiyyah is a wonderful female run small business and Amina the owner is super helpful. I have an extra large one for one and three medium / small ones for out and about

  9. Reusable wipes - SO much easier than you can imagine. Honestly you're going to be doing so much washing anyway why not try the wipes? I use cheeky wipes

  10. Peri bottle - If you had any tearing or even if you didn't. Fill this bottle with warm water and spray as you're weeing to dilute the urine. It really helps to take away the sting


  1. Incontinence pads - If you had an episiotomy or tearing like I have these are a godsend for sitting on without any pants on to get some air to your vagina.

  2. Pumping / feeding bra - if you're planning on breastfeeding no one really tells you that you need a bra to fit the pump too so you can be hands free. This one is super comfortable.

  3. Breast pumps - I didn't buy any pumps until I got home and had tried breastfeeding. I would recommend going down this path because if you don't like it then you won't have spent a shed load of cash. The Hakka and Spectra I can HIGHLY recommend. You'll be amazed how much milk you get from using the Hakka. The Spectra is super quick too and gets out a really good amount of milk in the recommended 10-15 minutes pump. The Elvie I'm still on the fence about. I think it's going to come in useful when I pump and dump but it takes a long time to not get very much out

  4. Hakkaa Manual Breast Pump...

  5. Spectra S2 Hospital Grade Double...

  6. Elvie Double Electric Wearable...

  7. Milk storage bags - when you've pumped the milk you need something to put them in. These are relatively cheap. I'm no the hunt for some good reusable ones but have yet to find any

  8. Bottles - I'm combi feeding and giving her bottles of breast milk but also formula if I need a break. I was recommended these by quite a few people and she has taken them really well

  9. Formula - this one has been great for us but there are SO many out there. Go with whichever one works for you

  10. Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine - If you're using bottles this will save you on the night feeds. TRUST ME.

  11. Steriliser - I got given this one that goes in the microwave. We're limited on space so this one is handy as it can just stay in the microwave rather than being another appliance you plug in!

  12. Baby nail file - It's quite weird how long their nails are when they come out! Then they scratch themselves and you will wish you had these already.

  13. Bottle brushes - yet another thing you didn't know you need until you know you need it!! Bottle Brushes Bottle Cleaning...

  14. Magnesium supplements - The jury is out as to whether this is helping me with post partum insomnia yet but there's interesting science behind it.

  15. Nightlights - You're going to be up at all hours. This selection of nightlights has really helped me not be dazzled / kept awake


  17. Deaunbr Soft Light Dual Induction...

  18. LED Night Light Plug in Walls...

  19. Waterproof washable changing mats - to go on top of your changing mat. As soon as my daughters nappy is off she either does a dirty protest or wees all over the mat. These are great.

Other tips

Set yourself up when you're feeding

Before you start make sure you have EVERYTHING you need around you. I always have phone, water, muslin cloth and snacks if you want some. NOTHING is more annoying than feeding a baby and not being able to reach for what you want as it's just too far. You will thank yourself a million times over just to prep for a few minutes before every feed that you're set up

Ask for help

Don't try and do everything yourself. If someone offers to come round to help you clean, feed, hold the baby ACCEPT it. Women often don't ask for help until we're on our knees and broken. You don't get a prize for battling through. Let people help.

Be prepared

Having a baby is the biggest life change you are probably ever going to go through. Read books, ask friends, research. I have studied for nine months in an attempt to try and nail this shit. If you fail to prepare you prepare to fail!

Enjoy it!

The affirmation that got me through labour was "you're not going to be pregnant at the end of this". I really didn't enjoy being pregnant and the relief of finally giving birth was INCREDIBLE!

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