When packing your labour bag you may forget - or be unaware of - what you'll really feel you need straight after the birth. Here's what some new mums found invaluable:
"Arnica tablets really helped reduce bruising around my perineum - I was knocking them back in the delivery room as the homeopath told me you really need to take them as soon as possible after the birth. Tea tree and lavender compresses were also very soothing. I hired a Valley cushion through the NCT, which really helped on the journey home in the car - and for a couple of weeks afterwards."
To find out more about hiring a Valley cushion call the NCT Enquiry Line: 0870 444 8707.
"I wanted something really good to eat after I'd had Joe, but all the hospital could offer was toast at 10 o'clock in the morning, and by lunchtime I was asleep, missing out on food for the best part of a day. So to revive me after the birth of my second child I asked my parents to pick up my favourite Marks & Spencer sandwiches and fruit salad as they raced over to the hospital to see their newly born grandchild."
"I couldn't believe how many maternity pads and disposable knickers I went through in the first day. So make sure you pack plenty of pads - and get reusable MAVA knickers from NCT Maternity Sales (click on Shop above to order). It's hard for your partner going out shopping to stock up on these things and it cuts into the time you could spend together with your new baby."
"I had my baby at home and the phone just didn't stop ringing. All I wanted to do was sleep and be together just the three of us as family for the first few days. It was lovely that people cared, but it was exhausting to keep going over the event on the phone. Next time we'll put a message on the answering machine saying we're 'fine but resting' and get back to well-wishers when we're ready for it."
I needed a dressing gown to preserve my dignity in the hospital, but my towelling robe was far too heavy to be comfortable in the overheated atmosphere. So next time I'm packing a light cotton robe."