Just thought I'd start this thread with simple matter of fact practical tips that you can take or leave at your will. Please feel free to add your own.
- If you plan on breastfeeding, I'm sure you know already, but don't forget the nursing bras and pads for the hospital. I did, for some reason I thought I wouldn't need them as I'd be feeding all the time and in my pjs anyway. Of course I leaked loads and ruined every top I had with me, soaked them through and had no nursing bras to wear.
Another breastfeeding tip, sometimes for whatever reason, it just doesn't work out and you may have to bottle feed. To save yourself a load of stress, have some ready made cartons of formula and bottles ready to use just in case.
Practice using the steriliser, and any other items you have before baby arrives so that you're not trying to figure out the instructions with a screaming baby in your arms.
Before baby arrives, make sure you or your partner practice putting the car seat into the car a few times, you do not want to be standing outside the hospital dying to get home while trying to figure out how the damn thing works! I'd even suggest doing it a few times to get very familiar with it, my husband finally did one practice after loads of badgering, but when it came to doing it with a real baby he messed it all up and spent about ten minute trying to do it in the rain with a tiny baby in the seat and me sitting across from him giving him evils.
Stock up on batteries and always have spare ones, you do not want to be trying to soothe a crying baby at 3am because the batteries on your slumber bear ran out!
For epi stitches the best relief I got was from a frozen gel pack that you put into your knickers, the second it went it I'd be groaning with relief, so much better than painkillers. Mothercare sell them but I'm sure you could improvise if caught short.
Get yourself some really comfy clothes for at home after the hospital, I found getting into brand new and very cosy lounging clothes a real treat when you're sore and exhausted.
Dark towels in the hospital are handy in case of any spillages, but i'd advise to wash them first, I used brand new black towels that I got in Penneys and ended up having to re-shower to get all the black fluff off me.
Will add more as I think of them.