There’s so much to think about when you pack your hospital bag. Things for you, the baby, your partner, it soon adds up and you can find yourself overpacking very easily. When I went in it looked like I’d packed for a 3 week cruise and I hardly used any of it. Hopefully the below list will help you (and me if I ever have another baby!) from making that mistake too!
- Stuff for your boobs
So, you got pregnant. Your belly got big. Did your boobs get big too? Mine got massive and I loved it and so did my boyfriend. But once you have your baby, your boobs feel about as sexy and sensual as a trip to the dentist. They start doing weird things like leaking and they’re sore every time you breathe! Don’t worry, it doesn’t last long but you will need a few bits to get you through it. Breast pads are a must unless you want to start squirting people in the eye like a lactating clown. Tops and bras that are soft but supportive and allow you easy access. Oh and nipple cream (the good stuff, something with lanolin in it should do the trick) and nipple guards so you can carry on breast feeding even if you do get sore.
2. Stuff for your lady parts
No one really wants to talk or think about the damage that is done to your precious vajayjay, but it happens. Now, don’t panic, just like your boobs, your lady garden will completely recover, it’ll just need a little TLC to get there. Comfy knickers are a must, either throwaway paper ones or big soft cotton ones you don’t mind ruining. Obviously, you’re gonna need maternity pads, the ones with the healing Aloe Vera in are nice – but my top tip is wet toilet paper. You know, the flushable kind that are basically baby wipes for your bits. Trust me when I say you will not want dry hospital toilet paper going anywhere near you for a while, the wet stuff is so much kinder to you plus you’ll feel much cleaner.
3. Clothes for you
Do not make the mistake of thinking that you’ll have this baby and need a smaller size in your nightwear instantly, it’s not gonna happen and you will want to be extremely comfortable after birth without anything tight or clingy. So, think about what you want to give birth in – for me it was just my bra, absolutely zero f*cks were given by me about what I looked like once labour started, but you might be different. So, something you don’t care about ruining for actual labour, a couple of nightshirts or pyjamas to wear in hospital, warm socks and slippers as you won’t be moving much and your feet get cold, maybe a dressing gown if it’s the colder months and loose fitting clothes to wear home.
4. Clothes for baby
This is a little trickier as you don’t know what size baby will be or how long you’ll need to stay in with them. However, all being well with you and baby most of us are looking at a night or two in hospital. So baby will need two or three sleepsuits and vests, a hat, some scratch mits and a nice outfit for the trip home (include a coat in this if it’s cold out) You’ll also need muslin’s for milk spills, lots of newborn nappies (as many as 12 a day, they really are sh*t machines at this age!) bottles if you’ve decided not to breastfeed, a dummy if you’ve chosen to use it and some cotton wool.
5. Clothes for your partner
Some hospitals have private rooms where your partner can stay with you and if you’re like us you could have to stay up to a week! Our unexpected long stay meant that my poor boyfriend had nothing he needed with him. So even if you’re not anticipating a week long stay its best to bring him some fresh pants, socks, tee’s and a jumper. If nothing else it’ll stop him having to go home all the time to get more clothes. Even if you go straight to the ward and he can’t stay, labour is a messy, sweaty business for which the father of your child probably deserves a clean shirt to wear home.
Once baby arrives you’ll want to take the longest shower you’ve ever had so obviously shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, whatever else you need. Hospitals are often air conditioned so I found my lips got dry and I went through lip balm like nobody’s business. Also my hair got on my nerves a lot so a brush and hair bands were essential for me. Toothbrush, toothpaste and hand cream as well as a towel and you should be set.
You might not want to eat at all, or you might be ravenous from start to finish. Remember breast feeding can make you very hungry too, so healthy (or unhealthy, it’s up to you!) snacks are a great idea. Also remember that if you do have to stay in for a little while, that the hospital will cater for you but not your partner, my poor boyfriend lived on Starbucks and Canteen food for a week, bless him.
You might be one of those focused, hypno-birthing types who can concentrate on the pain and your breathing and channel your energy into your labour. Me, I just wanted the baby out and not too much damage done, so having music and playlists on our laptop, phones and speakers was a godsend to me. Gave me something to do, sparked conversations that weren’t about how dilated I was and passed the time. Plus, once baby’s here you’ll be knackered but they will sleep for a while at a time, so a magazine, book, kindle etc, whatever you need to feel a bit normal.
9. Techy stuff
It seems obvious, but this moment is going to change your life forever and you will want to let everyone know that your little bundle has finally arrived as well as documenting that tiny newborn as much as possible. So, phones, cameras and camcorders (GoPro’s, Ipad’s etc whatever format you use) as well as chargers for them all, are essential. You won’t want to miss a moment and you’ll treasure every image to look back on.
10. A positive attitude
If I can do it, you can do it. It really is mind over matter. Your baby got in there and it’s gotta come out. There is no badge of honour in going pain relief free and no shame in getting an epidural, an elective C-section or taking whatever drugs you can get your hands on. As long as you’ve researched all the pro’s and con’s of all the choices you can make in labour and you know what you’re happy with, then that’s what’s right for you. When I found out that I couldn’t have a water birth 4 weeks before baby was due, I freaked out, could not stop crying! Ridiculous really because the moment I held him it didn’t matter if I was on a bed, on the floor, in the water or on the moon, he was the only thing I cared about. And whatever happens, it’s a few days discomfort traded for immeasurable joy for life.
Believe me, it’s worth it. Good Luck xxx