Ah the dreaded hospital bag, a daunting task because you just don’t know where to begin. What will I need? How long will I have to stay? Plus, it makes it all very real! So here is my list – what I packed and what I actually used! Funnily enough I have fallen into the same trap twice, but I like to be prepared and I would always advocate having but not needing vs wanting/needing but not having.
My first ‘birthing experience’ was meant to be calm, in the lovely birthing pool full of ambient light, a gentle iPod play list (painstakingly forged), change of clothes and Evian spritz because it was in the 2018 heatwave. As it turned out, I didn’t really use anything at all because Paige wanted to make such a rapid appearance. I barely had time to get to the labour ward, let alone slip into anything more comfortable! But I felt better having my things with me.
Since this time, I was being induced (to slow down said rapid appearance into world) I wanted to make sure I covered all bases. Of course, this too fell by the wayside!
So here goes:
Clothes: (5/7 used)
- Slippers – YES, no one wants to go to the bathroom barefoot
- Nighty and dressing gown – YES, (even so soon after the birth I was aware of how ‘off’ my body felt so I was much more comfortable ‘covering up’
- Leggings – YES, a must, I was super sore, and these were baggy from my pregnant belly
- Tunic – YES, baggy and comfy
- Socks – YES, I kept these on after the birth anyway as I felt a little shaky and cold
- Pumps – NO, I used the winter boots I wore in (as if I packed a choice of shoe!)
- Disposable knickers – NO, very confused as to why I thought I would want to wear these
Toiletries for me: (7/22 used – perhaps I was slightly overzealous)
- Maternity pads – YES, 100%
- Face cream – YES YES YES, I felt human the second I applied this
- Lip balm – YES, labour and hospitals make my lips dry
- Face wipes – YES, simply to refresh
- Hair band – YES, last thing I wanted was my slightly damp hair clinging to my neck
- Sanitizer – YES because the stuff they provide in the hospital doesn’t have aloe vera in it
- Hand cream and nailfile – YES to the cream, NO to the nailfile (this was less out of vanity and more to smooth any catches that may harm the baby
- Breast pads– NO, I overestimated the milk production within the first 48 hours
- Mouthwash – NO, I decided it would be too strong a smell when snuggling Tyler
- Vitamins – NO, the last thing I wanted to do was swallow huge tablets
- Toothbrush – NO, this would have meant time away from my baby
- Flannel – NO
- Toothpaste – NO
- Deodorant – NO – I didn’t want chemicals near my new-born
- Tissues – NO, apparently I thought I would be sneezing?
- Cleansing water – NO, I wasn’t wearing makeup
- Shampoo and conditioner– NO, when would I have time to wash my hair?
- Body wash – NO, I was allowed a quick shower but using water only
- Brush – NO, I just pinned it all back
- Make up – NO, who did I want to look pretty for?
- Mirror – NO!
- Nipple cream – NO, again, I remember sore nipples, but this was after a couple of weeks of feeding, not immediately
Food and Drink: (2/2 used)
- Bottle of water/carton of juice – YES to the water, NO to the juice
- Snacks –YES, these were mainly for the potentially lengthy induction, but I wasn’t hungry. Some dried mangos, however, tasted like ambrosia at 4am; strangely enough I didn’t want the Galaxy bar I had packed (this has never happened before, no one was more shocked than me!)
Miscellaneous: (5/8 used)
- Own pillow – oh YES, I don’t like to use other people’s pillows, just a thing I have
- Phone charger – YES, I killed the battery playing phone games and taking photos
- Glasses – YES, all the better to see my baby with
- Maternity folder – YES
- Laundry bag – YES, a glorified carrier bag for the sweaty clothes
- Kindle – NO, I thought I might use this during induction, mostly I played on my phone and missed Paige
- Feeding book and pen – NO, I kept a record of every feed with Paige, it was almost a religion, I didn’t use this in the hospital as it wasn’t in reach and have not used it since, Paige hid said pen and scribbled in said book by day 3
- Cash – NO, what was I planning to buy??
For Baby: (6/10 used)
- Nappies – YES, Size 1
- Cotton pads – YES, those first few nappies are sticky, cotton pads are the way to go
- Lotion – YES, needed for aforementioned ‘sticky’
- Baby grows and vest x3 <1month – YES
- Hat – YES, for the trip through the carpark
- Blankets – YES, 2 of them
- Baby grows and vest x1 <3month – NO!
- Booties – NO, feet were hidden in blankets
- Wipes – NO, silly as I know from experience that these simply smear the nappy contents
- Muslin squares – NO, too young to spit up
In a nutshell I’d say the basic must-haves are clothes to sleep in and clothes for the next day, toiletries that fit in one single wash bag, a couple of snacks, phone charger, pillow and then a changing bag for baby. Apart from that, all your baby needs is you. Happy packing!