Last night I was sorting through some baby clothes when I found the packing list I wrote for the hospital bag. During the last few weeks of pregnancy, I had developed an obsession of cleaning and rearranging the house. Nesting, or craziness? Its a fine line.
Few days before the big day, I had suddenly felt the urge to empty the neatly packed hospital bag out on the floor ( Sorry, Mark!) and I was overcome by the feeling that everything was wrong. Nothing had gone to plan and the only thing I really had control over was my pregnancy bag. I wrote about our birth story here.
Lila was born about 5 days after the above photo was taken. We had gone in for my aroma therapy / moxibustion appointment at the hospital when the consultant midwife noticed something as she was feeling my bump. She grabbed a very surprised looking technician off the hospital floor, rolled in an ultrasound machine (how she found one so quickly remains a mystery to me!) and there was our little bean. After a long pause, the midwife slowly reached out and took the aroma therapy oils off me with the words “Your baby hasn’t turned”.
I was a few days overdue at the time and believe me this isn’t the news you want to hear. We were asked to make an appointment to see the obstetrician. Suddenly, I felt like the room was closing in on me and our choices had been taken away from us.
So there I was, in the nursery, kneeling in a pile of nappies and baby clothes, with a big bump in front of me, trying to salvage what control I had left over my pregnancy and my baby.
Looking at that packing list for the hospital bag, I want to reach out to expectant mummies and daddies and share with you what items were really useful to us and the things that went straight in the bin.
Mark originally had his own “daddy and miscellaneous stuff” bag, but as he went home every evening he didn’t end up needing a bag afterall. We stayed a total of 3 nights at the hospital and divided the stuff as follows:
First Bag: Mummy, Baby & Overnight
- 3 Nappies (Size 2, as little one had measured big, I skipped the first size completely)
- 1 packet of square cotton pads ( from Amazon)
- Cheap small plastic bowl or nappy/wipe holder (the hospital provided one for us to use and we just bought a 50p plastic cereal type bowl for at home for the first few days
- 3 Babygros Size Newborn with inbuilt mittens (originally took a variety of sizes, but my nearly 10lb baby was too small for a newborn size & remember you can always send hubby out to buy smaller/bigger afterwards)
- 3 Hats& 1 pair of mittens (seriously though those babygros with sleeves that turn over as inbuilt mittens are genius! Much easier than faffing around with little mitts)
- 3 Short-sleeved vests (ended up needing more)
- 2 muslin clothes
- 1 Fluffy pram suit (best with zips on both sides, Tesco do nice ones for £14, really easy to put on and no buttons or poppers)
- 1 Cellular blanket
- 1 pair of cheap ‘Crocks’ – great to take to the showers and comfy to maneuver around in
- 1 purple fluffy robe & 1 dark towel – masks any blood stains and I preferred having my own to the hospital one. Purple robe is great to nip to the toilet or the shower and you don’t have to worry about leakages
- 1 packet maternity pads
- 1 nursing bra
- Some camis and joggers, socks (strangely enough I didn’t buy any nursing tops until much later, don’t ask me why)
- Some travel sized toiletries/makeup & usual toiletries, hair ties, makeup wipes etc (if you have any sample sizes, the kind you find in magazines, or in drugstores of shampoos, body lotions, conditioner or shower gel, they are really handy and don’t take much space up at all)
- Contact lenses/ glasses& solution etc (I had to take my contacts out during the section in case something goes wrong and they need to put you under, you can’t wear them)
- Box of 0.5l water bottles with sportscap (keeping you hydrated and great to handle with one arm, no messing around with bottle caps)
- Babywipes & antibac wipes (for the shared bathrooms and general wiping needs for mummy and daddy)
- Powerbank & phone charger (we were not allowed to use the sockets on the ward in case something blows up. I did not expect that at all. You can pick one up for under £20 from Amazon)
- Some snacks (for keeping up your energy & you never know if the shops are still open or close by!)
- Small binbags/carrier bags (for any dirty clothes and the empty waterbottles etc I was suprised how much crap accumulated after 1 day)
- Pen and notebook (for any thoughts or if you really fancy that gingerbread latte with a single shot and extra cream and you need to tell someone to get it for you)
- Breastpump (manual or electric)
- Ready made formula bottles (I will write up our breastfeeding story properly one time, we had challenges in the beginning which meant the baby was taking some formula. The hospital did provide us with some when we did not have any)
- Going home outfit, coat, shoes
- Food (Mark brought me some home made chicken salads and sandwhiches, his way of looking after me)
- more nappies, cotton pads, babygros, vests, etc
- Car seat ( we knew I would be staying longer which is why we didn’t initially take it with us)
- Another box of 0.5l water bottles with sportscap (the hospital staff told me I was very dehydrated and needed to drink up)
Things we packed which we didn’t use:
- Vaseline (that tub is still kicking around somewhere unopened)
- Little bunny comforter ( she wasn’t interested, even after I carried that thing in my bra for days, she really didn’t care for it)
- Tiny baby clothes (you really can ask someone to pick you some up from any major shop, if your little one is too small for the Newborn size, Lily was too big for them)
- Long sleeved vests – too warm in hospital wing for those
- Little Mitts (those babygrows with in-built mitts were magical)
- disposable knickers – went straight in the bin after my c-section, they were rough and uncomfortable on my scar
- Hoody& jumper – as the hospital wing was very warm
- Ear plugs and eye mask – it was loud, but I was more bothered by the heat than the noise.
- Breast shields – tried them once but it was too fiddly
- Flipflops – ended up not using them at all
- Loose change – I gave birth in the morning and was very lucky to have Mark and his parents around during my stay who brought food and drinks that we didn’t really use any of the loose change we had brought specifically for the hospital
- A ‘Dad Bag’ as Mark got kicked out at night, he would shower and change into fresh clothes every day at home.
The best advice I can pass on is to keep it simple. Your family, visitors or your other half can always pop into the shop after the baby is born if you need anything.