Let me start this by saying I was convinced, I mean totally and utterly convinced that I was going to go before I due date. I had no real reason for this feeling, what do I mean real, I had NO reason for this feeling but I just had it. So with that in mind I started shopping for my hospital bag list quite far in advance. While I didn’t have it packed(I’m not that type of person, I’ve tried to be but I end up unpacking because I convince myself I’ve forgotten something despite lists, upon lists) I did have it all laid out on the spare bed.
Giant granny panties in a dark colour – check. Really unflattering front opening nighties you’ll never wear again – check. Ridiculously warm dressing gown that causes you to nearly faint from the heat of the hospital – check.
I had two bags, one for labour and one for the actual stay, and I was glad I split it up that way. I was in labour a long, long, long time(that’s a post for another day) and ended up in Unit 3 in Holles St(not nearly as bad as people make out). The smaller labour bag with my tens, flips flops and bits and bobs I might need for the task ahead in one bag made it easier for the hubs to find things when I was grunting at him through contractions before I made it to the delivery ward, never mind when I was actually there.
I put everything in those magic IKEA ziplock bags, in a range of sizes. In one stuff for the shower during labour- seriously don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. Another bag of snacks for himself. While he may not be doing the heavy lifting, he’s there a long time with you, by your side and at 1 in the morning, there’s slim pickings when it comes to grub in hospitals. Plus I know I didn’t want him leaving my side for fear the baby would arrive right now. Eh, again, who was I kidding? I was in this for the long haul!
The second hospital bag is a slightly larger bag for everything you’ll need for you and your new little arrival for your stay. Space is limited in the wards, so I packed a cabin bag, with spare everything at home for when I ran out.
There are lots of great lists online, here’s what I found I needed and would bring again:
- Front opening nightdress x 2
- Hair bobbins and hair band
- Phone charger
- Bottle of water
- Water spray for face if you find yourself getting too hot during labour
- Face cloth – again nice to put on your head/neck if you’re too hot
- Bikini and flip flops for the shower. Some showers are communal and you may not want to be there in the buff!
- Shower cap
- Tens machine – Great for home and the early stages. I wouldn’t have gotten through it without it
- Birthing ball
- First outfit for your new bubs – hat, vest, babygro and nappy. Put this in a ziplock bag, it makes it easier for your birthing partner if you end up in surgery for an emergency section like me.
- Snack for birth partner – as I said above, VITAL! Whatever takes their fancy, nuts, choc etc. Although nothing that smells, that might make you feel even worse!
- Socks with grippy things on the soles of your feet in case your feet are cold
Dad’s or your birth partner can be there a long time and it can be along time before they are home again.
- More snacks!
- Change of t-shirt
- Phone and charger – you’ll want them to capture your first family pics and spread the good news
- Light cotton PJ’s, maternity wards are hot places coupled with hormones you’ll be roasting
- Magazines/books/kindle – you’d be surprised that you may have time to do some reading. I was so wired from labour and surgery, along with a very noisy ward, I hardly slept my entire stay so caught up on some reading in between feeds
- Dressing gown – get a lightweight one, don’t be an idiot like me and think ah I’m always cold I’ll be grand. You won’t, you’ll be sweating and cursing the blooming thing
- Granny panties – ones that go right up to your boobs. Especially useful after a section. I wore mine for longer than I care to admit!
- Nursing bra – only buy one or two of these. You can’t be sure what size you’ll go up to and you don’t want to squish your girls into something too small
- Toiletries – including your favourite face cream and or hand cream, you are wrecked and you deserve some pampering, even if it’s not a full trip to the spa you’ll feel better. Pack an unscented shower gel, you don’t want perfume if you’d had stitches anywhere
- Dark towel for showering
- Flips flops for the shower
- Earplugs – the only thing that helped me sleep. I was worried I wouldn’t hear my baby cry, I shouldn’t have worried, you will. And if you don’t, the midwives will let you know bubs needs some attention
- Eye mask – as above
- Maternity pads – have extra at home. Boots have comfortable ones
- Breast pads – have extra at home
- Nipple shields – I forgot these and sent himself out to get them. Not a task I think he ever thought he’d have to do. VITAL I learnt the hard way
- Multimam compress
- Nipple cream
- Nappies size 1 – factor for 10 a day. Don’t get bamboozled in the shop when buying nappies, your bump may be huge(I looked like I had twins in there) but your baby will not be bigger than size 1. Little A was in those for ages.
- Cotton wool
- Vaseline to use as barrier cream for your little one
- Towel for bubs
- Sleep suits
- Muslin Cloths
- Going home outfit for both you and the baby including a hat for the baby, pram suit and blanket. I found that I swelled like nobodies business in hospital, despite hardly swelling at all the whole pregnancy. I could barely get my shoes on my feet. Keep your flip flops in case that happens! Comfy maternity leggings and a cardi/jumper are perfect for making that nerve wracking first trip home with your gorgeous new arrival