NHM Writer: Thinking about what to pack in your Hospital Bag!

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Writer who has requested to remain anonymous. Fab post!

Thinking about what to pack in your Hospital Bag!

As I write this I am 33 weeks pregnant with our second child and I am beginning to think about getting my hospital bag together!!

By the time my due date comes along it will have been 3.5 years since I gave birth to our first son so I have been doing some research to remind myself of the sort of things I need to pack.

My labour last time was pretty quick so once I was examined and admitted there was actually no time to go back to the car and collect my bag, luckily, we had our phones with us so we could take some photos as soon as our son was born. My plan this time is to take two bags with me; a smaller backpack with items for during my labour which I will take in first and another one with the rest of the items in to be brought in when needed.

Lots of lists are put together by shops and websites who perhaps have an interest in convincing you (and selling to you) all the items which are ‘absolutely essential’ for your hospital stay.

Obviously, nothing is absolutely essential, and my priorities may well vary from your own, but using my previous experience (and that of a few close friends), I’ve put together a list of items we considered essential along with a few ‘nice to haves’ and a couple of items that you definitely don’t need to take … believe us!!

For You

Maternity Notes
These need to be kept close at hand and taken into hospital / to the midwife with you whenever you go. As the weeks go on I will store the notes in my hospital bag, taking them out with me as required and then returning them when home. It would be also good to keep a copy of your Birth Plan (if you have one) with your notes at this point too.

Comfortable (old) clothes to labour in.
Don’t worry about finding the perfect nightie for labour. Last time I ended up giving birth in the vest top that I arrived in (as I said, it was relatively quick) and the first thing my son did was poo on me so it went straight in the bin. This time I will also be taking some comfy trousers … just in case my labour is a little longer!

Depending on how long you end up staying on the maternity ward you will also want some loose, comfortable clothes to wear in hospital once you’re out of your nightwear and also to travel home in.

Pants
You can buy disposable maternity briefs but I don’t really like them I will be taking a couple of my old pairs which I can throw away if necessary and then I’ll be treating myself to some new ones to replace them …. any excuse!!

It’s worth remembering, if you’ve had a vaginal birth you will most probably be sore and bruised (and possibly stitched) and if you had a c-section you’ll obviously have a very sore stomach and stiches – neither option would be fun with tight fitting or uncomfortable pants!!

Maternity Towels
While we’re on the subject (sort of) don’t forget maternity towels … without going into too much detail, these are an absolute essential!! If I remember right, I found Tescos, Morrisons, Boots and Mothercare to be best. Unfortunately the ones I got from Sainsburys gave me thrush (NOT what you need when you’ve just had a baby) – I think it was something to do with the top layer. You want a smooth ‘cotton feel’ layer … not plastic!! I’m planning to take a pack of 10 in with me.

One of the best pieces of advice I was given was not to use standard sanitary towels because the top layer (which works so well when you have your period) can rub and catch any stitches you may have – eeeeekkkkk!

Nightwear
In my case, I’ll be taking a pair of pjs with me. Nothing too fancy; I’m afraid I always go for comfort over cute. You might also want a dressing gown for wandering around the unit, the same goes for slippers … think I’ll be taking a hoodie and a pair of flip flops!

Nursing bra / Sleep bra
Being relatively ‘well provided for’ in this area sleep bras were pretty much indispensable for me but after giving birth I’m sure this is pretty much the case for everyone. Most suppliers suggest that it’s better to get fitted later on in your pregnancy and then again a couple of days after giving birth because your size will probably change considerably. It might also be worthwhile taking some breast pads and nipple cream in with you.

Food and Drink
As mentioned, my labour in hospital was pretty quick so really had no need for anything other than water. I took a couple of bottles in with me and a pack of straws. I also packed snacks for myself and my husband, I seem to remember including Natures Valley bars, Haribo and a pack of Digestive biscuits. Due to the timing of our labour and birth I missed breakfast and so these were gratefully consumed once our son had safely arrived.

This time I plan on taking the same and also my Britta Fill & Go bottle too.

Other items you might want to consider taking:
• Water spray, face wipes, lip balm & hairbands
• TENS machine if you have decided to use one
• Toiletries & hairbrush – I know many people don’t have the energy to bother showering but it was a massive must for me to feel a little more normal
• A Towel – the hospital ones are not the most luxurious so you might want to take your own (it’s been suggested to me it should be a dark colour)
• A Pillow – especially if you have a particular favourite you can’t sleep without
• Electricals – Camera & Mobile Phone, IPad / IPod (and chargers)
• A book or magazine
• Change for the Car Park
• Change of clothes for birth partner

For Your Baby

Nappies
As with the maternity towels I’m going to take a whole pack but if space is a little tight then take fewer but make sure you have left the rest somewhere obvious at home or in the car so they can be easily grabbed and brought in by a visitor if required.

Wipes
I think many maternity units still prefer you use cotton wool to clean baby with so I will probably take a small pack and I also plan to use Water Wipes. They’re not cheap so I’ll buy a couple of packs and then move on to my preferred brand.

Sleepsuits / Bodysuits / Vests
Twice as many as you think you’ll need. I once heard that trying to dress a teeny baby is like trying to fit an octopus into a sandwich bag so make your life easy and pick outfits that open up down both legs.

Hats
We didn’t worry too much with our August baby but this baby is due February / March so definitely a must.

Blanket
I’ll be packing a thin cotton blanket for in the hospital and also one which fits into the car seat and allows the straps through which ensures your baby is safe and snuggled up warm. The one we have is from a company called Morrck but I think you can now get them from various places.

Car Seat
They won’t let you drive home without one but don’t worry about bringing it into the hospital until you are ready to leave, it will just take up space.

What You REALLY Don’t Need
Hairdryer & Hair Straighteners
Whole Make Up Bag
5 Books
Mini bottle of champagne (yes, seriously)

A couple of links that might help …..

http://www.which.co.uk/birth-choice/articles/hospital-bag-checklist?gclid=Cj0KEQiA5dK0BRCr49qDzILe74UBEiQA_6gA-m_UT43NqdaX2_bBo8mDBCjmLTzcoF3k2r4f-1ViieoaArUM8P8HAQ

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pack-your-bag-for-birth.aspx#close

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/what-to-pack-in-your-hospital-bag

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