Even though this is my second pregnancy and child, five years have passed and as much as I knew some necessities to pack, packing baby’s and my hospital bag wasn’t so much of a simple task.
Regardless of the books, leaflets, blog posts and other people’s input, you really cannot pack for your time in the hospital. As everyone’s experiences are different. (though if you wanted to and had the bags, plus entourage to carry them, you maybe could – but then knowing your luck, you’d then probably not need it all!)
There are of course the necessities and that’s really what I focused on when packing our bags. You’ll notice I keep using the plural bags. This is ultimately because you will more than likely find that you’ll need a bag for baby and a bag for yourself. Speaking from the experience of two pregnancies, this has been the case on both occasions. You may think and wonder why. You may begin adamant that you can fit all you need in one hospital bag and I can’t argue, as for one I don’t know the size of your bag(s) and plus, you may have a different idea of necessities to myself. As I say though, this time and previously, I used the change bag as a hospital bag for baby and an overnight/weekend or beach bag for myself as my hospital bag.
So here’s an outline of what I packed in each hospital bag. Firstly, the baby’s hospital bag:
Nappies. All The Nappies.
This is speaking from a disposable nappy perspective. Obviously, some people choose the cloth nappy route and that’s totally your preference. I guesstimate that within a 24hr period, you could easily use up to 10 nappies a day. I know, it’s crazy. But this is what you’re in charge of now. A tiny, hungry, sometimes sleeping pooping machine! Therefore, working on a basis of being in the hospital for max three days, (obviously depends upon your circumstances. Most OK deliveries result in going home after a day, but with my first I was in the hospital for four days after delivery) I decided to pack a small travel pack of 28 size 1 Pampers nappies.
Wipes. Plus cotton wool balls.
Like the nappy debate. Parents and also babies make their own decisions on which wipes are best. Though in reality, I believe no brand is any better than the other. It’s just personal preference. I have plenty of friends that swear by Aldi own. Others that only use Water Wipes, then others like myself that stick with Huggies or Pampers. I believe in baby’s hospital bag I packed just one pack of wipes, as you may find the midwives will ask/expect you to clean your baby’s bum with cotton wool and lukewarm water. So, just be prepared.
Muslin squares and bibs.
I don’t remember packing Muslim cloths in my last bag, but I’ve added a couple in this time, as well, I’m not going to lie, when I saw these ones with stars on, I couldn’t help myself, but also, hello practical for saving your clothing when burping and an easier option to wipes for cleaning. I’ve actually bought a number more, which are at home, as obviously, they’ll need to be washed at some point. Then there are bibs. Learning from our last experiences, we have stocked up on the ones that are backed on plastic. Plain fabric bibs are NOT the one. They soak everything up, then it goes through to baby’s sleepsuit/outfit and it’s change time. The plastic-backed ones at least give a bit of a shield to the sleepsuit/outfit. Just an idea.
Sleepsuits and bodysuits.
Like with the number of nappies to pack – knowing how many sleepsuits and bodysuits to pack is a bit of a minefield. But, as always, more is better than less. But there’s always the option of sweet-talking a partner or visitor into bringing you more from home. Thinking about two days in the hospital, the fact that you get changed for bed, I’d easily look at anywhere between four and five of each. In regards to sleepsuits, I can’t comment on other brands as such, but I can speak highly of Next’s sleepsuits, as they come with integrated mittens, material that can be turned over the hands or not, instead of having to use separate scratch mitts. With our baby being born in June, I bought a selection of short sleeve and sleeveless bodysuits also.
Hats and scratch mitts
The midwives love hats. Clothes (sleepsuits/bodysuits) and a hat will be expected of you straight away. It makes sense, warmth and also protection to their soft little heads. I had a number of hats ready, as – hello accessories, but decided to pack just two. In regards to scratch mitts, as I mentioned above, most of the baby’s sleepsuits came with integrated mitts, however, I did get one pack of scratch mitts just in case and also a couple of others came in sets we were gifted.
Bath towel and flannel.
Speaking from the memory of our first born, we were asked if we wanted to bath our baby and basically if we knew what we were doing. Being first-time parents and not really having much experience babies previous to this moment we jumped on the helpful midwife’s offer. This time, I’m guessing we may be expected to bathe our baby, so hooded towel and flannel at the ready, but I sneakily bought these top to toe wipes which I thought was a great alternative to a full bath. Sshh!
A snuggle necessity. I’m pretty much convincing myself that we’re going to have this Indian Summer, so a blanket and jacket combo shouldn’t really be needed, however, who am I kidding, really! Plus, when I saw this grey star blanket in Primark of all places, I couldn’t not buy it. We also have our first little boys blanket still, which upon checking with him would be OK to use, might be a lighter option for some days.
Going home (breaking out as we call it!) outfit and jacket/coat.
My husband rightly named it the breaking out outfit as the sleepsuit/outfit we choose for our first son five years ago looked like a prisoner’s outfit, black and grey striped, plus after spending near five days in the hospital, it really did feel like we were breaking out. We were so glad to leave! Not being able to find a similar sleepsuit/outfit for this baby, we decided upon a blue stared sleepsuit, with a Next bodysuit underneath with his initial on. Then after much searching, I found the perfect little light but warm, with stars, jacket in George at Asda. And we were good to go.
And now my hospital bag:
Nightie. Make it big.
Now some of these items may depend upon your circumstances and delivery. Since I had a c-section with my first boy and chose an elected one for this baby, I, therefore, know what to expect. And an oversized nightie is a thing of dreams. With the surgeon, then aftercare of midwives/doctors checking you and it being bandaged, easy access to your lower abdomen is required. Plus, even after the checks and bandages are off, you ain’t going to want a waistband too close.
Dressing gown and slippers.
Personally, I’m a cold person, so will always have layers. However, maternity wards seem to be warm. I picked up a light dressing gown from Primark. Something cheap that I didn’t mind if anything happened to it, but that would cover me up when needed. Slippers are a definite must. For me, anyway. I love slippers and or slipper socks. However, after a c-section, slip on slippers are godsend. These Primark ones have a memory foam type of feel, which is great for swollen feet.
After having a c-section, you’re given some time to rest, however, you are made to move/get up at intervals. After this comes shower time, (plus the weird sensation of removing your bandages – from your still numb abdomen) at this point you may want to change out of your oversized nightie and into something a bit less airy. As I mentioned above, waistbands are not the one, so still think oversized and baggy and prepare to wear your trousers skater boy low, or Simon Cowell high. I have a pair of PJs I’ve lived in through my pregnancy which will be going with me, plus I picked up some cheap baggy joggers from Primark. On the other side, if you’ve had a natural birth, I’d still go with comfy. Loungewear/athleisure is your friend.
Pants. Think Bridget Jones.
Again, as above, think waistbands, think baggy and or high. Primark being my mecca, I picked up my favourite style of short pant, but in a quite bigger size. It may all seem trivial, but you’ll thank me, I’m sure. Obviously, if you’ve had a natural birth, I’d still stay on the side of comfy. This ain’t no time to get the thongs out yet.
Maternity pads and breast pads.
Maternity pads are a definite must for all your natural birthing ladies and also c-section ladies. You may definitely even need more than one pack. I remember going through a number of the hospital’s pads as I don’t think I’d packed enough. Breastfeeding? Then you’ll be needing breast pads because, well, those enlarged bad boys are going to leak, sadly. More so when the baby cries. Yes. True story.
It’ll be hard. It’ll hurt. But, make the most of the crabby hospital shower time you get. Woddle yourself in there, lock the door and whip out all your favourite shampoos, conditioners, face wash. Honestly, afterwards, you’ll feel a million dollars and ready for what’s to come. You and your body have done one of the most amazing things ever, plus, let’s be honest, who knows when you’re next free shower will be! You deserve it. I packed very little the first time, taking full-size bottles. But this time, on a good idea of a friend, I picked up these travel minis that easily fit in my hospital bag, from Morrisons. I also have a toothbrush packed, so I don’t have to remember to pick up my daily one.
Personal preference on this one. Though, since we’re all very social media, I expect no one would forget their phone or decide to leave it. Not only for the camera and video abilities in filming the cute noises they make whilst sleeping, that you’ll send to everyone in your address book, but also for the 12pm-6am games of Candy Crush or Free cell, for me, due to lack of sleep. The one thing you could potentially forget is a phone charger. Easily done. But try not to.
Kindle/notebook and pen.
Now, I’m not saying you’ll have all the time in the world. That your new bundle of joy will feed and sleep repeat so easily, but let’s be honest, in between visits, especially after 9pm kick out and sometimes before 9am arrivals, you may find the time and want to either scribble something down. Maybe journal about your thoughts at that particular time. Or, take 5 minutes and read a few pages of a book. Your sleeping pattern and day to day routine just got royally messed up, so giving yourself 5mins isn’t a bad thing. You also may not have this time, but if you have them in your bag just in case, what’s the harm.
I hope this was interesting, maybe helpful, or made you giggle a little. I ultimately just wanted to be as honest as possible.