Getting ready for baby: 10 items you'll definitely want to include in your hospital bag
Packing your hospital bag when you are nearing the end of your 40-week baby-making journey is, to many expectant mums, the moment when you realize that this is really happening.
I mean; I know on my first baby I spent the vast majority of my pregnancy tricking myself into not thinking about labour or birth plans or pain relief, but instead focusing all my attention on super-cute organic cotton rompers and Danish made high chairs and stocking up on teeny tiny baby nappies (so cute!)
I did of course eventually get around to packing my hospital bag – only for it to sit by the front door for absolute ages before finally, late one night – 13 days after my due date – my little girl decided she was ready to be born.
The thing is, when it comes to hospital bags, much like motherhood, really, they are a bit of "you-have-to-live-though-it-to-know-what-you-need" sort of experience. Meaning, that while I had got some of the content bang on (new jammies, tiny baby nappies, baby's going home outfit), there were other things I ended up sorely missing and made sure I absolutely packed when, three years later, it was time to go again.
(Note: The hospital you are giving birth in, or your midwife or GP, will provide you with the information about what exact items your labour ward requires that you bring yourself, and as items may vary, it is always good to check this out.)
But apart from all these standard bits that you are required to bring, here are my absolute must-pack items for your hospital bag:
1. Lip Balm
Huffing and puffing your way through all those contractions can leave your lips feeling very dry and sore, mine sure did, so a good lip balm is a must.
2. Newborn nappies
These are just so soft and perfect for your brand new baby's sensitive and just-born skin.
When my water broke, I, to entertain myself until it was time to go to the hospital, styled my hair into perfect bouncy curls (as you do while breathing through contractions!). Also, I wanted to look good for those after-birth pics. The innocence! Fast forward a couple of hours and my wet-with-sweat hair was sticking to my forehead, and I remember frantically asking EVERYONE if they had a hair-tie I could borrow to scrape the blasted hair away from my face. No-one did, of course, and so I vowed never again to make the same mistake. Lesson learned for Baby #2.
5. A straw
My super-sweet midwife kept bringing the most amazingly refreshing apple juice I have ever tasted for me to drink while giving birth. But the problem was, it was so hard to drink it and not spill in the half sitting, half resting back position I was in. A straw really would have made everything so much simpler... That, or a sports bottle with a spout, maybe.
6. More than one pair of pajamas
I don't want to be too graphic, but you are leaking from, like, everywhere... so gross. Sorry!
7. The good camera
Yes, your phone is very handy for sending the "OH MY GOD, IT'S A....!" snaps to everyone (so don't forget your charger!), but to really capture your baby when he or she is that brand new, you will want it done with a proper camera.
(Note: Your phone is also great for all the social media updates once your baby arrives,.)
8. Soft clothes and cosy layers
Hospitals can be very warm, and yet I found myself having shivers from time to time as well, so what I wished I had packed, was a bunch of really soft t-shirts, cardigans, shawls, etc. Stuff that is easy to put on and take off, preferably with one hand, as you are holding the baby up to your nipple with the other one...
9. Disposable Underwear
In my absolute clueless-ness, I kind of thought that once the actual birth is over with, it was over with (if you know what I mean), so I packed some cute matching underwear sets (I bought knickers that matched the feeding bras), and figured I'd be fine. Wrong. What I should have packed (and did the second time I had a baby) was a 10-pack of really cheap, really big knickers that can be used once, and then binned. Because, and trust me on this, you will never want to look at them again.
10. A body lotion with no scent added
Hospital air is very warm and dry, and after the first post-birth shower, I wanted to slather myself in lotion to stop feeling so dehydrated. The problem was that the one I had brought in, luxurious and fancy as it was, was also scented. And all of a sudden (I blame those new mama hormones kicking in) it dawned on me that not only did I not want my brand new baby to get perfume on her delicate skin, but I also wanted to smell like me, (and of citrus fruits, which is what my body lotion smelled of), so my baby would get to know what I actually smelled like.
Is there anything YOU would add? What did YOU not pack that you wish you had? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie