The Must-Have Items Every Mum Should Pack In Her Hospital Bag
What do you really need to pack for going into hospital? It's a question that many mums-to-be Google every day. It's an important question as most mums naturally want to feel organised for one of the biggest events of their life.
After having 4 babies, I've figured out the must-haves that every Mum should pop into her hospital bag.
Must-have Items for Mum
- Medical notes – best not forget these or you'll be asked a million questions in labour about your health and pregnancy. Your notes are pretty essential for your care.
- Loose Nightgown (easy open so you can breastfeed if you can/wish) and Slippers – there's no point taking any gorgeous silk nightdresses or trendy PJ's, already the reality of messy motherhood will be hitting home. Comfort and easy changes win! I say nightgowns purely because PJ's can hurt your very sensitive tummy area, especially if you've had a c-section. You don't want anything rubbing against the tummy after that!
- Maternity pads or the thickest pads that are known to womankind with cheap and BIG old lady pants (the style that goes above your belly bottom!) you don't care about. You can also opt for disposable pants, but they are a bit odd and uncomfortable. Hint: There's going to be a lot of blood. And if you can a c-section your tummy will be very tender so avoid knickers that rub the scar.
- Boob pads to pop in a comfy maternity bra – to stem even more leakage. Nothing worse than trying to have a conversation with your Dad and he's trying to ignore your milk stains displaying themselves rather triumphantly through your top. Hint: There's going to be a lot of milky fluids. Oh, and don't forget some nipple cream to soothe your beautiful nipples!
- Camera – to capture tiny baby every five seconds. It's your job to drive your friends insane on Facebook with endless updates of your little darling.
- Gifts – If you have other kids, pop in little gifts for them from the new baby, with a sweet note on each gift, 'I hope we can be friends! P.S sorry for the crying, I'll play with you soon, I promise! Love Baby x'.
- Toiletries – You'll want to shower after childbirth. Treat yourself to some beauty products. God woman - you deserve it! Don't forget – face cleanser, facial wipes for quicker cleaning, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush, hair ties, lip balm – hospitals are drying on the lips or maybe we naturally bite our lips under stress?, deodorant – hospitals are hot and you're going to sweat!, razor for your armpits – forget about your legs, who's looking at them? Personally, I take some makeup too but just the essentials so I don't look like death. I love BB cream, mascara, lipgloss and an eyebrow brush. Just take a few things so you can still feel like you if you have the energy. Avoid heavy, strong perfumes or anything too smelly as babies sensitive noses will struggle with strong scents, so go natural, organic and toxin-free around bub. Plus baby wants to get to know your natural mummy scent!
- Tissues – you'll probably be on a high at the prospect of surviving child-birth but just in-case you feel emotional always have some tissues at the ready. You're likely to crash land at some point - the reality that you are now responsible for this human being can hit us hard. Many a mother (if not us all) has cried, 'Oh my god! I can't do this!'
Baby blues and anxiety is completely normal, but if the tears, shock and melancholy don't start to ease after a couple of weeks it's always best to talk to a doctor, the health visitor or somebody you trust. It's OK to say, 'Hey, I need more support over here please!'
- Going home outfit – Sadly most of us are not some stick thin model who miraculously leaves the hospital with a tight, flat tummy. How do they do that? It's not physically possible as the womb takes months to go back into place. I'm convinced they get a tummy tuck with their c-section. 2 for 1 deal? Bitches. Anyway, as you are a normal human being with an oversized, now-empty womb, you'll not be leaving the hospital in your tiny size 10 jeans and boob tube assemble. Sorry, but you'll still be big enough to warrant maternity clothing. Again, best go for comfort as the afterbirth pains can be eye-watering.
Let's not pretend.
You'll feel like you've been run over by a bus. Your bits will be throbbing, your tummy may be painful if you have a c-section. Your head will definitely be sore after listening to other babies and your baby grizzle and cry throughout the night. Yes, even if your little darling sleeps beautifully, you'll likely be sharing a ward with three other women and their latest offspring. That's a lot of crying. You'll witness first-hand other mothers trying desperately to get their baby to latch onto their precious, oh-so-sensitive nipples, sheer exhaustion starting to appear. Then there are the babies, they'll be crying due to their shocking new environment, their hunger pangs, being too cold, being too tired, just being pissed off they have been ejected from their cosy womb.
Most women will be desperate to leave the hospital ward. At least at home, you'll only have to listen to your own baby scream at 3 am.
What is NOT on this list?
- A birth plan – these are invented purely for first-time mums. Most mothers soon realise why birth plans are encouraged during the first pregnancy – to help the woman feel she has at least some control over the impending birth. The reality? She has very little control.
I was asked if I had a birth plan for baby one, two and believe it or not, baby three, by baby four they didn't even bother to ask. They just know I'll raise an eyebrow.
'Do you have a birth plan?'
'This isn't my first baby. I get it. I now know it is all about getting the baby out and really I just do whatever that takes, please just get the baby out and keep us both alive.'
'Yeap, let's do this Mama.' nods the midwife.
- Candles and oils – relaxation in childbirth is never going to happen, no matter how much lavender oil I rub into my feet. Some women swear by relaxing lighting but this isn't a romantic night for two; this is you, your partner and a full team of medical staff (possibly a few medical students too will have a look up there) prodding at your genitalia under the bright lights.
- Soothing Music – Dolphin music isn't going to save you now sista. Plenty women have downloaded 'chilled vibes' and been known to shout out, 'turn that fucking music off, I can't hear myself scream!'
What to pack for baby?
Most hospitals provide nappies, newborn baby wipes, cotton wool, nappy rash cream, bath products, ready-made formula milk if you wish to bottle fed, sleep-suits and blankets but personally, I'd take some essentials just-in-case. You'll certainly need;
- Cute going home outfit – adorable little suit with a jacket usually, a hat, mittens and socks. Obviously depending on which season your baby is born will play a large part in how many layers baby has on.
Tip – they generally need one more layer than you do. They are rather like elderly people – they feel the cold a bit more.
- Blanket - Adorable blanket for taking your baby home. Lighter cotton for summer and heavier cotton for colder months. Consider trying organic cotton to soothe your baby's delicate skin.
- Muslim squares – better than bibs and wet wipes. These comfortable cloths are a life saver. They clean up all sorts of sick messes, protect your own clothes from baby sick and are easy to clean at home. Just chuck in the washing machine along with the 56,876 other baby items you'll be washing every week.
- Baby car seat – Hospitals won't let you home via a car if you don't have one. Trust me, you'll be eager to get out of the hospital.
Good luck x