With more and more babies arriving in my due in September Facebook group, the need to finish packing my hospital bag is ever more pressing.
With all three of the current minis never making it to their full 40 weeks gestation you’d have thought I’d have learnt to be a bit more prepared by now.
But, not only am I not yet fully prepared, I’m also only remembering things that I’d like to take with me because of reading other people’s lists and suggestions rather than because I recall for myself how useful they were last time – such as taking in your own extra pillow for example.
The one thing I do remember from each time, however, is wishing I’d taken a straw. So this time, after ordering a set of reusable metal straws, it was one of the first things I put in.
But with birth experiences varying so much and the lack of sleep you experience afterwards not helping short or long term memory recall it’s no wonder women might feel the need for a list or two for inspiration. Here are just some of those extra things beyond the obvious clothes and personal care items that were particularly important to some of my fellow bloggers…
Jodie, otherwise known as Maidenhead Mum, says “I ended up in hospital for four weeks when pregnant with my son, flip flops were essential for walking around the ward and an extra long charging cable is ideal – your bed isn’t always right next to the charger and your battery will drain a lot keeping in touch with people, watching Netflix… and eventually taking photos too.”
And Rebecca of Mummy Est.2014, who shares her list at What shall I pack in our hospital bags? Mummy, Daddy, baby and big brother, agrees “the most important item to me was phone charger. I spent three days in hospital and it meant that I could take my own photos of baby (so didn’t feel pressured to pay for the Bounty photos), text and keep in contact with family (send photos to those who couldn’t visit) which was important as it can be bit lonely on wards sometimes and hormones go everywhere so I was grateful to talk to friends when baby was asleep”.
A Suffolk Mum’s Issy also thinks “it’s great to also have a little bag with things for dad/birthing partner too. I ended up in hospital a lot longer than I thought as I had pre-eclampsia, so it would have been handy to have a change of clothes, snacks, drinks etc for my husband too. If you can it’s great to have a couple of different size clothes for baby too. Newborn is great, but so many babies are diddy, if you’ve had a friend with a prem/tiny baby, borrow a baby grow to pop in the bag just in case, so their first outfit doesn’t swamp them if they are little.”
Big Family Organised Chaos’s Mandi agrees but from the opposite perspective – “Or a size bigger!” she says. “I took the newborn sleepsuit all my seven babies came home in but the first size baby vest was too small for my 9lb 6oz boy!! Thankfully the sleepsuit fitted him but only for the journey home!!!”
On the subject of size Jo, who writes at A Rose Tinted World, says she wishes she’d taken a tape measure. “When my little girl was born I never thought to measure her length at birth and our hospital didn’t do it. It was only a couple of weeks later that we realised that we didn’t have that measurement.” After a 30 hour long induction Jo ended up having an emergency c-section she obviously wasn’t prepared for so she shared her tips to help others at Post C-Section Tips.
“I so wish I’d had my handheld fan with me,” says Josie. I gave birth the first time in a heatwave and wished I’d taken it so my other half could have just held it on me. I then didn’t take it the second time because it was winter and still regretted not having it because labour is hot work whatever the season!”
Jennifer’s chosen item was a recommendation from a friend – “A frozen bottle of water. Stick a bottle of water in the freezer as your due date approaches and take it with you when you go to hospital. The wards and delivery suites are kept so warm and the ice cold water (which obviously starts to melt as it gets warmer) felt amazing.”
Team Stein blogger Charlotte also has the temperature in mind but from the other end of the thermometer – “Stretchy bed socks as after surgery my swollen feet get very cold, even in a heatwave!” she says having recovery very much in mind also suggesting “Taking arnica tablets from day one to aid healing. I really felt it helped my recovery after my fourth caesarian section.”
Bethanie, of Northumberland Family Diaries, is currently getting ready for her own imminent arrival too. “Recommended to me by my hypnobirthing coach was something that has a comforting smell to you, something that will calm you down and help you to relax. For example I am packing my NEOM night roller (lavender scent) and one of my son’s cuddly toys.”
“Lip balm sounds silly,” says Jennifer from My Mummy’s Pennies, “but it was recommended by a friend and was great to have as the hospital really dried out my lips!”
Lip balm, a handheld fan and flavoured water were also on Helen’s list. Writing at www.twinstantrumsandcoldcoffee.com she recommends to “Also pack baby’s stuff in a separate bag to yours as it’ll be your partner trying to find baby clothes etc and they’ll either mess up all your stuff by rifling through or not have a clue! I also had two full sets of different sized clothes (well actually four as I had twins second time round) and I packed each of them in carrier bags within the bag and labeled them so as not to get confused.”
Unsurprisingly food and water are top of the list for three other bloggers too – and having my own snacks and drinks was definitely appreciated when I had a longer stay than anticipated with my eldest.
Holistic Mama’s Laura writes “As a Doula the one item I always recommend to pack is your own mug for your tea/coffee. As nothing worse than having to tolerate a plastic cup, especially when they are super flimsy!”
“A sports style water bottle,” says Amy from All About a Mummy. “After my C section I couldn’t reach overto pick up the plastic cup of water. Having the water bottle with me on the bed without fear of spilling was a godsend!”
And The German Wife AK’s suggestion was on hand for when she and her new little bundle were ready to leave the hospital. “I loved our snugglebundl, it was so handy to have to bring my daughter home and for a good few months after I used it daily so far I have gifted four of them to my friends and family my cousin who had an emergency c-section said it was her favourite gift (she’s currently using it with third newborn).”