From hair straighteners to a pillow from home, there are more things I’ve packed in my hospital bag and haven’t used than things I have on the two previous occasions I’ve been into hospital to have a baby.
In fact I was so loaded down with bags and paraphernalia when I had BB that they had to be transported from the delivery room to the post-natal ward via a wheelchair while I trailed along behind.
I streamlined my packing significantly the second time around, but even then I took along umpteen things I didn’t end up using.
This time I’ve streamlined even further, and I reckon there are just 10 things you need to pack in your hospital bag.
The only 10 things you need in your hospital bag
1. Your maternity notes. (Even if they do end up getting left in triage because it’s all happening so quickly – just saying).
2. Something to wear in labour. Whether it’s a nightie for walking around in or a swimming costume for the birthing pool, even if you don’t end up wearing them it’s reassuring to know they’re there.
3. Something to wear after the birth (including big pants). There’s nothing like climbing into nice clean home-smelling clothes on the other side – the comfier the better, and that goes for the pants too.
4. A nursing bra. If you’re planning to breastfeed you’ll need this from the word go – it makes life so much easier.
5. Slippers. The thing about giving birth is that you know exactly what the hospital floor is likely to have seen in the past. Plus it’s nice to pad around in something soft and comfy instead of bare feet.
6. Toilet bag. I’ve stocked mine with travel-sized toiletries from Boots (which are always on 3 for 2 which is a bonus) so I don’t have to worry about grabbing things from the bathroom when it’s time to go. Think little tube of toothpaste, shampoo & conditioner and Vaseline (hospitals always make my lips so dry). And don’t forget pads. Lots of them.
7. Elemis cellular recovery skin bliss capsules (no they haven’t paid me to add this to my list). I could have included these in the toilet bag, but they’re so amazing they’re worth their own mention. These little capsules of serum will literally transform your skin from knackered, morgue-looking pallor to just-had-the-best-night’s-sleep-ever in the blink of an eye.
8. Nappies and wipes. Better to pack too many than too few – I’ve taken 10 nappies and one pack of wipes with me both times before and on each occasion we came home with unused nappies and at least half a pack of wipes left.
9. Outfits for the baby. The first time around I took everything you can think of – hats, mittens, babygrows, a cardigan (why on earth do they always tell you to pack a cardigan?) and it was August. This time I’m taking two babygrows with built-in scratch mittens, a blanket and that’s it. If we need anything else Misery Guts can go home for it.
10. Change for the car park. Do not underestimate how much cash you’re going to need to feed the hospital car park machine. It can be eye-watering.
You could add things like a tens machine if you’re planning to use one and things to personalise your labour like music etcetera, but in my experience both have been a total waste of time so I’m not bothering this time.
Which brings me on to things you think you need but don’t.
Things you THINK you need in your hospital bag but actually don’t
1. A pillow from home. While this is a nice-to-have, unless you’re facing an extended stay in hospital you don’t really need it. You’ll be so tired you won’t notice – much less care – whether you’re sleeping on a wipe down hospital one or a John Lewis Egyptian cotton one. Plus it’s just another thing to carry around.
2. Cotton wool. I’m not entirely sure whether I’ve packed this for me or the baby in the past, but on both previous occasions I’ve never used it. You can use baby wipes from day one so there’s no need to top and tail – this time I’m taking Huggies newborn wipes which are 99% water and 100% safe for newborns.
3. Industrial-sized sanitary towels. I’m referring to the ‘maternity pads’ they sell alongside disposable pants and breast pads in the mum-to-be aisle. In my experience there’s absolutely no need to walk around with a mattress between your legs – the super slim night-time ones in the normal aisle do the job just as well.
4. Breast pads. Again, unless you’re facing an extended stay in hospital and you’re planning to breastfeed you probably won’t need these. My milk hasn’t come in until after I returned home, so packing these was pointless.
5. Nappy cream. I’ve taken this with me on both previous occasions too and never used it – they’re unlikely to get nappy rash that quickly, and I didn’t like to use it as a preventative measure on such pure and new baby skin.
6. A dressing gown. It doesn’t matter what time of year you’re having your baby, the perma-temperature of the hospital means you won’t be needing this. A total waste of space.
7. Hairdryer and straighteners. I don’t know what on earth I was thinking, but I packed both of these first time around. You’ll be lucky if you get to use them in the first month, never mind the first few days.
8. Make-up bag. For exactly the same reasons as the hairdryer and straighteners.
Have you been into hospital to have a baby and did you end up taking things you didn’t need? Is there anything you couldn’t have lived without?
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