Have you seen some of the lists that maternity hospitals give out to expecting mums, the list of hospital bag essentials to bring with you when you go into labor?
Some of them say to bring in 8 vests and babygrows for baby, 3 blankets, 4 pairs of pajamas for mama, 2 packs of nappies, your couch, and the kitchen sink.
Ok, maybe not quite with the last two items, but they might as well have with the amount that they tell new parents to bring along with them!
Unless for some reason you have to stay in for a longer period of time, you will not need even half the amount that the list suggests.
It may be 2.5 years since I gave birth, but I can still remember what we needed for our hospital stay, and more importantly what we didn’t need.
I did forget to bring along some slightly essential things ie going home clothes for me, but we also brought along things that were not on our hospital bag list that were most definitely needed ie snacks, and lots of them!
So here is my version of the hospital bag essentials list. I have broken this down into two sections/bags, though you can fit all of this stuff into one hand-luggage sized bag.
The first section is what you will need during labor, these are a must for either in the hospital or if you’re laboring at home. The second section is for after the birth, so includes most of the essentials you’ll initially need for the baby.
For Mum (and dad):
- Snacks and drinks. Labour is hungry work for everyone involved, and it’s important to keep yourself fueled and hydrated. The advice would generally be to keep the foods simple and light in case you become nauseous at a later stage, but heck I ate everything from 5 bowls of corn flakes before leaving the house, fruit, pastries, and chocolate 🙂
- Lip balm.
- TENS machine (you can hire proper obstetric TENS at www.medicare.ie)
- Yoga ball (leave this in the car, most hospitals have these on labor wards but just in case they’re all taken it’s good to have your own as back up)
- Mobile phone (with plenty of credit if it’s “Pay as you go”) and its charger
- Hair ties.
- Money for the car park. It is crazy just how expensive hospital car parks are.
- Change of clothes.
- Face cloth. I can still vividly remember how good a freezing cold facecloth felt on my forehead in the throes of labor.
- Birth plan. Be informed, know what it is you want, and speak up for what you believe in.
- Cotton hat
This bag can be left in the car for daddy to run out and get once you’re settled into the post-natal ward, and you oogle over your gorgeous new baby.
- Snacks, lots of them, and bottles of water. I have never felt hunger like post-labour hunger, I could have eaten every type of sub available in the Subway across from the hospital! The tea and toast provided after the birth was like a slap in the face, and was apparently meant to see me through to the following morning, from 7pm, as I was refused any more food when I asked for it later that evening!
- Camera, and mobile phone.
- Pyjamas, or a big t-shirt, and slippers.
- Maternity pads, and changes of one size too large underwear or disposable underwear. Not terribly attractive, but you won’t care!
- A soft bath towel, and some shower gel and shampoo. That first post-labour shower is amazing, enjoy it!
- Nursing pillow. I didn’t actually bring one with me, but it could certainly have been useful while learning to breastfeed in those initial hours.
- Music. I wish beyond wish I had brought my iPod with me, both for during labour and especially on the post-natal ward, heck was it noisy 24/7.
- Going home clothes (I forgot these for myself, oops!)
- Arnica and Witch Hazel. Both help with healing, even if you haven’t torn etc, your body has still done a heck load of work and will appreciate any help it can get. A few drops of Witch Hazel in the bath everyday can really speed up the healing process, and it feels fantastic too,
- Cotton wool and a little plastic tub for water. 100 times easier than baby wipes with a newborn.
- Nappies. Newborns ought to be changed every two hours or so, so have plenty of nappies with you 🙂
- Muslin cloths for winding.
- Towel for after baby’s first bath.
- Some people like to have a special going home outfit for their baby, but personally I feel there’s nothing better than a newborn snuggled up in a cotton babygro.
- Appropriate clothing for going home ie pram suit in cold weather, cardigan, hat, blankets etc. it all depends on the time of year your little one is born.
- Car seat; a lot of hospitals will not let you leave without baby being strapped into a carseat.
And because this photo melts my heart, and ovaries, every time I see it; my little one at just 4 days old being winded while she’s in a post-booby coma. Is there anything sweeter? I think not.