I read endless lists of stuff that you need for childbirth and after childbirth. Some items like “hairdryer” I boycotted and other stuff like “maternity pants” I bought… but never thought to actually try on for size! So here is my list of things I would take to the hospital if I had my birth again. It is important to bear in mind that you could be in hospital anywhere from 12 hours to a week depending on how things pan out. Your partner can “pop home” to get some things, but if labour is due then you are unlikely to want them to leave (no matter how much you really wanted your Gucci pants for the birth ;)).
- 2 items you can give birth in (a nightie, a long t-shirt or shirt is ideal)
- Very cool PJs for afterwards with easy boob access if you want to breastfeed (strap tops or nursing tops are easy for this). Be aware that often postnatal wards are heated to 27 degrees to keep the babies warm!
- Flipflops for waddling around the hospital (you may NEED chocolate from the shop)
- Toilet bag: shower gel, shampoo, facewash, hairbrush and deodorant
- Decent pillow
- Birthing ball of the size you need (hips should be above knees when sat)
- Ipad with music on (a relaxing playlist and a fun one is a good idea) and maybe a couple of episodes of your fave tv show – especially if you are getting induced as there can be lots of waiting around for things to happen 🙂
- Nursing bras (at least 2)
- BIG cotton pants (I mean BIG)
- Maternity pants – they are SMALL so try them on before packing them. The ones I bought I couldn’t get past my knees and they were ‘medium’!
- Maternity pads – one packet. You are likely to need them all.
- Nipple cream (I would recommend Lansinoh and get their disposable breast pads for when you get home and your milk comes in if you are breastfeeding). Put it on after every feed in the first week or so.
- Paracetamol and ibuprofen so you can self-medicate afterwards if needed.
- An eye mask and ear plugs for getting some shut-eye in the ward if the opportunity presents itself!
- Cold compresses for comfort for the days after childbirth (https://www.boots.com/multi-gyn-perineum-compresses-10197634)
- Cold flat lucozade (two bottles)
- Granola bars or flap jacks for both you and your partner
- Sweets (Jelly babies are awesome!)
- Refillable water bottle
- Bag for the car: have inside warm jumper, socks and cosy PJs just in case the temperature is cold at night.
- You may not want to eat during labour, but you will need your partner to keep their strength up. I would advise taking chocolate bars and sandwiches for them as the hospital will not give them ANYTHING and as I said above, you might not want them to leave you!
- Phone chargers: contacting the masses takes all kinds of energy. Also a good idea is to have sample ” baby is here” text ready to go and a list of who you will send it to. Forgetting aunt Flora could be a whole load of aggro that you just don’t need right now!
- Comfy leisurewear for leaving hospital in unless you want to do a Kate Middleton with the red dress situation….
- 3 short babygrows
- 3 full babygrows (we took both newborn and up to 1 month as was unsure how big he was going to be! The newborn one was rather snug at 10lb 3)
- a newborn hat (again two sizes is wise – Ruben never fit the knitted newborn hat I spent about 2 hours choosing and importing from Canada lol)
- 2 blankets (at least one cellular)
- Nappy bag (this is the bag that you will take everywhere for the next two years or maybe longer): inside have 10 disposable nappies, large cotton wool pads (the biggest ones you can get, not the make up ones), some sudocrem and a foldable changing mat. A packet of baby wipes for any mopping required is also handy. You can be totally ecological when you leave hospital.
- Car seat (get this tested for safety a few weeks prior to birth). Make sure you know how to adjust the belts and the various settings before you put your baby in it! And practice putting it in and out the car several times. It took us some time and we both have degrees…
I don’t believe you can ever truly be ‘ready’ for the arrival of your child even if you think you are! You cannot prepare your life or your mind for the changes that are awaiting you but in being as prepared as you can, you are mentally opening yourself up for what is ahead. What you can control is what you buy from the shop and what you put in your suitcase. After that, let go of trying to control anything and surrender yourself to whatever is to be your birth story.
There is no moment like the first time you hold your baby.
Be strong mamas!