Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Pack your bags

For first-time mums (to-be), packing your hospital bag can be daunting: it makes things seem real and is completely new territory! I've held off for as long as possible but can't any longer: most websites I have read advise having your bag packed from 36 weeks and I am going to hit that mark at the weekend!

For the uber busy, myhospitalbag.co.uk do it all for you. For £85, including delivery (or £99 for next day delivery) they will send you a "weekend bag" packed with all the essentials (below). It might seem excessive, but saves time and works out quite reasonably when you look at what it includes. I wish I had seen it sooner!



Babycentre have put together the most comprehensive list I have read. It is easy to download/print and has space for you to add your own items (dry shampoo is definitely going to be an addition to mine). Handily, they have also thought of a few items for the father-to-be which not only includes him in the process, but lists some key items that you might otherwise forget. 

As I've linked them in here, I'm not going to re-write babycentre's the list, but have picked out a few stand out, and less obvious, bits of advice gleaned from reading various websites and advice forums.


For your baby: check what the hospital provides

Most advice suggests your baby will get through approximately 12 nappies a day, but I have also read that many hospitals will provide these and formula, if you decide to go down this route, for the duration of your stay. Something to ask your midwife in one of your check ups, along with questions such as how many birthing balls, and other such things, the hospital may have available.

For you: comfort and avoiding looking like you're leaving home

I am hoping for a natural birth (well, with a fair bit of pain relief thrown in!), but a number of my friends had hoped for the same and ended up needing a cesarean. Whether you're planning one or not, the thing they have all suggested is to make sure you pack some Bridget Jones' knickers: they are comfy on your bottom, go high enough to avoid the waist elastic rubbing bruises or scarring and you won't care what happens to them.
My going home outfit is probably going to be the last thing on my mind, but comfort will be key and for me that normally means jeans. I've been advised against them this time though due to rubbing, so will be packing a dress and some maternity tights to keep things comfy but warm on the journey home.
When I'm packing my bag for more relaxing stays away, I always decant shampoo etc into travel size bottles to save space and, with many websites saying this is key in a packed ward, I'll be sticking to that.
A key piece of advice I read is to pack two bags: one for pre-labour and labour and a second for post-birth which you can leave in the car until you need it.


For daddy: get his input and don't forget to include him

My husband is a problem solver, so I fully expect he will want to do as much as he can to help but I'm often determined to be more independent than is entirely necessary! So, with that in mind, I am going to ask him to read through the baby centre list and identify what he wants to pack as well as helping me pack my bag so he can find things when I'm not able to. Given that, on an ordinary day, I struggle to find my keys in my bag, I think this is a given!
A friend of mine jokes about the "man snacks" she keeps in her handbag for when she's out shopping with her other half and he starts to get grumpy! Another friend has wedding sweets to keep hers out of mischief during long ceremonies! My husband caught wind of this and loves the idea so I do it, when I remember! Now seems a good time to ensure a you pack a range of snacks to keep your other half's energy up and prevent him having to roam the hospital corridors.
Before posting this, I had a chat with my husband who, as predicted, came up with some very useful points: it's almost Christmas so he is going to make sure we have blankets and water in the car. He's super organised so always has a pot of loose change in the car (I dip into it regularly, although not always for parking fees - don't tell him!) and is going to top it up ready for a, potentially, long and expensive stay. We also have a dog, so he's going to set up a 'code birth' text alert with a friend who knows Buddy and can look after him when the time arrives.


I hope this has been of some use. I have certainly found it therapeutic! Now, to print my list and start gathering some of the key items! If there's anything you found useful that might not seem obvious, I'd love to hear from you.
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