The day is drawing near. I am 36 weeks pregnant, nearly 37. That means really, any day now I could be on my way to hospital to deliver the newest member of our family. I will be considered term from 37 weeks and full term from 40 weeks pregnant. Either way, if I even carry up until 42 weeks (Ill be overdue!) within 5 weeks I shall be a mummy…. again! GULP! Attention has drawn to packing my hospital bag. I remember the nerves that I felt when I first ever packed a hospital bag when having our first baby, Willow. I had no idea what to pack and I was referring to every list ever created on the internet for help. Well, 3 babies (and 6 or 7 bags) later, I think I may have it nailed. I think….. So what do you actually pack for the big day? There are many obvious items that would be near impossible to forget but some that may have never actually crossed your mind before. I have a habit of actually over-packing actually. I like to be extra prepared for every situation, just in case! You have to pack for you, baby and even take your birth partner into consideration. So, here’s what’s gone into mine…. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything!
For You, Mum-To-Be.
Your Maternity Notes– That green book you have been clutching to for the last twentysomething weeks. DO NOT FORGET THIS>>>> forget everything else, just not this!!!!!! Birth plan- Have you written one? If so its good to print off 2 copies for your hospital bag. One for the midwives and one for your birth partner to have to hand.
Nighties– I think that 2 or 3 loose fitting nighties are a must. It doesn’t matter if you deliver wearing these or not (I always ended up starkers, the thought of clothes during labour makes me feel all claustrophobic!) you will be greatful after. You shall want to be as comfortable as possible, and if you plan on breastfeeding having nighties that button up at the front makes those first few awkward feeds so much easier. They don’t need to be glamorous just practical!
Knickers– I Like massive pants. There I said it. Big Fat Pants. Size definitely does matter, espechially after having a baby! You want them big enough to hold your maternity pads in place securely and big enough to go very your tummy. Not only will this make you feel secure and held in place but if you’ve had to have a C-section the top elastic wont be digging into any sore areas where your stitches are. I did treat myself to some new cheap Knickers from Matalan that were all cotton. Cotton is best as it is a natural fibre and less likely to cause irritation. Not something you want to be dealing with when you have a newborn!
Slippers and socks– Those cold hard floors of the delivery suite and maternity ward can cause very cold tooties. Its best to buy some nice new slippers for your stay in hospital, I fully recommend some slip-on mule style slippers, such as these cute stripy ones from Brantano. I advise the mule style slipper, because theres a good chance that after delivery you may be too sore and tender to be bending down fiddling with bootie style slippers, espechially if you are in for a section…. Now, I am pretty confident that before the big delivery day you will have resorted to this style of slipper, The thought of bending over a huge bump to put anything fiddly on my feet at the moment makes me shudder. Haha! These slippers are really fluffy inside and have a nice strong sole with good grip, so no need to worry about sliding all over those newly polished ward floors. I planned on keeping these slippers nice for hospital, but since grabbing a pair a few weeks back, I have literally lived out of them. Very comfy and very warm and no need to bed down to put them on! Yippee! The fluff inside feel luxurious on my toes and fit really wel onto my feet, even though they are backless. I haven’t had to worry about accidently flicking them across the living room every time I stand up! These specific slippers are from Brantano and are just £10! I must remember to actually pack them though, as like I mentioned above… I havn’t actually taken them off yet! Haha! Surprisingly your feet can also get quite chilly during labour (weird when the rest of you gets flipping roasting) so a nice thickish pair of socks are useful. Don’t pack your best ones though, as they can get covered in all sorts during delivery. I learnt this last time, first hand. I moaned at Jay that he had lost one of my socks during the delivery but he politely informed me that the sock got ‘soggy’ and ended up in the clinical waste bin. Ooops!
Comfy Bras– I favour the sports bra style of maternity bra. Avoiding all wires and padding is a must just to ensure your comfort, in my opinion. Drop cups or cups that pull to the side are a necessity if you plan on breastfeeding, you need quick and easy boobie access ladies! These bras are widely available from Baby specialist stores such as Mothercare. If you are wanting t buy a good nursing bra it is always recommend that you get properly measured by a trained bra fitter in the last few weeks of pregnany. I love my nursing bras and I have a favourite. I love it so much I have worn it constantly since I had our first. I even gave birth in it… twice! Don’t worry… it has been washed… a few times. maybe.
Hypnobirthing Materials– I have completely thrown myself into Maggie Howell’s Natal Hypnotherapy materials over the last few weeks preparing for our birth. Based on research from 769 women, 97% of women said they would recommend using the hypnotherapy CDs and an astounding 80% of mothers felt that the CDs helped them overcome anxiety and helped them with the pain of birth. I have been preparing myself by listening to her wonderful birth preparation CD and reading her book Effective Birth Preparation- Your Practical Guide To A Better Birth. These are just 2 of the materials in the number 1 bestseller pack that aims to help me hypnobirth my baby out. Something that I am completely In trust with. Other materials in the pack include Relaxing Birth Music (CD), The Labour Companion (CD and Fast Postnatal Recovery (CD). Be sure to upload all of these discs onto your MP3 player and pack into your bag along with earphones, if you wish to listen to them privately during the birth, or pack the CD’s if you are happy to listen to them on a CD player in the room. Its often best to check with the delivery suite if CD players are available in rooms- most hospitals are understanding of this-don’t worry! I have spent the last 4 weeks reading Maggies book, which is full of information from the history of birth, the physiology and the practical. All including beautiful ways of reminding us that birthing is natural and we can do it! Remember- 3 ,2, 1, Relax. I shall be writing a full review of the Natal Hypnotherapy range within the next few weeks. Do pop back to check up on this! The CDs are also to download as an MP3, the Birth Prep CD pack also includes notes for your midwife, a partners ‘to-do’ list, sticker for your green notes and a door sign to let others know that you need quiet during birth.
Wash bag– Lots to include in your wash bag. A couple of flannels– one for washing yourself after the baby has arrived but also one for the birth itself. I loved my husband holding a cold wet flannel to my forehead when I was in labour. It cooled me down and kept me feeling calm.
A toothbrush set cannot be forgotten–
I forgot when I had my first. idiot. I still laugh at myself at the thought! I felt minging and I shall not be making tha mistake again! To avoid the risk of forgetting to pack your toothbrush before you head out of the door on the big day, buy a handy little travel set like this one from White Glo – Australias number 1 whitening toothpaste brand. The little traveller’s pack contains a fullsize toothbrush, Mini toothpaste and even some dental flosser toothpicks! The set comes in a fab little zip lock plastic case too, so no worries about a soggy toothbrush touching your clothes or toiletries- there’s nothing worse than a minty pair of pants! The toothbrush has an amazing little design pro; a suction cup on the handle so the brush can be stuck onto the mirror, so its not placed down on a wash basin, if you are worried about little germs finding their way onto your bristles. Such a fab idea! Sometimes when your feeling tired and need waking up, brushing your teeth does the job and can leave you feeling so much more refreshed. Also, Think of all those photo’s that you will have taken with the new baby… you need clean teeth for all those smiles! The toothpaste doesn’t taste ‘harsh’ at all, and the bristles are nice and soft, great for sensitive gums that can be aggravated during pregnancy too. After the baby is born, I think I may slip this little kit into my changing bag for when I’m out and bout ad feel the need to freshen up! The White Glo travellers Pack is just £2.99 and available in Boots stores and online.
Body wash and Shampoo– That first shower after baby is born will be the best shower ever! For obvious reasons! I like to pack washes that don’t contain harsh perfumes, because a new baby is comforted by the smell of her mother and any perfumes that may mask your natural sent could leave that new tiny baby feeling confused and lost. I try to avoid deodorants and moisturisers for a few days after the birth for the same reason. Think of all that beautiful skin to skin that you can have with your baby, you will want to bottle that new bor baby smell, not a product-off-the-shelf smell!
Nursing Pads– Not too many of these because your milk wont come in until a few days after the birth, but you may still experience some little leaks. You will want to find some soft comfortable disposable pads or even try sewing your own from soft cotton. It will save you money as you can wash and wear them time and time again. Home made pads are useful if you have sensitive skin and worry about irritation.
Maternity Pads– Go Big. Bigger is definitely better. Don’t be tempted to pack your usual sanitary towels, as they don’t hold as much blood and can be scratchy on sensitive bits. Not fun when everything is tender down there. Also, midwives don’t like sanitary towels because they can mask any signs of possible infections and these things need to be observed. If you don’t fancy buying disposables (maybe you are earth-wise, or the thought of added chemicals being placed down there aren’t your thing) you can even buy some lovely reusable cloth postpartum pads from Moontimes; that are eco friendly, great for your own body and look cute too! Oh and they can always be used once your cycle returns back to normal after baby is born for your heavier days.
A good hand sanitiser is so important to stop the spread of germs when around newborn babies. Did you know that the average ‘clean looking’ hands still mange to be a home for up to a shocking 10 million germs?! Unknown to us, we are guilty of passing on nasty illnesses such as colds, flu, skin infections and even foo poisoning! Not a nice thought when you are also holding on to that beautiful fresh newborn. A typical high street hand sanitizer will kill just 99.9% of germs leaving behind up to 10,000 germs behind, but EcoHydra Instant Hand Sanitiser quickly kills up to 99.9999% and can leave no more than just 10 germs on the hands. It rubs into my hands really easily with just 1-2 pumps of the sanitiser. Ecohydra doesn’t contain alcohol unlike most sanitisers so it doesn’t leave a strong eye-burning smell of alcohol behind with it, which in other brands on the high street can leave hands dry and sore after frequent use and because it doesn’t contain alcohol it isn’t a fire hazard, which can be a risk to you and your family. The sanitiser quickly air dries and does leave a sticky feel on my hands either. One application last on the skin giving its protection for up to 4 hours! Even though you will see endless supplies of hand sanitisers in hospital during your stay, packing a bottle to keep on your person is a fab idea, it also doesn’t contain alcohol like the hospital ones either. Also, it can then stay in the car or changing bag for grabbing at all times! Ecohydra Alcohol-free Antibacterial Instant Hand Sanitiser is RRP £2.49 and is available in most Boots stores and online.
A Contacts List– Its unlikely that you will need this, but I like to have the security of it. Just a list with useful numbers on such as baby-sitters, Parents and friends. You will probably have your phone on and to hand but its always worth having a list tucked into your bag just in case. I like the idea of it stapled onto your birth plan, so the midwives have quick access to emergency contacts too.
A Soothing Feminine Wash– You will feel the need to want to be clean down ‘there’ after delivery, for all of the obvious reasons. Canesten have created a new range of freshening products to help you feel comfortable, perfect for the times just after having your baby. The range, called Canesfresh come with several useful products. Firstly a soothing wash gel, designed for times when you feel discomfort… perfect for after the birth of your baby. It provides up to 12 hours of comfort and fresh feeling and contains glycine which is known for its calming properties. It has a wonderful fresh smell and doesn’t feel soapy when washing. RRP £7.99. The wash gel isn’t a treatment for imbalances but can be used along side medicines.
There is also a refreshing mouse which is a daily wash that gently cleanses whilst maintaining your natural PH balance. This would be perfect for women who are set to have a C- section and don’t require the soothing properties of the gel but still want to feel fresh postnatally. The mouse contains pro-vitamin b5 and lotus extracts for its calming properties. The bottle has a handy locking pump system so no little fingers can empty the whole bottle (As kids do… personal experience here!) and the mouse is easily pumped from the bottle. RRP £8.99.
There are also some super little wipes in the range that come in a small handbag/washbag sized pouch, so they wont take up loads of room. The wipes also contain the calming lotus extract and moisturising pro-vitamin b5. They are alcohol free, totally biodegradable and flushable too. They smell lush, and are a good size, strong wipe. Perfect size for discretion in the follow weeks after pregnancy too for throwing into your handbag! There are 10 wipes in a pack and RRP £3.99.
FOOOOOD! – I will scream that. Food is so important. During and after delivery. You will be grateful of the energy. After Olive was born, I ate 4 slices of Jam and Toast, and a whole huge bar of chocolate… in one go. I didn’t feel bad at all. OK, I could have chosen something a little more nutritious but I needed energy there and then. I have heard of women eating their way through their labours, and I’ve heard the opposite of some women who cannot think about food for pure nausea. Either way, You will still want food after. I also found myself eating in the middle of the night during those early first few feeds for baby, its hungry work making milk!
Clif energy bars are a fab item to pack in your bag. I can pack them now knowing that they will still be good for the big day too. Full of performance nutrition and great taste they are easy to nibble on when you could be occupied with other tasks- like bring a baby earthside! They are created with organic ingredients and fortified with fab vitamins and minerals. Oh, and just think…. An extra bar in your bag can keep your birth partner happy too… I remember Jay sneaking out to eat a sandwich when I was in labour with our first. I wasn’t impressed. We both love the new Clif bars so I think he’s happy to have them make an appearance in the bag too. Available in 6 different flavours (Chocolate Chip, Crunchy Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Blueberry Crisp, Chocolate Almond Fudge and White Chocolate Macadamia) and available to buy from Boots, Holland & Barrett and Tesco (and Sainsburys too very soon!) nationwide and are RRP £1.60 each.
Magazines/Books/Ipad– Anything to keep you entertained… especially if you are in for an induction. You can be in for a good wait before the big delivery… and after delivery too! Some ladies are sent home very quickly after birth if everything went smoothly but if for some reason you have to be kept in for a while you will need entertainment. Although you may just find yourself staring at that scrummy newborn for hours on end!
Nursing Pillow– A good nursing pillow is a must! Before labour, during and most definitely after! Not just designed for helping you feed your baby comfortably, I learnt that they had many benefits. I dropped a line to a pro from BabyThigz to get a better idea about some of the amazing nursing pillows that they stock. (Please note: website under construction and some products may not appear at present.)
Q- What benefits in my pregnancy can a good pillow have? A- A good pillow can be used long before the birth I a number of ways, it can help support the mothers back, and when placed between the knees when laying on her side it can give good relieve for aches and paid often caused by SPD. It could also be propped up behind mums back when resting to provide better support when sitting, or even sleeping upright which some mums find easier in the last few weeks.
Q- Can the Pillow be used for mums to twins who plan on tandem nursing? A- Of course! Its best to choose a larger pillow when feeding twins, that can be wrapped around mums waist to rest both babies on.
Q- Can a Pillow be used for times other than feeding to help with my babies development? A- Yes, the pillow can be placed behind baby as they are learning to sit by themselves or great fun to rest baby over when giving tummy time. It can help strengthen their neck and upper back muscles too when spending time on their front, these muscles help your baby to sit, roll and crawl!
Swim Wear– Just incase you get to dip a toe into the birthing pool! There are lots of lovely maternity swimming costumes available in stores and online. or if you don’t fancy ‘spashing’ out (see what I did there?) a plain vest top or tshirt will be fine. I have been asking for a water birth for my last 2 pregnancies and unfortunately I wasn’t allowed as I was considered high risk. I had to go see our consultant last week, and this time she has given me to all clear to use a pool if one is available in the delivery suite. I am soooooo happy!
I think its a good idea to keep baby’s bits separate, so items in your bag don’t become muddled up. Its a good chance to get out the new changing bag, and see how much can fit in it… Whichever bag you choose as a changing bag, make sure it opens up the opportunity to become Mary Poppins for you. Because, trust me when I say that your new bag, will hold pretty much everything except the kitchen sink over the next few years. FACT.
Keep clothing items simple, as tempting as it may be to pack some beautiful clothes for going home (I’ve seen newborns in mini jeans and huge flowery head bands leaving hospital!) Its not practical, comfortable or actually suitable for that sensitive new skin on your baby. I literally just pack vests x5, BabyGrows x7, a couple of hats, 2 pairs of mittens and a set of booties. For going home- as extra layers, a nice woolly cardigan, and a couple of blankets. That’s all they need. If you think you may be staying in for some time, feel free to pack more.
Cotton wool: Cotton wool is definitely best for baby’s skin in the early days. Pure boiled water, allowed to cool is safest as neither the wool or water will contain any harsh chemicals that can upset a baby’s skin. I like to avoid all types of wipes for at least the first few weeks, and then I make the transition to using cloth wipes. You can by cloth wipes from the fab ladies at Cheeky Wipes, or you can make your own. It takes me a few minutes to make my own wipes reusing an old towel or even soft cotton pillow case cut into squares.
A Barrier Cream– Just in case little ones bottom does get sore. It’s worth packing a cream, such as Sudocrem’s Care & Protect especially if you think that you may be spending a while in hospital. This triple action formula, protects babys skin that is prone to nappy rash and irritations and is gentle enough to use daily even on a new-born’s sensitive skin while also conditioning the skin and guarding from possible infections. I am a huge fan of Sudocrem’s original Antiseptic Healing Cream, (you know the one in the grey tub- everyone loves the stuff!) but this little tube of Care & Protect is in for a definite win! When applied it doesn’t drag or rub across the skin, but gently massages onto baby’s bottom gently and efficiently, and doesn’t leave the skin feeling too sticky or oily. It smells great as well, almost with a herbal smell. I know this is made for baby’s bum but I couldn’t resist rubbing some into my (now aging) tattoos for a little revival of colour and softness! Oh, and a very clever little design feature- the cap is designed to be easily opened with one hand, fab for when the other hand is holding wiggly little ankles in the air!
A New Soft Cuddly Toy– a perfect gift idea for any siblings to buy for their new baby brother or sister, when they come visit the baby! A cute cuddly teddy also looks fab in any photographs you may take of baby.
Thermometer- The thermoscan 7 thermometer with age precision technology from Braun is one of the most precise thermometers available to buy, and is recommended and used by many doctors in surgeries across the UK. Did you know that the definition of a fever changed with a childs age? The Thermoscan 7 can be adjusted to read your childs temperature accurately and very quickly, and by taking a childs specific age into consideration tells you if there is any reason for concern regarding the reading. All hospitals will safely and accurately be able to take your childs temperature, whether you take a thermometer into hospital or not regardless, but I really do believe that carrying a good thermometer around with you is such a fab idea. The thermometer isn’t bulky or heavy so can easily be slipped into any changing bag easily when out and about. You can read more about the Thermoscan 7 by Braun and the importance of age precision monitoring, in a full product review here.
Nappies and Nappy Sacks– You’ll want to pack around 10 newborn-sized nappies for baby. I plan on using cloth from when we get home but for practical reasons I am taking disposable for our (hopefully) short stay. Nappy sacks are so useful for lots of reasons. Apart for the obvious- for binning nappies, you can also tie up any dirty small items of clothing, wrap and dispose of any sanitary products and can even wrap up your toiletries so on the journey home, nothing gets all soggy in your bag!
Is there anything that I have missed off the list that you just couldn’t have been without in your bag when you had your baby? We all have our own little preferences of what to pack.
What Does 40 Weeks In The Womb Look Like?
Our 4th baby is now due any day now, and the excitement is real! For ...read more
What are Braxton Hicks and How To Ease Braxton Hicks
Our 4th baby is due in just over 4 weeks. Not long at wait at ...read more
Babybond Scan Review and Our 4D Scan Experience
First of all, apologies for how long it has taken to finally get this post ...read more
Nearing The 3rd Trimester... already!
In a couple of days I'll be 25 weeks pregnant. 15 weeks left. 109 days ...read more