There are thousands of articles and blog posts about what to pack in the hospital bag when you’re going to have a baby. Sometimes it seems as important as what type of birth to choose, and I often wish that more emphasis was placed on life after baby (eg how to stay relatively sane, how to look after your marriage), than what to pack for the hospital.
That said, I get how good it is to be organised, how important it is to make sure you’re as prepped as possible before the storm hits, and how therapeutic it is to get something under control, like having everything ready.
I admit to packing my bag about four weeks before due date for these reasons, and it was good to tick something else off the list. There are some essentials I included, and a lot of things from the common lists that I ignored.
I “only” packed one baby outfit, and no baby toiletries, as I know these will fortunately be provided in the hospital bag. Re the baby outfit, I stuck to the most basic babygrow, one that’s easy to put on.
I learnt from my son seven years ago that the pretty outfit I packed for him to go home in was completely impractical, and as a new mom, I wished for something easier. Also, he was bundled up, and no one saw the fancy outfit anyway, so I’m saving the good stuff for when I’ve got a better handle on things – and for when I’ve got an audience.
Another thing I’ve veered away from is a lot of sleepwear and gowns and slippers. I have one pair of pyjamas to sleep in, and not to hang out in during the day. I don’t like to see myself as sickly, so I’ve packed comfortable gym clothes for during the day.
So, aside from the usual suspects (eg underwear, toothbrush and toothpaste), here’s what’s notable in my bag:
Netcells collection kit
This is perhaps the most vital of all my items, and will be used after the birth to transport the collected cord cells to the Netcells storage facility. (You can read more about my experience and learnings with Netcells here and here).
In case we need them for birth registration or certificate details, I’ve packed copies of my and my husband’s IDs. I also have the required UIF forms for my doctor to fill out – I’d like to get as much admin out the way as possible.
Carriwell maternity pads
These need little explanation, and while I think they’ll be in the supplied hospital bag, I’m playing it safe. Plus, this is one of those things I don’t really want my husband to rush out for if I’ve run out.
Philips AVENT breast shields
These plastic shields remind me of the cone bra Madonna once wore, and while they’re way more discreet and not as bulky or pointy, they do add a slight point, and can make a noise if you make contact with another surface.I still love them though – I never had much luck with breast pads as they lost their adhesion and kept on slipping down, and I never felt confident wearing them. These shields are also easy to wash and wear.
The Body Shop Argan Oil body butter and shower gel
I’ve been saving these divine-smelling products just for this occasion – I figure there’s no reason why I should not use lovely body products. In fact, being in hospital almost gives me more of a reason to indulge.
Cetaphil Cleansing Cloths
I’m not going to bother with cleanser and toner, but these wipes will do a great cleansing job.
gHD and MAC makeup
While I might be in pain and uncomfortable, I still want to put my best face forward (if I’m in the mood) so I’ve got MAC foundation, concealer, blush and gloss packed, along with my gHD.
The camera is charged, and I’ll be taking three battery packs, along with a laptop and charger. While this might feel like work for some, it’s relaxation for me, and I want to be able to write and upload pics if I feel like it.
Babygrow, hat, receiving blanket and blanket
Lansinoh Nipple Cream
I used this last time round, and it worked so well that I'm a bit nervous to try out all the other reputable nipple creams out there. I'm not sure if I'll be needing it while I'm still in the hospital, but I'd rather be prepared.
Vitaforce Graze & Wound Powder
While surgical spirits are great for cleaning a baby's belly button and stump, this powder also works brilliantly for keeping the stump dry, and speeding up the drying process.
And last but certainly still important…
Wilsons Cream Caramels
I’ve eaten and craved these for most of my pregnancy, so why stop there if I’m feeling like something sweet?
What were the must-have items in your nappy bag, and what was unnecessary?