Packing a hospital bag had to be one of the most challenging steps for me whilst waiting for my gorgeous bundle to arrive. I packed a bag, repacked a bag, took everything out, started again and then shuffled some more bits around. It is kind of like packing for a holiday, you pack way too much stuff but try to be prepared for every situation.
You get the usual lists from your antenatal class etc telling you what you should pack but in all honesty every birthing situation is different and whilst they are a good guideline to follow, I would probably go on advice from other mothers.
I’ve had two c-sections, one emergency and one elective. Being honest, I really had no idea what I was doing with Amelie’s labour, I packed the usual baby bits but didn’t really think too much about items for myself, which I think, is quite important. With Charlie I had a bit more time to think about preparing for hospital and also I had gone through the motions with Amelie’s birth.
I thought it might be good to share my top items to add to your hospital bag that you may find useful.
SNACKS & DRINKS – When I was in labour the first time I couldn’t eat or drink as I was throwing up the entire time. But, Mr K was ravenous the poor thing and I didn’t pack a single snack. So I would say, stock up on cereal bars, crisps, fruit and nuts.
WATER BOTTLE – This may sound silly but when you are huffing and puffing, the last thing you want to do is hold a cup of water. So by packing a water bottle it will be easier to grab a drink or for someone else to hold it for you.
CHANGE – This was another first time mum rookie mistake – no change! Nowadays you can pay for parking with no issue on card/contactless/by phone. But you will still need lots of change for the vending machine for those mid night last minute munchies as there are no cafes open at 2am.
SLIPPERS – A must, there’s nothing worse than pacing around the ward in just your socks -yuk!
MAKEUP WIPES – If you are in labour for hours (like me) and your make up is sliding off your face, you have masacara running down your cheeks you’ll want to get it all off and feel a little fresher.
PHONE CHARGER & MOBILE PHONE – Again, this is an essential. Especially for keeping your other half entertained.
HAIR BANDS – You will feel a lot cooler with your hair out of your face, there’s nothing worse than being all hot and sweaty.
COTTON WOOL PADS – I took these in my first hospital bag, not for me but for Amelie. She came out with all the gunk on her little face and head. I remember dipping cotton wool pads into water to clean her off when we were in the recovery ward.
LIP BALM – For some reason your lips get super dry in hospital so a good hydrating lip balm is essential.
BIG PANTS – Don’t go taking fancy knickers into hospital, I took big granny pants. As I had a c-section I got the ones that go right up to your belly button. It would have been agony wearing mid rise knickers as the elastic would dig into the c-section incision. Oh, and buy black ones for when you are in hospital but use white ones when the dressing has come off. I made the mistake (another mistake!!) of wearing black pants after my dressing was off, they got stuck to the skin where the dressing had been and I was left with a black square on my tummy for weeks.
CHANGE OF CLOTHES FOR YOUR BIRTHING PARTNER – I’m not talking a whole wardrobe change only basics like pants, socks and a clean top. It gets so hot in hospital and if your partner is there for hours on end I’m sure they will want to freshen up.
FLUFFY SOCKS – Even though you will be sweating, after a c-section you can get really cold and shaky (I did). So after your ever so glamorous bed bath from the nurse, you may want to pop some comfy cosy socks on.
NECK PILLOW – This was Mr K’s input when I asked him what to pack in a hospital bag. Quite a good suggestion I thought. He knows all too well how uncomfortable those upright wooden chairs are to sleep in so a little neck pillow like the ones you get when travelling is a brilliant idea.
I think that’s covered it, obviously you’ll take all the other essentials that are on most checklists but I wanted to include things that have helped us along the way.