Do excuse my lack of posts recently. Tiredness and constant illness has hit me quite badly in this pregnancy, certainly worse than the first time around when I was younger (and fitter?!) even though I was working full time back then, I can confirm looking after an active Toddler 24/7 is tiring work! I have been reading Coping With Two during my stolen free time, and it’s a great book for people expecting their second child and who already have a youngish child, full of useful tips.
Now, let’s talk hospital bags. The first time around, my hospital bag(s) were a disaster. Having gone on Maternity leave 5 weeks before my due date on a Friday, my routine check up on a Monday turned into one big emergency which saw H delivered by emergency c-section on a Wednesday. I had to beg the doctor to let me go home and pack a hospital bag because because I wasn’t ready, and because I left so late at night (to return the following morning) we had to go to a 24 hour supermarket to pick up the essentials.
I ended up with a mountain of bags and a team of midwives carrying them for me everywhere we went. H had a bag, Mr C had a bag, I had a bag, I had a snack bag and I had some new pillows. It was absolutely not streamlined in any shape or form, but I guess in hindsight, I had to stay in hospital for longer than expected so having a million cartons of Kia-Ora wasn’t so bad after all.
I digress. There are definitely no hard and fast rules when it comes to your hospital bag, and of course some mums are in hospital for just hours, some are kept in for weeks. You just don’t know how birth will go, so this time around I have been packing for the ‘what-ifs’, without carrying too much stuff I won’t need.
I have two sturdy bags, one is a IT Bag (travel) which is very light for baby’s things. This is so that if I have another C-section and can’t handle the baby, Mr C will have no trouble finding essential things like first clothes and nappies. The larger bag is a Mi-Pac, which I discovered when trying to find a super light but sturdy duffel bag – I want something we can use for weekends and what not too and this one comes in lots of designs. They’re about £30 but I got this burgundy one as it was only £10 in the sale!
Here is the list of items I have packed (started packing!) and I want this completed by week 37 in case I have problems again and this baby has to come early. You can always send your other half to pick up bits and pieces but I think asking him to pack a bag from scratch is a little too much (“Why have you brought my thongs?”).
I hope this list is of help to someone, somewhere.
1. Long t-shirt/nightdress for the initial check in. I don’t know if I will end up with a VBAC or repeat C-Section yet but either way, a cheap, dark, plain nightie will serve me well. I found one in Primark for £3.50. I also have some old night dresses.
2. Dressing Gown. The one I have is a massive spa one, so I purchased a cheap Wolverine one for a sense of fun from eBay for £10 which is easier to carry.
3. Slippers. My current sheep ones from Next.
4. Warm Socks. Thermal ones, £1 from the Poundshop.
5. Flip Flops. (Have you seen hospital showers? Verruca heaven). Muji ones I already own.
6. Old/Cheap Knickers (There will be blood). Pack of 5 in a bigger size that will sit ABOVE a c-sec scar if necessary, 2.50 from Primark for me.
7. Comfy Nursing PJs. I got mine from La Redoute – it’s very useful to not have to pull your entire top/nightdress up when feeding baby especially if you have visitors. A nightie with buttons would also work!
8. Nursing Bras. I still have my old ones, they are Royce bras which are great for people with big boobs. I bought a few more this time round because they end up being all you wear for a while. Maybe Breast pads, but honestly, I never leaked much with H.
9. Leaving Outfit. I was in my PJs for so long at the hospital so long I forgot about normal clothes, but I will take comfy leggings (maternity is fine!) and a top for leaving. As it’s December, of course a coat, hat, scarf – all the things I’ll be wearing in!
10. Sanitary Pads. See point 6.
11. Skincare and make up. I took loads with me last time and used practically nothing. This time around I am under no illusions – I will take Micellar water, wipes, face cream – very basic stuff. I may take something like a CC/EE cream and a simple stain I can add for a bit of colour. I look like a beached whale in my after birth pictures with H (I HAD ECLAMPSIA, OK!) but I would like to look even half decent this time around in my hospital pictures.
12. iPod. You so badly need a music player to listen to when waiting around and also to drown out other peoples cries, moaning, talking, babies etc.
13. Camera. Of course!
14. Something to read/do. In my case probably a notebook, my kindle and some crochet in case I end up staying in, for those early hours when I’m sat there with nothing to do. I still haven’t finished this baby’s blanket so if it’s not done by the time he or she is born, I will crack on with that (or…maybe just sleep!).
15. Snacks. I can’t live without Elderflower cordial, I also like crisps of course, and bits of fruit. There is so much waiting around in hospital it’s always worth taking a sandwich. Having said that, it totally depends on how the birth turns out, and that, no one knows.
I have purchased neutral newborn sized things (I’ll definitely dress this baby in some of his/her brother’s clothes but I figured some outfits should be new!). If this baby turns out to be small, then there will be a last minute dash to the shops.
When H was born at 4lbs absolutely everything was too big for him, even First Size, even Tiny Baby. Only Boots stocked preemie clothing for babies from around 2lbs which were sweet but very expensive for what they were.
I noticed in Asda recently that they now how preemie sized suits and undersuits for a reasonable price – I definitely would look there if you know you are expecting a small baby (as in under 5lbs). Tiny clothes usually have side openings to make things a bit easier when dealing with a delicate baby.
So my list for the baby’s bag:
1. Newborn Nappies and sudocrem, wipes. NEWBORN NAPPIES AGAIN! I do prefer Pampers newborn, I believe they ‘lock away’ moisture better than cheaper brands.
2. Newborn Undersuits and Bodysuits, long sleeved and short sleeved.
3. Hats – light cotton and a heavier outdoor one.
4. Newborn snow suit (as it will be a Winter baby).
5. Comforter Toy – I bought a teddy bear that also can be grabbed like a hanky.
6. Muslin for swaddling.
7. Blanket – I have a beautiful lightweight one similar to what Prince George was swaddled in, but I am crocheting a heavier outer blanket at the moment too.
8. Car Seat – you NEED to have one of these before the hospital lets you leave. I bought a new seat cover for our Maxi-Cosi Pebble for this baby so it has a fresher seat to sit on!
9. A little gift from the new baby for H. H is obsessed with little figures and shapes so I have bought him the Mr Maker figures which I know he will like.
10. A few bottles of Aptimil. I am an advocate of breastfeeding (I fed H till he was 2) although I think each woman needs to do what is right for her. In the early days my milk didn’t come in for over a week so in the meantime the hospital advised feeding formula so H didn’t starve. Therefore I will take some small bottles of formula just in case, so this baby has some food in his/her belly, although my plan is 100% for nurse completely by week 2/3 this time.
My beloved V shaped pillow and my breastfeeding pillow if in for a longer stay.
This is the beauty stuff I have packed but to totally get real, I may use absolutely none of it. Depending on the outcome of the birth make up and skincare is the last thing to think about, but if I feel better I may be able to get a nice picture before we leave. NOTE: if having an elective c-section no make up or polish is allowed anyway.
I have things like the Estee Lauder EE and BB cream, the Aerin lip balm, Aveda hair minis, Toothpaste etc. For the face I have my RMK Herbal Mist (in green tea), es Face Cream which is for sensitive skin, Lanolips for lips and nipples, mini nail clippers, Aromatherapy Associates stress roll on etc.
The shower room when I had H was beyond grim with a stinky toilet so I used to rush in as fast as possible to have showers, no time for anything else, not even conditioning my hair because it was SO gross. Even so I have some shower products with me of course and hair things just in case.
Oh, I actually purchased a new micellar water for the hospital, it’s a Clearecipe one with AHA in it, a Sebum Spray for controlling oil (my skin got weird and oily in hospital) and a dual ended shadow pen thing from Kate – once again, wishful thinking but it does create a even eye quite easily without the need for brushes etc.
And…that’s it. I am still 95% more prepared than last time and of course, there’s a chance you’ll end up leaving in hours or it might be a week. We’ll have to see! Eek!
Have you ever packed a hospital bag? What were your essentials? Did I miss anything?