There’s so much to prepare when you’re expecting your first baby but don’t forget your hospital bag. Ideally it should be packed and waiting somewhere to hand, just in case, eight weeks before your due date. Some Mums-to-be find that packing two small bags works out better – one for Mum and one for baby – than trying to squash everything into one bag. Packing your hospital bag need not be a chore with our quick guide.
First sort out some night-clothes. For labour, either find the oldest, full of holes nightie you have or buy something very cheap. Really, it will go in the bin afterwards. If you’d rather buy something special for the occasion than stores like Matalan and Peacocks do well priced cotton nightdresses.
Or you may find something at your local market. Don’t forget to pack a second nightdress or pyjamas, a light dressing gown (hospitals are hot) and slippers for afterwards. A front opening nightie works well for breastfeeding. Remember, most mums go home the same day but if you have a C-section or a difficult birth you may have to stay in hospital for one or two nights.
A change of clothes of loose-fitting, comfortable clothes is the best idea and include a few pairs of disposable pants. Some high-waisted pants in case you have a C-section are a great idea.
Pack a small wash bag with just the essentials but with one little luxury: some really nice shower gel. Superdrug sell travel sizes of some popular brands or treat yourself to a travel set from Crabtree and Evelyn or Champneys. If you’re a super scrimper you could always decant some of your favourite shower gel into a smaller bottle, or save a shower gel bottle or sachets from a hotel trip. Also:
- Don’t forget some lip balm. You might appreciate this is labour.
- Take some favourite snacks. Flapjack, chocolate cake, anything. Hospital food isn’t great and what if you give birth in the middle of the night and then are starving and there’s no one to even make you toast.
- A packet of maternity pads is a must. Normal sanitary towels aren’t up to the job.
Finally you need some entertainment so pack an ipod and make sure your favourite tunes are on it You probably won’t be up to reading War and Peace so magazines can be a better idea. If you have a pay as you go phone, pack a spare top up card, and don’t forget your phone charger. Some change is useful to have as a standby. A paid hospital TV service might not take notes.
For baby, actually it’s very easy. The essentials are: three babygrows or bodysuits, a hat, mittens, cardigan, set of going home clothes, nappies and cotton wool. You can’t use wipes on newborn skin. You can have some other clothes washed and ready and more nappies on standby if you hospital stay ends up being longer than a couple of days. Hospitals suggest you give breastfeeding a go, for at least the first few days so your baby gets valuable protection from your first milk, so it is not necessary to take bottles or formula milk into hospital with you.
- Take any information on breastfeeding etc into hospital with you – of course you can ask the midwives for help with any aspect of care for your newborn but having any useful info handy, might just be handy.
- Make the most of money-saving offers on nappies. Even if you plan on using reusable nappies, it’s worth taking a pack of disposables into hospital with you for those first few nappy changes.
Make sure you or your partner brings a camera for those first pictures of your new family member!