I was in a program which allowed me early discharge from hospital so I didn’t intend to be there for more than six hours after birth. I took one bag with enough to last a night in case I needed to stay. Due to bubs being a high weight we were encouraged to stay overnight to monitor his blood sugar levels (I allowed myself to be persuaded to this for his safety but it turned out to be unnecessary and I wish I had gone home - but that’s another blog).
For me - this is all about me and is what I needed for birth and immediate post partum.
· Birth Affirmations. I will had mine laminated and loaded up with blu tack so I can pop them up in my line of sight during labour and birth. Didn’t use the blu tack I popped them on the bed. I actually changed to an affirmation I hadn’t printed during the birth because I am adaptable like that.
· Speaker for my birth playlist.
· Electric oil burner and oils for birth. My surges were so strong I turned off my clary sage!
· 10 maternity pads. This is overkill as the hospital provides the surfboards but hygiene means I like to change pads often and if I want to I could and I didn’t need to ask for supplies. I used 8 in total staying overnight.
· Nipple cream - Lanolin..
· 2 pairs of black underwear which I am happy to throw away if I need to. I used my maternity pants still.because I am happy to dispose of them if I leak instead of adding pressure to keep underwear clean.
· Bikini – seriously I birthed in the bath and my immediate beautiful post birth photos from my eldests birth are not suitable for display because my dinner plate size nipples are on show.. This time I came prepared with a top and so glad I did.
· Post partum clothes. One outfit only. My belly felt loose and in need of support last time so I’ll bring some work out tights and a loose fitting top to go home in. Comfort is key. I ended up wearing this one outfit overnight and changing into the dress I wore in to go home (the dress was only worn for an hour to get me to hospital).
· Open sized breastfeeding crop top. Your boobs are going to do weird things so think comfort and wait for the fitted bras after a month or two when your milk has come in and you can get fitted when your size is more stable. I tried to be topless as much as possible but when food was delivered etc.. It was nice to have something comfortable to put on. I did have a couple of pairs of breastpads. I ended up with badly cracked nipples and had to use water to get one off so very glad I took these.
· Cardigan. Hospitals can be cold and I wanted to be prepared for everything. Again this was a great choice.
· Toiletries. Face wash, deodorant, body wash, moisturiser and maybe basic make up if I feel like it. Make sure you don’t take anything too fragranced. Even if you love it baby is getting used to life outside the womb and a strong perfume may overload their senses a little. Used all of this.
· Phone charger (or camera and camera charger if you aren’t using your phone for photos).
For Baby –
· 9 Nappies. Once again overkill but as a second time Mama I didn’t want to be caught short. With the 9 I nearly ran out. A lovely nurse provided me with a couple extra in the morning when I asked for them.
· 2 singlets – baby may vomit up after a feed and need a new outfit. Depending on the temp in hospital a singlet and nappy under a swaddle might be all baby needs.
· Swaddle. The hospital will provide a blanket but if you bring your own it will smell like home and give baby some comfort in that. Also you can ask your midwife to show you how to swaddle using what you use at home. Win / win!
· Travelling home outfit. We will use the same onsie and beanie we put my little man in. We left hospital at 4.30am with him so beanie felt right in the cooler autumn air but if we leave at midday totally unnecessary.
· Spare onesie and beanie just in case hospital is cold instead of hot. I actually needed 2 more of these and a larger size. 4.43kg babies will do that for you! My husband brought those in.
· Hair straightener. For reals guys you need to feel good and if straightening your hair does that go for it Mama. I didn’t use it. But no regrets…
· Book to read. Baby only needs feeding every 2 – 3 hours and there is some down time without visitors. There was no sleep to be had on a hospital ward.
This is what I am in charge of and all you would usually take with more clothes for a longer stay. It is important to remember your birth support team will also need a bag each.
My 4yo was welcome to attend the birth and we created a little bag with some PJ’s as a change of clothes and all the toys and books that fit for him to play with while my Mum looks after him. I laboured through the early morning and my little man was born at 6.46. By the time my 4yo woke up, got dressed and made it to the hospital the placenta was delivered, I was showered and onto my second breastfeed. Sadly he didn’t make it. The bag did though and as we waited the 8 hours to be transferred to a ward the toys came in handy.
My husband will be in charge of packing his own things. He took 2 changes of clothes, board shorts he was happy to get ruined when I wanted him in the bath with me and the toiletries he needed for a shower. Don’t make this your job. Your partner needs to plan this on his own and take responsibility for it in the hospital. Obviously a larger kit will be needed if you know he will be staying as the hospital.
Did I miss anything? If you had a longer stay what was essential for you.