When I was pregnant, people often asked whether I’d packed my hospital bag. I think you’re supposed to pack it eight weeks in advance, but to be honest, I packed mine properly the day before I went into hospital. I had the stuff together in piles, but not in a bag per se until right up until the wire.
It didn’t matter anyway what I put in the bag, as we ended up staying in hospital for five days (I was in for six), so Benn was constantly bringing me stuff every time he visited. I thought I would write a guide of what worked and didn’t, to help other people who might have to go into hospital (not just for having a baby!)
Your own pillow: Seriously, NHS pillows are pants.
Night shirt: Be prepared to wear something whilst giving birth that you’re prepared to chuck away or be covered in more blood than a CSI Miami crime scene. Take a spare for after the birth and socks and a dressing gown.
2-in-1 shampoo: This is not the time to get too hung up on haircare. You’ll want a shower and you’ll probably be pretty weak. I wouldn’t spend a fortune on this and I just used the Timotei 2-in-1 that I kept in my swimming bag and not only did it smell nice, it made my hair very soft and shiny- as demonstrated in the picture. I didn’t use the dry shampoo I took in the end.
Shower gel and body lotion: I was given a Dirty Works set of mini toiletries at my baby shower and took these with me. I found that the lemongrass scent of the shower gel was really refreshing and made me feel a little bit more human after a few sleepless, worry-filled nights. The body lotion was also really lovely and moisturised well. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy from this range again, now I’m back to ‘real life’! Buy something small and fresh smelling- you’ll be grateful for it!
Maternity pads and disposable knickers: Not glamorous, but necessary. You’ll need the pads once your waters break (and midwives are particularly keen on updates. Nice.) and I found that the undies were just less hassle. One tip though- use Mothercare’s Aloe Vera pads post-birth. They’re a bit more expensive than Boots’ but are just brilliant. You might also want to chuck a few breast pads in your bag as well, in case you end up staying a bit longer.
Hand sanitiser: I’ve become obsessed with this. I’m finding I’m stashing bottles round the house.
Sweets: Sounds daft, but these help with your energy levels. My favourites were jelly babies and Percy Pigs. I found them especially good when trying to work out just exactly was making Fidget scream at three a.m. and I was suffering from exhaustion.
Baby clothes: The books recommend four sleepsuits and vests. We were probably changing Fidget too much in the early days, as we clearly hadn’t a clue as to what we needed to do. Also, think about what time of year it is- will the baby need a coat/hat etc? We had a little outfit ready for going home in as well.
Nappies/wipes/cotton wool- Stock up on these. You’ll get through them quickly!
I also found that after a day or so, I was desperate for Benn to bring a facial moisturiser, as hospital air is so drying and warm. A good, rich one will do a world of good if your skin is sensitive like mine. Also make sure that you have painkillers at home for when you are discharged. For stitches etc, the best are paracetamol and ibuprofen, but obviously check with your midwife or a doctor! Lip balms and flannels are also advocated in the books, but I found I only used these sparingly.
Let me know if there’s anything I missed. Although the birth was less than a fortnight ago, I’m starting to forget stuff about it already (my brain is such a cliched mess right now…)