Karla Taylor has had two babies in recent years and is due to have another in a matter of weeks so she knows how to make the best of it.
A Baby And A Break
Going to the hospital to have a baby can be a daunting thought for any expectant parents whether it's their first time or fifth. Fifth time parents in particular will know what I mean when I say it might be scary but at least it means you get a break! This is also true for you if you're a first time parent because you get a little break from the housework.
To make your stay at the hospital feel like an actual break might be easier than you thought. All you need to do is take the correct things so that your stay in hospital is comfortable and even pleasant because without your home comforts, the minutes can feel like hours, especially when you aren't sure when you'll be going home.
So, I've put together a list of things you'll need to pack into your maternity bag for a comfortable stay in hospital for you and baby.
The Things You Need To Pack Into Your Maternity Hospital Bag For You
• Your dressing gown (or a new one) - make sure you take a long one, not a short one. A long one offers better coverage, comfort and doubles up as an extra blanket much better than a short dressing gown would.
• Hard bottom, comfortable slippers - you'll likely be provided with non-slip socks at the hospital but you'll be glad to have your slippers while walking around the ward and you'll be more comfortable in slippers rather than shoes when you go for your first post-birth coffee which is typically pretty quickly, for me at least. I always find that I have a desire to drink hot tea way before I have a desire to wear clothes and shoes.
• At least 3 pairs of pyjamas - it's difficult to predict how long you'll be in the hospital for but if you think you'll be in for a while then make sure you take enough pairs of pyjamas because there is often no way to do laundry at the hospital.
• Fluffy socks - because they're essential.
• Plenty of pairs of normal socks - I usually take ten pairs.
• Full coverage briefs/knickers - a LOT of pairs. Your new best friends, probably way beyond your stay in hospital. They're hard to give up... You'll see.
• Bras - nursing bras or.comfortable bras, either way, make sure you pack enough bras. There will be leakages.
• 3/4+ pairs of leggings/jeans/trousers - for getting dressed... Without your bump. Oh, the anticipation.
• 3/4+ tops/t-shirts
• A warm jumper/hoodie
• Your coat - unless you can be 100% sure that you'll wear it on your way to the hospital. Also - make sure you wear comfortable shoes to the hospital.
• Shower Gel
• Shampoo & Conditioner
• Toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash and floss
• Towels - your hospital might provide towels.
• Large sanitary towels - I understand you forgot that periods existed but you'll be reunited in hospital.
• Nipple pads - for the leakages we mentioned earlier.
• Hand Cream
• Vaseline/Lip Balm
• Hairbrush and accessories
• Skin care & face wash
• Face wipes/make-up wipes
• Wash Bag
• Make-Up Bag
• A bag for dirty clothes
• Long charger leads
• Tablet/iPad - download Netflix, ITV Hub and other TV apps so you can watch your favourite shows and movies in there without paying £9.99 per day to watch it on what looks like the screen of a kids laptop. The tablet/iPad makes the world of difference when it comes to making your stay in hospital a comfortable one because TV is almost as much a home comfort as your dressing gown.
• Earphones - for listening to podcasts when you're going to get coffee and for plugging into your phone, tablet or iPad when you're in the ward. Everyone sleeps at different times because of all the babies so it's considerate to wear headphones when watching TV at unsociable hours if you're on an open ward.
• A flask for hot drinks
• Your purse and handbag
• Notebook/journal and pen
• Hand sanitizer
• A packet of tissues
• Hot water bottle - for afterpains
• Books/Magazines - unless you've got that covered with apps.
• Snacks - think nutrition and fuel, you'll need it.
Things You Need To Pack Into Your Maternity Hospital Bag For Baby
• Ready made bottles of formula for newborns - most first time parents don't know these exist and you're not likely to continue buying them once you get home, there's a reason people buy tubs of formula instead of the ready-made bottles but using them is a treat so enjoy it while it lasts. There's no waiting around for sterilisation and temperature, they're small enough for premature babies and big enough for bigger babies and, they're pretty much mandatory because otherwise you'd have to take a whole steriliser to hospital along with a tub of formula and walk around the place with jugs of hot water. They just don't let you do it. They will provide the ready-made bottles of formula to those who need it but you won't be totally safe from the nagging of the midwives for you to buy your own - which they don't sell in the hospital.
• Breastfeeding apparatus - neither of my children took to the breast hence my broad knowledge of tiny bottles of formula versus my lack of knowledge regarding breastfeeding equipment.
• At least 10 baby grows - baby grows are the ones that are short sleeved and cover the baby's top half and secure with buttons over the nappy. Some babies need to wear these with nothing else because of their weight or feeding habits. This will be explained to you if it's relevent to you and your baby. I usually take two packets of 6 baby grows.
• At least 10 romper suits - if your baby is only allowed to wear baby grows for the first few days then you won't need all of these but if they're allowed to wear romper suits then they're brilliant for putting over baby grows since romper suits have long sleeves and long legs and button all the way up. Again, I usually take two packs of 6 romper suits.
• Baby hats - most babies will need to wear a hat straight after birth and in the days following.
• Lots of bibs - needing lots of bibs is your thing now for the next year. Get used to it.
• Baby wipes
• Cotton wool balls or pads - a newborn baby's skin is very delicate. It's best to use damp cotton wool to wipe baby when changing their nappy rather than baby wipes, particularly in the first few weeks of their life. This is where having your own towel comes in handy, a dry place to change baby.
• Nappy bags
• Baby mittens
• Baby socks
• Baby's going-home outfit - this is sometimes overlooked but it's nice to dress baby up for their first time seeing their home which will also be their first ever outing. They have been in the hospital all their lives after all.
• Car seat - otherwise you might be told you can't take your baby home until you get a car seat. It sounds drastic but those are the rules.
From One Mama To Another - Enjoy The Ride
Now that you've got the complete list of things you need to pack into your maternity hospital bag, you're truly ready to go and bring life into the world and finally meet your little baby.
Advice from someone who's done it twice before and will be doing it again in a matter of weeks - enjoy the ride. It's... Okay, so it hurts but it's like nothing else you'll ever experience. It's not something you get to do every day and you will look back fondly on your experience of childbirth and now that you've got your list of things to pack, you'll look back fondly on the comfy cocoon you made for you and your brand new baby during your time in the hospital by packing the right things into your maternity bag to make a comfortable atmosphere with your most important home comforts at the most important time in both of your lives.
It's almost time, you've got this.
© 2021 Karla Taylor