When you’re getting ready to have a baby, there is a lot written about The Hospital Bag – and what you should pack for you and the baby. Mostly the focus is on what you need for the baby and some reminders on things new Mums might need to. However, it’s the home comforts that are often overlooked and given that no-one can plan for is how long they're going to spend in hospital when they give birth (it may only be an overnight stop but for others it may be longer) making sure you have everything you need can make a huge difference to the whole experience. After all, you don't want to be in the delivery room before you realise you forgot to pack those all-important comfy pyjamas!
Whether you’re a prospective new mum yourself, or you know someone who is about to be, here are our top 8 things that we think make the stay that little bit easier. And some might be a good opportunity to treat yourself or your friend, to something new…
Pillow: Hospital pillows are harsh, thin, and well, they smell of hospitals. Why not bring in your own pillow from home. Not only is it likely to be more comfortable, (and we are all for comfort) softer and almost certainly more luxurious but it is going to have a familiar smell, which is always comforting when you are in unfamiliar surroundings. Our top tip is don’t use a white pillow case as it could get muddled up with the rest of the ward.
Comfy PJ’s: You are likely to spend a significant amount of time in bed getting to know your new-born, recovering and getting rest. Many new mums feel sensitive or sore after having a baby, even having to undress can be tiring and challenging especially on a busy ward. So making sure you have some comfortable lightweight pj’s can make all the difference, even make you feel a bit more human. Our top tip: make sure the top is easily opened, in case of breast feeding… or to just enjoy that lovely skin-to-skin contact.
Flip flops: This is our footwear of choice. They are hugely multi-functional. Firstly you might be encouraged to walk around at some point so taking shoes or any footwear with straps or shoelaces into hospital is just a pain. By the time you have reached the latter stages of pregnancy you will realise that bending down is not the easiest manoeuvre, this doesn’t change straight after childbirth. Secondly you can wear them in the shower, something you may be hugely grateful for. Thirdly it won’t matter how swollen your feet or ankles get they will always fit.
Water and lots of it. Hospital wards are warm, maternity and labour wards are very warm! Plus labour is dehydrating, breast feeding if you chose to or are able to makes you thirsty and finding some fresh water that doesn’t have that plastically taste is tricky. So taking some nice bottled mineral water, even flavoured (citrus would be our preference) to make you feel a little more refreshed is well worth it.
Loads of change: You might not have mobile reception, you might not even be allowed to use your mobile but there is always a public telephone on the ward (I know how old fashioned!) So make sure you take plenty of change to make those all-important phone calls about your bundle of joy. Your visitors may also need some for the car parking.
Hand cream: There is loads and loads of hand-washing. From changing dirty nappies, bottle washing or general germ-fighting, your hands are going to go through a lot. Getting into the habit of applying a good hand cream regularly will keep your hands from getting sore or rough. We would suggest a mildly fragranced, non-greasy cream.
Lip balm: Just like your hands and your mouth, your lips are likely to get dry and dehydrated too. Having some lip balm to hand is a great idea. It is the easiest skincare product to apply and makes you feel a little pampered. There is a huge range but one that smells, tastes and is slightly tinted would be our favourite. Let’s face it that first photo of you and baby will be a precious one. So why not feel a little bit “made up” for that all important photo.
Dirty laundry bag: OK, so it isn’t top of the list, but it is vital. You won’t want to put dirty labour clothes in with clean baby clothes so a dirty laundry bag is important. In fact make that two dirty laundry bags you can send some home with your birthing partner, why not get a head start on the washing!
Whatever you end up packing in the all important bag, don’t forget to leave it somewhere that you can easily get it!
And finally, all Mums love pressies… if you know someone that’s about to have a baby, buying them a gift to help in the early days or allow them a tiny bit of pamper time is a super idea… especially when they are getting loads of gifts for the baby. Our mums-to-be and new-mums gift ideas, might just be the ticket!