What I'm Packing in my Hospital Bag
I was so unprepared with my first pregnancy. And it’s not as though my daughter was particularly early. 37 weeks had come and gone and I still refused to pack a hospital bag, print off my birth preferences or buy maternity pads. My baby was breech and I wasn’t even going to think about any of that until he or she flipped head down. When my waters broke right on 38 weeks, my husband and I dashed around the house, throwing random items into a bag before heading to the hospital. You can read about my daughter’s birth here and see it didn’t matter so much that we were disorganised. She came and I was able to surrender and it was the most magical experience. This time around, though, I knew I would do things differently. For a start, I wanted to take the time to nest and prepare for our little one’s arrival - for both the birth and the postnatal period. With my first pregnancy we made and froze meals, but I didn’t get into the headspace of preparing for the birth and sorting what I might want or need at the hospital. It’s been so lovely to get into that mindset these past few weeks. And while I know I cannot predict what will help me during labour, as every experience is different, I do have an idea as to the sort of things I may like to have on hand. I also know what I am likely to want and need after the birth. For those who are in a similar season to me, I have made a list of things I have packed to take to the hospital where I’ll be giving birth and staying for 2 or 3 nights.
LABOUR & BIRTH STUFF: essential oils (clary sage, lavender and peppermint), my diffuser, salt lamp, a face washer, yoga mat, camera, phone with music playlist, chargers (camera and phone), printed birth affirmations, Ben’s hands for massage purposes (can’t really say I’m packing those in my bag, but they’re perhaps the most important thing, so are top of the list).
SNACKS (for labour and the following days): Coconut water, bananas, date bars, chocolate, lolly pops, lollies, Mary’s crackers, almond butter, nursing tea and collagen powder to add to drinks.
CLOTHES FOR ME: a couple of months ago I bought a few items that are soft, pretty, comfortable and will hopefully make me feel good. I didn’t have much that made me feel this way last time and as unimportant as clothing is in the scheme of things, I imagine it’ll make a difference to how I feel after birth. I have three loose singlet tops, a pair of leggings, a pair of loose yoga pants, two jumpers, two cardigans, a nightie, a button-down long-sleeve top, nursing bras, lots of big undies and some socks. Last time I remember my jumpers got covered in various baby-related stuff (as did Joan’s clothes), so I want to make sure I have enough of everything. I also have a postnatal support top (like a compression top), which I think is this brand but I cannot see a tag. It’s hard to see what it’s about if you follow that link, as they’ve used a black top (not super helpful!), but it basically is like belly wrapping - supporting your belly and organs and all that jazz. I’m not a physio but I used it last time and found it great. Oh and during the birth, I plan on wearing comfy undies and a bra, but we’ll see.
UPDATE: I wore approximately 2% of what I brought. I WAY overpacked my clothes. It was very warm in the hospital and I didn’t need any jumpers or cardigans - just a pair of leggings, two tshirts, a bra and a million pair of undies.
CLOTHES FOR THE BABY: five singlets, five long-sleeved onesies, three leg-free onesies, two pairs of leggings, one teeny tiny cardigan, two pairs of booties, two beanies and a pair of mittens.
WRAPS: two swaddles, one a blanket (I want him or her to have a blanket that smells like home), and one wrap (like a baby carrier).
TOILETRIES: 2 packs of TOMS maternity pads, one pack of Naty liners, a sampler of a fancy fragrance-free shampoo & conditioner, dry shampoo, fragrance-free deodorant, toothbrush & paste, Dr Bronners liquid baby soap (for my body), cleanser and moisturiser (face and body), lip balm, brush, hair ties. I have also packed a Body Ice perineum strip, which I didn’t use last time but I expect it’ll be brilliant. My friend recently worked for the company and I think a reusable postnatal ice pack is such a great idea.
NAPPY STUFF: 1 pack of newborn Tooshies and 1 pack of newborn Natys (because who knows what will suit my bub’s booty best), bottom balm, talc-free powder, wipes and face washers.
That’s it! A decent amount but all stuff I expect we’ll use. Compared to last time, I feel spectacularly organised. Now, let’s just hope I go into labour at home and can take it all with me ;) We’re not taking birth preferences because, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t feel like something I want to sit down and write out. We both know what we’d ideally like to happen in different scenarios. There’s a few things we may need to communicate to staff, especially if midwife changes happen or our OB cannot be there, but we feel confident in being able to communicate them right at admission and with whomever we need along the way (things like not being checked, having low lighting and being able to move around, etc). Ben knows our preferences and he’ll be in charge of that. Last time it didn’t matter that we didn’t have them, we just went with it and it was all as good as we could have hoped for. One thing we will do, though, is asked to be assigned to a midwife who is familiar with Hypnobirthing when we let them know we’re coming in. UPDATE: I did write some preferences down. Just a handful of dot points. A lovely midwife I know from Instagram suggested birth preferences can be really helpful for them, and hearing that made me want to do it!