Hospital bag checklist: xx must-have items
A guide to all the crap I'm packing as I prepare for baby number two.
Like most things I attempted as a first-time mum, I got my hospital bag checklist very wrong. How can you get it wrong, you ask? Well, for anyone who isn't a moron, you probably can't. But as much as I was excited to pack for my new arrival, I really just ended up confused and then packing a whole load of crap I didn't need and little of what I actually did.
For a start, instead of waiting until I had everything I thought I needed, I would just throw shit in my hospital bag as and when it arrived and then quickly lost track. Secondly, I'm tight and so didn't want to fork out for 'special' hospital clothes, you know, nightdresses and Bridget Jones-style pants etc, which meant I was using a lot of the stuff I needed to pack right up until Rex was born, so then they were either dirty or I forgot them. Finally, I had no idea what size clothes or how many outfits Rex would need so I just threw in three 0-3 month baby grows and off I went.
While I'm sure most of you are way more organised, not idiots and happy to shell out a couple of quid on an extra pair of knickers, I thought I would share what I'm taking this time around. Based on the fact that I have some experience with what I might need now, here's hoping this list works out a little better. If you're packing your hospital bag for the first time, hopefully some of my failings (and learnings) will stand you in good stead as well. And don't miss my pick of the best changing bags currently around (and how bad I was at packing that too!).
Hospital bag checklist: For Mum
Pregnancy notes and birthing plan – One of the first things a midwife is going to want to see, besides mum, is pregnancy notes and a birthing plan, should the latter exist. Don't be surprised if a midwife sends your partner home to get these if you forget, your notes hold vital information on the whole of your pregnancy that healthcare professionals will need to ensure the safest possible birth for mum and baby.
Face masks – So this is something I definitely did not have to pack with Rex, but now have a collection of waiting to be packed. With covid-19 still fucking with so much of our every day lives, face masks will no doubt be a must in hospital when this little lady arrives.
Snacks – Labour is different for everyone. When I was in it, food was really the last thing on my mind, but as soon as Rex arrived, I reckon I could have eaten the entire contents of the hospital canteen. I was ravenous. While hospital toast and jam will never be beaten and is in strong supply, you're golden. However, it's a good idea to have some snacks with you too. I took banana soreen and yoghurt covered raisins last time, which was pitiful when I think about it now. If you're going to treat yourself to some luxury snacks, there's never a more deserving time than after having ejected another human from your body. So this time round I'm going all out. So far my snack list includes Monster Munch, red apples (cannot get enough of them right now), dark chocolate with orange and/or mint and chocolate covered raisins.
Hairbands: An item that I overlooked but an absolute must-have. In my rush to get to hospital, I forgot a hairband and had to send Eamo on a hunt for one. Nothing worse than hair in your face or making the back of your neck hot mid-labour.
Lipbalm: Another often overlooked item, be sure to pack your favourite lipbalm. Hospital air is generally dry as a badger's ass, so keep hydrated and a good layer of lipbalm to help stay comfortable.
Dressing gown: As much as the thought of moving about while a tiny human attempts to exit your body might not fill you with joy, moving can sometimes help labour progress, so you may well find yourself pacing hospital hallway in an attempt to get things moving. Maternity departments are generally quite warm places, so it might be best to opt for a lightweight design. Oh, and probably not best to choose a white one either – darker colours will be much better at disguising any stains.
Slippers: Again, if you're going to be moving about, you're going to want something on your feet. Backless slippers, with a good grip, are a good option as they are super easy to get on and off and reduce the risk of slips on often recently mopped hospital floors. Flip flops are also another good option.
Music: A good playlist is a great way to stay relaxed and calm during labour. Or maybe even a podcast or positive affirmations?
Hospital bag checklist: For Baby