“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr
If you’re new to my blog, welcome. And if not, then welcome back!
How are you? How’s life treating you?
Me, I’m doing great! As a first-time mum attempting to blog my journey, this post was a must to write. Am I really a mum blogger if I don’t have one of these posts? Okay that’s just an excuse, I’ve always wanted to write one of these posts and I’m so glad I have a legit reason and experience to do so.
This is baby number 1 and I can’t tell you how many videos, websites and apps I looked at to ensure I had the hospital bag essentials I needed for my labour and delivery. Any advice people gave me I made a note of because I wanted to be as ready as possible. My pregnancy was unplanned and filled with a lot of emotional ups and down and I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that my labour and delivery was a lot more smoother and that I was as prepared as possible.
But, can one ever be fully prepared for the delivery of their first baby? My answer is no. Despite having 2 extra weeks to pack because I was overdue, I still didn’t pack everything I needed. Nonetheless I feel like the experience helped me prepare for the next time I give birth and I wanted to share it.
The first thing I want to mention is the actual hospital bag. I decided to take a small hand luggage suitcase with me as it had just the right amount of space and it was easy to transport. I toyed with the idea of getting a fancy hospital bag like all the other trendy mums I’d seen but I realised it would have been a waste of my money since I already had bags available. Plus being fancy would have been the last thing on my mind on that day. I needed something practical, spacious and available so a hand luggage suitcase was the best thing to use. In the side pockets of my hospital bag I had my hospital notes, camera and charger as well as lip balm, phone, charger, earphones, keys and pocket tissue.
The second thing I did was put my stuff and the baby’s stuff in separate storage bags inside the suitcase. This made it easy for me and my family to find things without completely destroying my nicely organised bag. I used the clear storage bags that come with some of the babies clothes as they were the perfect size and I had loads. I love repurposing things!
So what did I take with me?
I’ll start with the most important persons things – the baby. I waited until after my baby shower to pack the hospital bag for the baby as I didn’t want to spend money on items that people might get for me anyway. I had so many questions when I was packing the baby’s bag. How big would he be? How often in a day would he be changed? Where the wipes “pure” enough? Did I have enough blankets? Who knew packing for a baby could be so complicated! I packed then unpacked then repacked and replaced until I felt it was just right and that I had everything I needed.
The cotton wool and water was important for cleaning the baby (which the hospital provided) since the midwives didn’t deem the water wipes as “pure enough” for newborn skin despite every blog post and video telling me they were. As for the bottles and formula, I struggled to breastfeed the baby so out of frustration I asked if he could be given formula whilst I tried to get the hang of breastfeeding. Luckily the hospital was able to provide them for me but it was definitely disappointing that I didn’t get the hang of breastfeeding straight away.
Aside from the cotton wool, formula and bottles, the baby I packed exactly what I needed. Not bad for a first-timer, huh?
Now onto the hospital bag for mum – that’s me!
I spent so much time and had so much fun packing the hospital bag for the baby that I left my bag till the very end. 2 weeks before I was due I was still shopping for clothes to pack for myself. Shameful, I know. I didn’t think I needed a lot because I didn’t expect to stay in hospital that long and surprisingly enough I actually didn’t need a lot. Despite having an expected emergency c-section I packed just the right amount of things that I needed.
The hospital was able to provide me with disposable underwear, maternity pads and towels which I used in addition to the ones I brought. They also supplied me with a hospital gown which I wore instead of the night dresses I brought. It wasn’t the most flattering attire but with all the blood coming out of me and the pain I felt from even the slightest movement, looking flattering was the least of my concerns. Their gown was functional and I didn’t care if it got dirty. There was no need for socks since I was in compression socks after giving birth and the hospital was pretty warm anyway.
My labour and delivery wasn’t as glamorous as I’d hoped so even though I brought make-up I didn’t end up using it and most of the snacks I brought were consumed by family members as I didn’t have much of an appetite.
And that was it.
I’ve never felt more organised in my life than I did packing my hospital bag. Every time I looked at it I felt so proud. And I damn sure was!
Despite missing one or two things here and there I think I did pretty well for a first timer and I didn’t have to send anyone home to get anything for me – aside from proper food.
As proud as I am of my list I can’t say it’s the ultimate list because giving birth can be quite unpredictable. Every experience is different and therefore the needs might also be different too. What I would do differently next time is probably call the hospital to see what items they can provide for me should I need them as well as what they would recommend I bring. I didn’t think to do this as I never knew it was an option – no one told me I could do that. It would have probably saved me a lot of time, money and space in the hospital bag.
The distance from your home to your hospital plus the type of birth you are having will greatly affect what you will need to pack but as long as you have someone who can pop home and get you a few extra things, you don’t need to pack your entire bedroom.
As a first-time mum I hope my experience and list will help you feel a bit more prepared and at ease for your hospital bag needs. There are plenty of blogs, videos and apps out there if you need more ideas. Here are a few that I found really useful.
Did you pack everything you needed in your hospital bag? Let me know in the comments below.
Till next time.