What Should I Bring to the Hospital & Other Key Adviceby Sabrina Hackett-Saikul
What Should I Bring With Me to the Hospital? And Other Key Advice for Weeks Zero to Four.
Remembering all of the things you need to take with you to Hospital when you have your baby can feel a little overwhelming! So here are my tips and tricks AND my lists to help make that phase a bit more organised for you. Let’s take a weight off your mind and take a look.
Sabrina’s Top Tip Number One
Pack two bags, one is for you and one is for baby. The reason you should do this is so you don’t get things mixed up and you can go to whichever bag you need at the time. Also take a carrier bag with you in both bags to put any dirty washing inside so that you’re not mixing the two, babies will go through a couple of outfits a day.
You should consider washing the baby clothes and begin packing your bags from 32 weeks onwards, I say this because of experience with my son arriving early at 37 weeks, but I have had friends give birth even earlier and rush to get things done. Take your time from week 32 onwards and perhaps add one thing a day to each bag and tick it off your list, doing it that way you’re not stressing and I guarantee a list for both bags will definitely help.
A question I get quite often is about nappies. People generally don’t know how many to pack, and which size to get. I ended up having my son early so we had to use the Pampers Size 0 for small newborn or premature babies. We had bought Newborn Size 1 and they were too big. I went through between eight and ten nappies a day those first few days so it’s important to take a pack in your hospital bag and have some on standby either in the car and or at home too. On average a pack holds between 24 and 80 nappies and you could use half a pack in a day, so it’s best to stock up on them when you see a Supermarket offer or a baby week bargain.
Sabrina’s Top Tip Number Two
When you start organising clothing make sure to fold things together into piles and then use the arms of the vest to tie the bundle together. If you are having a summer baby where you won’t need quite as many layers this still applies however you can roll the clothes up together and stack the outfits down one end of the bag. Make sure you have a vest and then a top and or a baby grow, because newborn babies require one more layer than what you would be wearing in order to stay warm.
Something else to consider is how long you’ll be in hospital for, most people with a natural birth and no complications find they are back home within 48 hours. However if your baby is Jaundice or you’re struggling to latch with Breastfeeding, or you end up having a C-Section, you could find yourself in hospital for at least 3 to 5 days. So make sure that you’re taking more than you need.
Sabrina’s Top Tip Number Three
Muslin cloths are essential for newborn babies because it doesn’t matter how you decide to feed them, they will be sickly in those early days. Make sure that you buy a bulk load of cloths all in the same colour, why? Because they’re so much easier to just throw in the wash all together. Plus, you will need to keep them everywhere, side of the chair you’re sitting on, by your bed, next to the Moses Basket, in the changing bag, next to the nappy change area – you get the idea! Not just great for sickie mess but also for little boys who may want to pee straight up when you take that nappy off!
Mummy you’re going to need a wide range of things, because in hospital with air conditioning you may find your lips get dry so bring your lip salve, you will need a moisturiser for your face perhaps due to becoming dehydrated, and don’t forget your favourite snack as a treat, you’ll need the energy after whatever birth you have. You obviously need your toiletry essentials like toothbrush and sanitary maternity pads, but you may also consider things like a spray to spray your pads with like a witch hazel to help heal swelling and bruising down below! It’s a good idea to do your research.
Sabrina’s Top Tip Number Four
Most women who have a natural birth find that they recover quicker, but no matter how you give birth one way to help you feel better is by starting a vitamin supplement which has all the vitamins and minerals your body requires after you have exerted yourself so much during the birth. Remember to eat healthily with lots of protein in your diet, and fruit and veg, as well as cereals high in fibre to help you go to the toilet – because nobody will want to be straining down there again for a while! I recommend a high fibre breakfast cereal with some fruit to start your day once you get home, plus it’s so fast to prepare too.
Some babies can be born with allergies and skin conditions, but babies in general are very susceptible to germs and allergic reactions, so you must take care to avoid things like strong deodorants and definitely don’t wear any perfume for the first few months with your little one. Don’t put anything in your hospital bag that may cause a reaction on your newborn, you will be doing a lot of skin to skin to bond with them so what you choose to put on your skin (or not put on it) is important.
On a more serious note now, please make sure not to kiss your baby on the mouth, and make sure that visitors to hospital or to your home don’t kiss the baby at all. There are many risks to newborn babies from viruses like the Herpes (Cold Sore Virus) which is most transmissible to them during their first four weeks of life. It is very serious with NHS advice suggesting one in three babies who contract the virus will die from it, so make sure to take every care and precaution.
Sabrina’s Top Tip Number Five
No matter how you decide to feed your baby, make sure you’re comfortable before you’re sent home. Midwives and Nurses on the Ward can help you with latch and positions with Breastfeeding, and they can also help with bottle feeding should you choose that. Remember that your milk supply won’t come in immediately, you have something called Colostrum or Liquid Gold for the first few days which is higher concentrated milk which contains millions of good bacteria and antibodies for your newborn, it is the best thing to give them and gives them the best start in life. Don’t go home from the Hospital unless you have the support that you need. You will need to pack some things in your bag like ready made to drink formula bottles if you are to bottle feed, and if you want to breastfeed I would suggest some vests that are easy to wear and stretchy so you can expose your chest for good skin to skin and feeding.
No matter what labour you have you might find some items useful and these are some I took with me. Two clean flannels to be used to dampen and wipe my face during labour and to wipe my groin after birth. I placed both flannels in sandwich bags, sealed so that they were clean and stuck a sticker to each one dictating that one was for my FACE and the other was for BODY. I really needed the face flannel when I gave birth, there was a heatwave and the hospital was roasting, I was sweating buckets! Flannel is definitely on my list of top ten items to take! I used the body one the day after birth in order to have a wash at the bathroom sink on the ward.
Sabrina’s Top Tip Number Six
You need to keep your strength up after having your baby, and if you are in hospital for a couple of days you might want some home comforts, but these are my top 3.
1. Slippers! Buy a cheap pair to keep your feet cosy and clean while you move around the ward. 2. Favourite Snacks – because despite that post birth toast or sandwich tasting OUT OF THIS WORLD you will soon want a piece of your favourite cake or a flapjack or a cookie. So take some easy to eat items in a bag in your hospital bag for snack times. 3. Portable USB Charged Handheld Fan – this was a Game Changer for me! Back in the summer of 2018 when I was in labour in a heatwave this Fan really helped me cool down even be it briefly. Highly recommend it!
What about little ones bag? Anything I was surprised at needing? Well if your baby is born with hair then you’re definitely going to need a BABY COMB! Yes, it was something I hadn’t thought of until closer to the time when a friend commented on the fact that little one may have lots of hair. It was essential for clearing the gunk out of his hair.
Now that I have given you my top tips and advice I will now outline both lists so that you can save them and help them to pack your own hospital bag. You can either save the image above with my premade lists on it for you to tick off as you go, or you can read the list below and write down on some paper which ones are relevant to you.
MOTHER'S HOSPITAL BAG
HOSPITAL FOLDER & NOTES
BIRTH PLAN & WISHES
MATERNITY PADS & Large Comfortable Underwear
FACE WIPES & Moisturiser
FLANNELS - One FACE One BODY - Separate Bags
TOOTHBRUSH & PASTE
LIP SALVE OR BALM & Compact Mirror (Useful)
CLOTHES - Several Outfits Comfortable & Practical
HAIRBRUSH & Bands
TOILETRIES - Unique to you & in their own bag
PLASTIC BAG - to house dirty clothing
SLIPPERS - Old or Cheap
Mobile Phone Charger OR Long USB Charging Cable
FOOD & DRINKS - Favourite Snacks, Isotonic Drinks like Lucozade
HAND SANITISER - Essential right now
HANDHELD FAN - Useful as most Hospitals are Hot
HEALING AIDS - Witch Hazel in a small spray bottle
NEWBORN HOSPITAL BAG
NAPPIES - Newborn or Tiny Baby 1 Whole Pack & Spares Close By
BABY WIPES - 2 Packs – newborn friendly
COTTON WOOL BALLS - in their own bag
BABY FIRST SOFT TOY - for Pictures DO NOT LEAVE IN COT
COMING HOME OUTFIT - Something for the ride home
BABY OUTFITS - Fold them together one outfit per little bundle
BABY HAT, MITTENS and SOCKS
BABY CHANGE MAT - you will need this for a changing bag after
MUSLIN CLOTHS - Pack a Few!
BABY HAIR BRUSH AND COMB
CAR SEAT - Ready for the Journey Home
PLASTIC BAG - to house dirty clothing
And that is it! Those are the items that I recommend from my personal parenting experience. Best of luck with your new arrivals!