As you descend into your third trimester and the urge to ‘nest’ firmly kicks in, one of the key essentials is to begin packing your hospital bag. Everyone has an opinion of what should go into this coveted piece of luggage (my husband thought Digestive biscuits was an essential – apparently he needed ‘sustenance’ to get through his fair share of hard work!) However, after having a C-section with my son, I know that hospital stays post-delivery – especially after a C-section – can be a little rough.
My advice to new mamas is to pack a few favourites from home to make your time there a little cosier and to help you feel as though you were back in the comforts of your own house. I thought I would share my key items that you might want to include alongside the more practical things you will be packing.
Most mamas will stay in the hospital for at least one night after a natural delivery and up to four after a C-section. A little extra care and comfort can go a long way in these first few days of motherhood as you learn to look after your new baby.
Most hospital lists focus a lot on the baby and all the essentials that you need. I have reserved this list just for the mamas because it’s so important to feel good yourself first so you are able to look after your little bundle of love.
1) Pillow – there’s something about sleeping on your own pillows from home. I brought two huge pillows from The White Company for my delivery. Not only did they make the bed much more comfortable but they smelt of vanilla; just like my bedroom
2) A Cashmere Blanket – these lightweight throws are a little luxury perfect for snuggling into, keeping warm or using as a light cover when breastfeeding.
3) Slippers & Flip Flops – it might sound indulgent but I took two pairs of shoes just for the ward alone; cosy slippers for walking around in and a trusty pair of rubber flip flops to keep me comfy in the shower.
4) Tea – it’s really important to stay hydrated when breastfeeding so it’s nice to have some herbal teas of your choice to hand. Fennel is great for milk production and camomile helped to soothe the nerves in the early days.
5) Playlist and headphones – there’s nothing like some soft jazz music to help relax or perhaps you prefer some pop to keep you upbeat. Whatever your taste in music, have a playlist at the ready so you can plug in and relax.
6) Toiletries – pack miniatures of all your favourite toiletries to pamper yourself and help you feel like yourself. Don’t forget a lip balm and some thick moisturising cream as hospitals can get really hot and dry out your skin.
7) Nightlight – Sounds peculiar but packing a soft nightlight will provide a cosy glow to help you to breast or bottle feed through the night without fully waking the baby up with abrasive bright hospital lights.
8) PJs or Track pants – Buy some soft, loose loungewear that feels luxurious but is really comfortable. Whether you have delivered naturally or had a C-section you may be feeling a bit tender so fluffy pyjamas or soft tracksuit bottoms will be perfect.
9) Dry Shampoo or Volumising Spray – You may not be up to washing your hair for a few days and so these products will be your lifesaver as you take millions of photos with your precious new baby.
10) Scented candle – although the hospital will not allow you to light the candle, with most good quality brands you can still smell the fragrance even when it is not lit. Burn the candle in your favourite space in the house in the run up to your delivery so you have a positive association with the scent for when you are in hospital.
As a little treat, I bought myself a beautiful leather holdall in advance of going to the hospital. I used this for my essentials and then brought a stroller with all the basics for the baby. I am a bit of a neat freak so I compartmentalised everything inside using zip lock bags and labelled them all up with 'Baby Clothes', 'Baby Blankets', 'Vests', etc so that it was easy for my husband to find things in there after labour when it wasn't so easy for me to get up and move around.
I’d love to know all of your tips and favourites for the mama hospital bag! Let me know if I have missed any of your can’t-live-without products for your hospital staycation.