I won’t lie, I was a bit (read: massively) overwhelmed about what I actually needed to pack in my hospital when I went in to have my baby.
Firstly because there’s approximately 73567 lists on the internet – half of them written by brands, which made me unsure about whether I actually needed everything, or whether they were just trying to make me spend £££ – and secondly because I made the ~hiccup~ of asking Instagram for some tips and sweet diggity, who knew there were so many opinions out there?
So here I am, being a massive weasel and adding lol, another opinion to the mix.
It’s key here for me to say that I was induced, so had extra time to prepare exactly what I was taking with me. But because of said induction (and the eventual c-section) I was in hospital for four days, whereas many mums are in and out in the same day. So yeah, needed quite a lot.
I also tried to keep baggage to a minimum (what do you mean I need FOUR hospital bags? One for me, one for the baby, one for the baby daddy and one for snacks? THIS ISN’T A FORTNIGHT IN THE MALDIVES FFS), but, turns out, I did in fact, need quite a lot.
So here’s a mixture of some of the stuff I did pack and was v grateful for, and some of the stuff I wish I’d taken with me.
REALLY DECADENT SHOWER GEL. I had a shit ton of Clinique miniatures from one of those buy two products and get a freebie bag thingies at Debenhams, but did I touch them? Did I fuck. The one toiletry I really craved – and somehow managed to forget to pack alongside the fancy face sprays and 432675 lip balms – was a shower gel.
It’s safe to say that rubbing Aussie shampoo into my bits mere hours after labour wasn’t quite as refreshing and euphoric.
I wish I’d packed a sexy shower gel for that first post-baby wash. I mean, I say decadent, but to be fair an Original Source £1 jobby from Tesco would have really hit the spot.
PERFUME. I read somewhere that some new babies get really offended by strong perfume smells when they’ve just entered the world – but nonetheless it was one of those things I didn’t pack because LOL WHO NEEDS PERFUME IN A HOSPITAL?!
Me. Me, apparently. It was one of those things – like with the shower gel – that I’d have liked to just to help me feel a bit more, ahem, fresh. And clean. And together. And human. And like Hannah Gale.
FACE WASH. I HAD FANCY EXPENSIVE FACE WIPES! Used one. Mostly because I knew I was being induced when I sauntered onto the labour ward and therefore didn’t wear make-up and therefore didn’t have an actual need for said wipes.
Would have been nice to have been able to properly scrub the 36-hour labour sweat from my face creases though. So yeah, pack a nice little face wash.
COUPLE OF NIGHTIES. I picked up two nighties from Primark a few weeks before my due date. Both black to hide leakages from various body parts and both a few sizes too big so that they were A+ comfy.
I wore one during labour (until I had to change into a hospital gown when I had my epidural) and changed into the other (which was like a shirt with buttons) after birth so that I had something fresh to wear post shower, which was also practical for breastfeeding. One of my better moves.
SLOUCHY OVERSIZED CARDIGAN. Most people say to pack a dressing gown but have you ever tried to pack a dressing gown? It’s like oh right ok now all I have room for is a toothbrush. Dandy.
To save space, I just wore a slouchy long-ish cardigan into the hospital and then continued to wear that whenever I was chilly/needed some comfort, over both my hospital nightie and my ‘day clothes’ (leggings and a vest top).
So yeah, mult-functional.
ADULT NAPPIES AND MATERNITY PADS. Everyone raved on about adult nappies after I’d already spent a small fortune on maternity pads (because y’know, you bleed for approx six weeks post-birth), and so I went back to the supermarket and stocked up on some of Tena Lady’s finest.
I packed a few of each in my hospital bag and was glad of the choice. The adult nappy worked a treat once my waters had broken (because turns out that once they break, the gross stuff just keeps on flowing), but the maternity pads were better for after the birth because of my emergency c-section. It’s probably because my bum is the size of Bognor Regis, but I found the adult nappies a snug fit which meant they rubbed uncomfortably on my wound. So yeah, worth having both IMO.
LOTS OF GOOD SNACKS. Again – another thing which divided Instagram. A lot of people thought I was wild to discuss eating during labour, but fuck me, those Rowntree’s Randoms kept me going when I was crying and squealing about how I couldn’t do it.
I would say if you know you’re being induced, there’s no harm hopping over to M&S beforehand for some strong snacks and maybe a sarnie or two, just to give you a break from hospital meals. I’d also say a bag of jelly sweets might be handy if your labour goes on a while and you need some quick energy (and if you don’t, well, you can always eat them afterwards).
And then, yeah, snacks for afterwards. Nothing has ever tasted as good as the chocolate mini rolls I ate a couple of hours after I was wheeled out of theatre. Oh sweet lord.
LUCOZADE SPORT DRINKS. We took in a pack of four of these (big up to the raspberry flavour) after my midwife recommended them and Chris was actually sent out for more by another midwife during labour.
You want the Sport variety and not the fizzy ones because yeah, they’re good for energy and they’re hydrating and they don’t taste too shabby either.
LAVENDER OIL. I took an oil diffuser and a couple of different essential oils with me to help practice my hypnobirthing techniques whilst in hospital. And, whilst I didn’t get round to setting it up, I did take up one suggestion from my hypnobirthing book in the moments after I was told I’d needed a C-section. And that was to get Chris to put some of my lavender oil on a tissue for me to sniff as I went into theatre.
It gave me a much needed distraction from all the medical staff, medical chat and medical equipment going on around me and helped me feel calm during what could have been a v overwhelming situation.
And hey, even if you don’t need the additional calming during labour – it’d be great to help you relax/sleep on the postnatal ward afterwards.
FLUFFY SOCKS. Whilst the labour wards are typically ten times hotter than the surface of the sun, I did rather enjoy making my boyfriend put my fluffy socks on whilst I was epidural-ed out and couldn’t move my legs.
When I get over-tired I get really cold, so I was v glad for a brand-new pair of cosy socks stashed at the bottom of my hospital bag.
LIST OF PEOPLE TO TEXT. Worth just saving this on your phone a few weeks before your due date because after Atti was born and we’d had a couple of hours to take in the fact that OH MY GOD WE HAVE A HUMAN, I didn’t actually know where to begin with telling people.
I wish I’d made a list. We obviously told our parents first and then I just kind of awkwardly scrolled through my latest Whatsapp conversations looking for people to tell.
Would have been nice to have a bit of a plan.
Other things worth a mention: hairbrush, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste. Oh and hairbands and headbands – didn’t touch my dry shampoo, just kept scraping everything off my face instead. And maybe a spare pair of maternity leggings and t-shirts just in-case you get kept in a little longer than you hoped. And a phone charger. And yeah ok that’s it.