There are many questions that come to mind when you’re pregnant, especially with your first baby. Amongst all of this, at some point you’ll need to pack a bag for your stay in hospital. Although an everyday task, for pregnant women it can be quite overwhelming. So to help you out, North Shore Mum Heather Woods reveals her top 10 picks for all your big-day essentials:
1. Body moisturiser
You won’t likely be reaching for this before the birth, but afterwards, you’ll be thankful you packed it. Nasty hospital air-conditioning can wreak havoc on your skin and having a good moisturiser will help you feel just a little more human in those first few challenging days. Look for something creamy and pleasant-smelling that properly moisturises your skin.
2. Lip balm
For the same reason as above, your lips will thank you for having a decent lip balm on hand. You don’t need to be worrying about cracked or chapped lips while you’re focusing on being mum. We think that Antipodes Saviour Skin Balm is the best. Not only is it heaven to apply, it’s long lasting and can also be used on other dry areas of your body if you need it. It’s not oily or too thick to apply, it just glides on and keeps your lips moist.
3. Comfy pyjamas
You really have no need for your after-five outfits, regardless of who you think might be coming to visit, so use this opportunity to really spoil yourself and purchase one or two sets of really comfy pyjamas. You’ll need PJ’s that give ‘easy access’ to your boobs if you’re planning on breastfeeding. Keep in mind you may need compression stockings in hospital so don’t get any that are too snug around your ankles.
4. Maternity Undies
It’s no secret that after birth you will be bleeding for a number of days (or weeks!) as your uterus recovers, and you’ll be using maternity pads until the bleeding ends. If you’ve had a c-section you’ll also be sporting a scar with the appropriate medical dressings so you won’t want anything sitting directly on top of it. You definitely won’t have any need for your favourite pair of lacy knickers.
5. Sleep Bra
While you’re in hospital you won’t want to wear a heavy-duty maternity bra under your clothes or pyjamas. But you will likely want to wear something to keep control of your milk-filled breasts. They will be quite engorged, in the first few days especially, and until your body controls the milk it can be a little uncomfortable. A sleep bra can be the perfect solution. Just enough support while you take it easy and recover, and comfortable enough to sleep in as well. It’s also a great way of making those late night feeds as easy as possible.
6. White Noise
Babies can be pretty unsettled in their first few days after birth. They’ve been cocooned in a wonderful, sterile, warm environment since conception. Then they’re thrown into a world of bright lights, loud voices and draughty hallways. It’s no wonder they start screaming at you sometimes! One way to help is to use a white noise machine. If you choose to use the hospital nursery they will likely use white noise to soothe all the babies in their care, but if you choose to keep your baby with you in-room, a little gem like a GroHush machine or a white noise app you can download to your mobile or iPad might be the answer to getting some sleep in the first couple of days and for many months after!
In hospital you’re usually provided with the basics for bub, like nappies, singlets, and a hospital blanket. You’re also likely to be shown how to wrap your new baby by the midwives – and you’ll be shown a different way by each midwife, which can be highly confusing! A way to combat this is to go prepared with a swaddle. Swaddles are wonderful creations as they allow you to contain your babies’ arms so that, unlike blankets, they can’t wriggle free. They’ll stay nice and warm and be soothed at the same time. Some popular brands are the Love to Dream, Halo Sleepsack Swaddles or the Miracle Blanket wrap.
8. Something for your partner
A nice face or body wash for your other half will be just what they need to freshen up after hours being your support person and doing what they can to keep you comfortable and sane! They might not have thought of anything for themselves, but by having them in top shape will help you to no end and really leave no excuse for not being available!
9. Large water bottle
Hospital cups are small. The last thing you’ll feel like doing is constantly getting up and down for a refill, especially if you’ve had a c-section. Pack a decent sized water bottle and you can thank me later! It’ll also come in handy at home when you’re breastfeeding, as you can get quite dehydrated.
10. Baby clothes
If you’re anything like me you’ll want to start using all your recent purchases and gifts immediately. I’d suggest taking at least one or two outfits to bring your bub home in. It’s such a special moment and a lovely feeling to have cute clothes to welcome them into their new family and home.
For more of Heather’s parenting advice and stories, check out her blog.
And some more tips from North Shore Mums….
Rina: Biggest help for me were Right Aid gel pads for your boobs! Keep them in the fridge and then pop them on for instant relief!
Skye: Squeezy sauce bottle for hospital bag. Fill with warm water and squeeze onto sore bits while urinating. It prevents the burn and cleans everything, a very gentle dab to dry is all that’s needed
Gem: A little notebook to write down things the midwife tells you as you will forget everything they’ve said the second they’re out the door
Michelle: Bring a breastfeeding pillow so you can feed football style more easily
Claire: For me…dry shampoo so my hair looked decent when visitors came