Going into the hospital to have my baby was the most terrifying experience. I had no idea what to expect, and because I had never stayed over in a hospital before, and I was even more uncertain about what lay in store.
I remember packing my hospital bag in the first trimester. My hubby thought I was crazy, but the OCD in me just couldn’t comprehend not being absolutely ready for when the big day came. And then the big day did come, and I realised that 90 per cent of what I had packed was completely irrelevant. So, if you’re about to have a baby, to save you the stress, I’ve put together a list of essential vs non-essential items to pack in your baby bag.
Essentials for mom:
- Comfortable, loose clothes. You will still (unfortunately) look eight months pregnant and everything feels swollen, heavy and bruised. Pack loose pyjamas, leggings, slippers and a gown. Maternity wards are generally overheated so keep this in mind when packing your clothes.
- Lip ice. All that kissing of your newborn bundle, and all the kisses from over enthusiastic aunties will mean your lips dry out faster than your bank account, post-birth.
- Snacks such as sweets, biscuits, juice and water. Hospital food is less than thrilling and the munchies tend to hit at 03:00 when the nurse is taking your blood pressure for the 18th time that day. Breastfeeding ladies also work up a huge appetite so snacks are essential! If coffee is your thing then make sure you have a regular morning visitor who can bring you something more palatable than what the hospital offers.
- iPad, camera, cellphone and chargers. You will become very trigger happy in those first few days! Remember to pack a padlock for your valuables as well.
- Nipple cream, disposable panties and breast pads.
- Ziploc bags. These can be used to store dirty or soiled clothes, outfits for baby or toiletries.
Essentials for baby:
Most hospitals tend to provide everything you need for your baby in the form of nappies, lotions, medicine and cream.* Check with your hospital beforehand, and if they do provide the above, then don’t waste your time bringing your own. Rather, pack:
- Clothes and a beanie.
- Swaddle blankets (if you’d prefer to use your own).
- Dummies and bottles.
- If you’re breastfeeding then nipple caps and your pump in case you need to express.
- Infant car seat – without it you won’t be allowed to take your baby home.
My time in the maternity ward was one of the highlights of having a baby. Those four days, surrounded by staff, family, friends and my newborn were absolutely wonderful. Use that time to relax and embrace your new role of motherhood as much as possible!
*Please note that I have based this list on what an average private Hospital provides, and not a Government one.
By Kate Kearney