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Hospital Bags – A Review…

Just over a week ago i posted some lists of the things that were going into our hospital bags.

At the time I thought they were pretty comprehensive, but when it came to packing them I realised that I’d left out a few things, and not been entirely specific about others…

Firstly, the things I forgot…

1) Going home clothes…which are sort of important if you want to go home in something other than your nightdress…

I was kind of reticent to pack any clothes until labour began because there’s not a lot I feel comfortable in anymore and I was worried I’d miss part of my rapidly shrinking wardrobe. In the end I chose to put in a pair of yoga pants that start sliding down my bump after just a few steps, leaving the bottom of it exposed. They’re wonderfully comfy but they drive me mad so I didn’t feel too bad sacrificing them to the bag. I have a black nursing top from Mothercare to wear with them that I got it in a super-big size. I’m hoping it’ll fit over my belly just a few days after birth…

I also added a pair of leggings, a big t-shirt and some loose, stretchy pyjama bottoms, just in case I don’t want to sit around in a nightie all day.

2) Extra sleep bras…because I’m paranoid that I’ll leak and that two won’t be enough. I don’t want to sleep in colostrum stained bras….

3) Umbilical Cord Tie (by Heartstrings)…

cordtie

These cute ties are made with embroidery thread and are used instead of the conventional plastic clamps to tie off the umbilical cord. They’re kinder to a newborn’s skin, less ‘clunky’ and often encourage the stump to dry out and fall off more quickly than a clamp.

I chose a bee because I love them (and one of my nicknames is LouBee) and was very amused to see the post stamp on the envelope when it arrived.

I’ll write more about the cord tie (how the midwives react to it and how well it works) after the birth.

4) A cheap plastic massager…

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I found some tips for things to put in your hospital bag online and one woman suggested one of these because her husband wasn’t the best at massage. Luke tries his best but I invariably yell at him that he’s not doing it right, so I thought that it’d be a good idea to add one of these into my bag. I will definitely want him to rub my back during labour, and I don’t want to be doing any yelling.

5) Natal Hypnotherapy “props”… 

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These include a data sheet for the midwives, a sign to put on the door of the delivery room (top photo) and a reminder card for me, Luke and the Midwives (bottom photo) that folds up and slots together. I’ve put these into the folder with my maternity notes and birth plan and stuck the “I’m preparing for birth with Natal Hypnotherapy” sticker onto my notes.

6) Headphones…for if I have to stay in hospital.

Next…the things I’ve adjusted…

1) My robe…I don’t have a suitable robe and couldn’t find one when I went shopping, so I got one of these nightshirts from Primark instead…

Hogwarts Nightshirt

…it’s fab, but has gold threads running through it that are quite scratchy, so it works much better as a robe than a nightshirt (no one needs gold threads scratching at their nipples…)

I’ve also banished it from my labour bag and relegated it to the ‘staying in hospital’ bag. My reason for this is that if I don’t stay in hospital then I’ll pass it (unworn) onto someone who will actually appreciate it. As it is it’s a size 18-20 so will swamp me when I lose my bump…plus I really can’t stand those scratchy gold threads…

2) My socks…I’m only taking one pair of bed socks and one pair of socks because I prefer my feet to be cold and I have a small knitted pair of slippers (Primark cheapies) that will work just as well to keep my feet warm.

3) My iPod…it works fine when it’s in a dock, but refuses to work when it’s not (battery issues). Hopefully it’ll be fine for labour (because it’ll be in a dock) but I can’t rely on it so I’m taking in a bunch of CDs that I’ve made too. I had also planned to put audio books on there so that I could listen to them if I had to stay in hospital, but that’s not going to work now. Instead I’ve had to clear a whole load of apps off my phone so that I can put the books on there instead. I did consider buying a new iPod (well, a new-to-me second-hand one), but I barely use the one I have so I just couldn’t justify spending £30-40 on getting another.

4) Sanitary pads…I’m not quite sure what I was thinking when I put 10 on my list. I’m actually taking TWENTY-FOUR.

5) Nipple cream…this has gone in my labour bag because that’s where my toiletry bag is and I didn’t want it loose (and possibly leaking) in my hospital bag.

6) Notepads…we don’t need one each and can totally share one between us, I was being a ridiculous notepad addict there…

Finally…the things I didn’t really specify…

1) My labour outfit…to start with, I’m not worrying too much about changing outfits and have stuck with one actual item of clothing – a longline XL men’s t-shirt from Primark…

picture from Primark website

…it’s quite soft and comfortable so I’ve put it in the bag as it is at the moment, but I may still shorten the arms and hack the neck off a bit. I guess I could have just used a nightie but I find that I feel quite dowdy in those. Silly. but true. This way I think I’ll fool myself into thinking that I’m wearing a dress and feel more like myself. I haven’t washed it before packing it as I was worried it’d shrink and I’d end up walking around flashing my pants/bum.

I’ve also added in a bikini top in case the sleep bra is a bit too restrictive when it’s wet (I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me in the first place to be honest…pool…bikini…you’d think it’d be a no-brainer…)

2) Baby clothes…I had no idea what to take or how much to take and ARGH…it was all getting too much having to think about if he’d be too tall for newborn sized stuff. And then I realised that even if I’m stuck in hospital, mom and Luke won’t be. Once it dawned on me that they could bring me things from home it got much easier. I’ve gone with:

  • 2 x vests in each size (newborn and 0-3 months)
  • 2 x onesies in each size (as above)
  • a cardigan
  • 1 x hat
  • 2 x scratch mitts
  • 2 x muslin cloth
  • 2 x dribble bibs

Also, I have put my “staying in hospital” clothes into one cotton shopping bag, and the baby’s clothes into another. This works well because it keeps them all together, keeps his clothes clean, and means that I don’t have to do too much rummaging to find things in there. I think the hospital cots have little cupboards underneath them so having everything separated out will make it so much easier to transfer it to the cupboard.

So there you have it….I’m all packed!

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…and for those of you who want to see the reviewed and revised list…

Labour bag

For me:

  • Birthplan
  • Maternity notes (I carry these in my handbag all the time anyway)
  • Natal Hypnotherapy data sheet, reminder and door notice (plus blu-tac)
  • Umbilical cord tie
  • Lipbalm
  • Massage oil
  • Massager
  • Hot water bottle
  • Water spray bottle
  • Tissues/wipes
  • Hair bobbles
  • Brush
  • A couple of sanitary pads
  • 2 sleep bras (because one might get wet if I use it in the pool)
  • 1 pair of pants
  • Longline baggy t-shirt to wear while giving birth
  • Bikini top for in the pool
  • Slippers
  • A towel (this isn’t actually in the bag as it’d fill the whole thing – I’ll carry it separately in a cotton shopping bag. To be honest, I’m considering asking the hospital if it’s necessary to bring one as I know our local hospital tell you not to bother)
  • Paper/notepad and pen
  • iPod
  • CDs
  • Phone
  • TENS machine
  • Toiletry bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner…all travel sized…and mascara to make myself feel slightly human if I feel like I need it after the birth, and nipple cream)
  • My swiss ball (deflated!)
  • A pillow (to get comfy and because it’ll be a bit of home)

Baby things:

  • 2 nappies and sacks
  • Nappy cream
  • Some cotton wool balls
  • Newborn sized vest
  • Newborn sized onesie
  • 0-3 month sized vest
  • 0-3 month sized onesie
  • Going home outfit (just in case we get to leave after a few hours)
  • Scratch mitts
  • Muslin square
  • Nail scissors
  • Cuddly toy

Luke’s stuff:

  • Money (including change for vending machines)
  • Hypnobirthing “Gatekeeper” card (it has reminders for affirmations etc)
  • Phone
  • Phone numbers on paper
  • Change of clothes – we’ve whittled this down to one fresh t-shirt, 1 pair of boxers and his swimming shorts (so he can get in the pool with me) but he seems to think he won’t need any of them…
  • Deodorant

(believe it or not, all of this fits in the smaller of the two bags pictured above (apart from the towel)…I’m shocked and amazed. I guess having travel-sized toiletries really helps…)

Hospital Stay Bag

For me:

  • Cotton shopping bag (which my clothes are in)
  • 2 nursing nighties
  • Hogwarts nightshirt (“robe”)
  • A nursing bra
  • 2 x nursing sleep bras
  • 1 pair bed socks
  • 1 pair normal socks
  • 5 pairs of pants
  • Breast pads (about 10 pairs)
  • 22 sanitary pads
  • Phone charger
  • Headphones
  • Money
  • A plastic bag (for dirty laundry)
  • Books and magazines
  • Audio books on phone

For the baby:

  • Cotton shopping bag (which his clothes are in)
  • 15 nappies and sacks
  • Cotton wool balls
  • A hat
  • 4 x vests (2 x newborn, 2 x 0-3 months)
  • 4 x onesies (2 x newborn, 2 x 0-3 months)
  • 2 x scratch mitts
  • 2 x muslin cloth
  • 2 x dribble bibs
  • A cardigan
 
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Parenting, Pregnancy

 

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Chat

Hospital Bag(s)…

If you look around on the Internet there are countless lists of what you should pack in your hospital bag. The hospital I’m going to don’t have a lot of space in their rooms, and so ask that you pack two bags – one for labour and one with the extra things you’ll need if they have to keep you in after the birth. I think quite a few hospitals ask this but most of the lists I found online were for one big bag. They were also all quite different…some were lengthy, some were concise, some were basic but offered suggestions for “extras” to make you feel more at home in the hospital or birth centre.

Something that they all had in common was the advice that you have your bag packed and ready by week 36…

I’m now 37 weeks pregnant and, even though I started planning my bag about weeks ago, I still have no bag packed. Worse than that, I don’t actually have everything that I need for it. I HAVE written my lists though…

I think I fell into the trap of feeling far too organised, far too early. I thought that I had LOADS of time to get it all and get the bag packed. I thought wrong.

Anyway, here are my lists for the things that I think I will need in my labour bag (including a few things for the baby that we’ll need straight away) and some things that Luke will need…

Labour bag for me:

  • Birthplan
  • Maternity notes (I carry these in my handbag all the time anyway)
  • Lipbalm
  • Massage oil
  • Hot water bottle
  • Water spray bottle
  • Tissues/wipes
  • Hair bobbles
  • Brush
  • A couple of sanitary pads
  • 2 sleep bras (because one might get wet if I can use a pool)
  • Pants
  • Labour “outfits” (I haven’t put a lot of thought into this, but maybe a HUGE loose t-shirt, a nightie…I’m hoping for a water birth so the sleep bra might be enough but I’ve seen a few people recommend taking different things to wear in case your initial choice isn’t comfy)
  • Slippers
  • Dark robe
  • A towel (some hospitals supply these)
  • Paper/notepad and pen
  • iPod/CDs
  • Phone
  • TENS machine
  • Toiletry bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner…all travel sized…and mascara to make myself feel slightly human if I feel like I need it after the birth)
  • My swiss ball (deflated!)
  • A pillow (to get comfy and because it’ll be a bit of home)

Baby things for after birth:

  • 2 nappies and sacks
  • Nappy cream
  • Some cotton wool balls
  • Newborn sized vest
  • Newborn sized onesie
  • 0-3 month sized vest
  • 0-3 month sized onesie
  • Going home outfit (just in case we get to leave after a few hours)
  • Scratch mitts
  • Muslin square
  • Nail scissors
  • Cuddly toy

Luke’s bag:

  • Money (including change for vending machines)
  • Hypnobirthing “Gatekeeper” card (it has reminders for affirmations etc)
  • Phone
  • Phone numbers on paper
  • Notepad and pen
  • Change of clothes (we might be there a while!)
  • Deoderant
  • Straws (so I can drink without needing to think about it too much)

…and we are also going to take a small cooler bag with snacks and water bottles in…

Then there’s the stuff we’ll need in a second bag for a stay in hospital…

For me:

  • 2 nursing nighties
  • A nursing bra
  • 2 pairs bed socks
  • 2 pairs normal socks
  • 5 pairs of pants
  • Breast pads (about 10 pairs)
  • 10 sanitary pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Phone charger
  • Money
  • A plastic bag (for dirty laundry)
  • Books and magazines

For the baby:

  • 15 nappies and sacks
  • Cotton wool balls
  • A hat
  • Vests and onesies (I have no idea how many to pack…)
  • Another pair of scratch mitts
  • Few more muslins
  • 3 dribble bibs
  • A cardigan

We’ll leave this bag in the car along with the car seat and a blanket. Mom is going to drop us off at the hospital (a 40 minute drive from our house) so we’ll just have to call her once he’s born then, when she gets back, Luke can go out to her and either bring in the car seat and blanket (preferable) or get our 2nd bag (in the event of a hospital stay).

If we do have to stay there’s the possibility that he’ll be able to stay with us too, so we may need to think about packing a few things for him…

Unfortunately it’s not as simple as just packing…

I still need to:

  • Wash the baby clothes and blankets
  • Work out what music I want
  • Put the music on the iPod
  • Figure out labour/going home clothes
  • Make a list of snacks we can take

And we still need to buy:

  • TENS machine
  • Nursing bras
  • A dark robe
  • Nipple cream
  • Cotton wool balls
  • More muslin squares
  • A small soft sided cooler bag

I think tomorrow is going to be all about getting prepared…wish us luck!

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Plans, Pregnancy

 

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Parenting Plans – The Intro…

With five weeks til my due date (and only two weeks to full term) I thought it’d be fun to write a few posts about our plans for parenting our little boy. I’ve done a LOT of reading and obviously think that I know it all, so I thought it’d be fun to lay out our intentions now and then see how well we do at the practical implementation…

I’m very lucky to have a like-minded husband, so when I read about some new thing that seems to be working for other people, he not only lets me talk endlessly about it, but he tends to agree that it might be a good way for us to go about raising our little one. Other times (usually in practical choices, like things I want to buy) he trusts my judgement and is happy to support me in my decision.

Here goes!

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2015 in Baby, Parenting, Plans

 

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Breastfeeding Plans…

I’m one of those people who likes to be prepared. In reality I’m very rarely prepared for anything as I start planning too soon, trick myself into thinking that I have sooooo much time ahead of me, and then suddenly realise that I’ve got loads of stuff left to get/make/do. I’m desperately trying not to do this with all of our baby things…

I’m very keen to breastfeed once our son is here and – if I can – that requires very little preparation other than getting nursing bras, nipple cream and breast pads (which I’m sure I’ll need even if I don’t manage to BF). The trouble is that I’m faced with the quandary of if I should get bottles, formula and a steriliser for my hospital bag, just in case.

I’m worried that if I can’t breastfeed I will be failing my baby by not having a back-up…but then again I am against buying things I don’t need and worried that by getting them I am actually setting myself up to fail.

Just like with everything else I’ve fretted about so far, I’ve had a good look online at what others are saying and I’m finding the same thing that I always find…

  1. ladies saying “why bother with the expense of bottles and formula that you might never use…you can always get someone to pop out and buy you them if you really need them…”
  2. ladies saying “it’s always best to be prepared! GET THE BOTTLES AND FORMULA!”

…so basically, once again I can’t rely on the internet to make my decision for me and I have to make it myself.

It’s quite empowering really.

So! I’ve decided NOT to bother buying anything that I don’t need. My plan is to breastfeed and my will is strong, so I’m going to persevere with it no matter how difficult I might find it. I’m aware that it will be hard at first, that it might hurt, that I might struggle to get to grips with it, that it doesn’t come easily to every woman.

I’m also aware that being positive about it is half of the battle and that if I think I can do it and don’t let myself give up on that belief in my capability, then I am going to be more likely to keep at it and be successful.

…and at the end of the day, should my plan (or my will) fail, I can always buy the necessaries for bottle feeding as and when I might need them.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Plans, Pregnancy

 

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