Congratulations! You’re in your third trimester. Welcome to the world of not being able to see your toes, a perpetually aching back, being constipated… shall we go on? To distract you from your woes (it will be worth it in the end, honest!), perhaps it’s time you thought about what to pack in your hospital bag? After all, if you’re having a natural delivery, you never know when you need to head down to the hospital to pop out that little bundle of joy, so it’s good to make like a Girl Scout and always be prepared. Mum and HoneyKids writer, Jana, has two bubbas under two years, so her mind is fresh when it comes to what you should be bringing with you when checking in for your labour adventures…
As someone who’s had two natural deliveries, let me tell you: I’m glad I had both of my babies in a hospital that was a hop and a skip away from the closest mall. I had forgotten sooo many things, even the second time around. But since it’s much too late for regret and I’m not going to have more kids anytime soon, here are the things I wish I had stashed in my trusty Longchamp travel bag before I got to the hospital AND a super handy PRINTABLE CHECKLIST that you can use too!
A detailed document complete with medical history
It’s really hard to tell a nurse/resident/admissions person that you can’t remember if your maternal grandparents had any history of heart disease (they do) or if you have any allergies when you have something the size of a watermelon trying to escape out of your body. I wish I had had the foresight to bring all of the info I needed on one piece of paper so that I could have shoved it in the appropriate direction while I got on with labouring in peace. Trust me, there’s a good reason why this should be the first thing you pack!
A birth plan (that you may or may not follow)
If you’re one of those people who’s super particular about how you want to deliver your baby (water birth with Kenny Loggins playing in the background with Tibetan gongs banging once 5cm dilated in my case) then you’ll probably want two copies of your birth plan printed out. Following it is a whole different ball game.
Your phone charger. And a spare!
Depending on how fast or slow your labour goes, you’re going to be doing a bit of waiting here and there. If you’re anything like me, your phone is going to be your best friend while wiling away the hours, so it’s going to need a lot of juice. You will lose your phone charger at some point during your stay; it’s inevitable. Bring two for good measure.
A decent dressing robe
Even when you tell people you don’t want them to come and see you until you’re home, you’re still going to get your share of visitors at the side of your bed. You may well feel like you’ve been run over by a bus, but a decent dressing gown or pretty nightdress will help you feel (slightly) less rough. Make sure it has easy access for breastfeeding (which is also a good excuse for getting your girls out and frightening off unwanted guests).
Make-up and a hairdryer
Remember that fab photo of Kate Middleton standing on the steps of the hospital just after she gave birth to Prince Louis? While I think we can all agree it’s not feasible for most new mums to look like they stepped off the cover of a magazine, it doesn’t hurt to pack a bit of make-up and a hairdryer for your own ‘leaving hospital’ moment. Consensus in the office, however, is that if you manage to wear actual clothes instead of aforementioned dressing robe to go home in, you’re winning. Did anyone else just want Kate to come out of the door wearing maternity pants and some nice flat shoes?
If you’ve ever stayed in a hospital, you’ll know that bath products (if there are any) are pretty low in quality and quantity. Hit Muji for travel containers and fill those little pots up with your favourite shampoo, conditioner and body wash – you’ll know why this is essential when you have that first post-baby shower!
Extra-absorbent sanitary pads
Right after delivering, your tired uterus will go through a healing process, creating a not-so-lovely discharge known as lochia. It’s just like a heavy period, which means you’re going to need some super-duper-absorbent maxi pads. In fact, you’ll need them for a good few weeks. Stock up on your favourite brand (and by stock up I mean clear the shelves), as with everything else going on, the last thing you need is horrible hospital-issue pads causing even more discomfort in the vajajay area.
Hospitals can get cold, despite how warm and cosy they may seem (ha!). After you’ve had your little one, you’re going to feel a little less sweaty than you did when you were expecting. Fluffy socks will make all the difference. Honest.
A nice (breastfeeding-friendly) dress
Although nobody expects you to look like the Duchess of Cambridge after your own delivery, you’re going to want to look a little bit presentable when you queue up to pay the bill. Don’t be the mum that looks like she’s channelling her inner hobo (erm, me).
When you’re new to the breastfeeding gig, first thing you’ll realise is how thirsty you are. All of the time. Pack your trusty water bottle into your hospital bag and make sure it’s a big one. And by big one I mean big enough to quench your thirst after crossing the Sahara desert. Yes, you’ll be THAT thirsty.
So there you go, you’re all set. Oh, and most importantly, do not forget your insurance cards and credit cards! Because you’re going to need those things too if you want to go home.
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