At my Mummymoon on the weekend (more of which later…) there was a sweepstake where everyone predicted a birth date and weight for our baby. Most were pretty standard but there were two responses I didn’t like: Harriet thinks the weight will be 8lb 8oz (eek!) and my aunt wrote down a date 10 days before 4th July. Of course, a week and a half early really isn’t a big deal, but the fact it was June stood out next to all the July dates that had been written alongside it. When I questioned this, she replied simply: “pack your hospital bag”. “But…” “Pack your hospital bag.”
Being an obedient niece, I thought I’d better start at least looking into this now just in case our baby decides to make an early appearance. Even if they are on time or late, it will be one less thing to worry about knowing that everything is ready to go and we don’t have to faff around trying to locate disposable pants.
The first step is to find an appropriate bag. I’m planning to use my Momymoo changing bag:
As predicted in my Baby Show post, I did end up acquiring a more neutral black changing bag free from Boots Parenting Club, which I presented to Mr Cath as “his” bag. However, when it comes to being in hospital, I feel the pretty roses will help boost my spirits (every little helps, right?) If everything doesn’t fit in that bag, we can bring an extra one. I’ve also heard a recommendation to bring one bag for yourself and one for the baby; that should reduce too much rummaging around on the day.
The more challenging part is what you should actually pack in the Chosen Bag. I consider myself adept at packing for a weekend or longer holiday, the recent excursion to Paris aside (where I ended up in a last minute panic about what coat to bring. Nothing fit!) Packing for a hospital stay is an entirely different matter. As Mumsnet describes, it is “a bit like packing for a mystery holiday (apart from the holiday bit at the end)”. I don’t know (a) how long I’m going to stay; (b) what I want to wear – dilemma between wanting to look nice and wanting to wear something as old and oversized as possible; and (c) what to bring for the baby to wear.
Helpfully, there are numerous guides in books, catalogues and websites that detail exactly what they think you’ll need. I turned to the NHS first and was provided with the following list:
- something loose and comfortable to wear during labour that doesn’t restrict you from moving around or make you too hot – you may need about three changes of clothes
- two or three comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras if you’re planning to breastfeed – remember, your breasts will be much larger than usual
- about 24 super-absorbent sanitary pads
- your washbag with toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, soap and other toiletries
- things to help you pass the time and relax, for example, books, magazines or music
- a sponge or water spray to cool you down
- front-opening or loose-fitting nighties or tops if you’re going to breastfeed
- dressing gown and slippers
- five or six pairs of pants
- a loose, comfortable outfit to wear after you have given birth, and to come home in
- clothes (including a hat) and nappies for the baby
- a shawl or blanket to wrap the baby in
To this list, I would add the following gleaned from Mumsnet and Babycentre:
- hospital notes (I can’t believe this wasn’t on the NHS list!)
- birth plan
- snacks and drinks
- MP3 player
- eyemask and earplugs
The answer seems to be bring a few options in order to cover all possible bases. This will naturally mean extra baggage, but hey, I’m pregnant – I won’t be the one who has to carry it!