If you follow me over on A Weekend Escape you’ll know I love nothing better than filling my cabin case ready for a night or two away.
But, this summer the endless days of packing and unpacking my little case were in fact in my bedroom rather than a far flung hotel room.
I never expected I’d need so much in my hospital bag, and after working my way through 3 bulging weekend bags out came the suitcase. But how to decide what to pack?!
Thankfully there was some brilliant blogs and posts around recommending some birthing and new mum gems, and what to pack was the hot topic of conversation in my NCT WhatsApp group for a number of weeks! Who knew I’d get so excited over what sanitary pads to pack (Oh how life has changed….)
Anyway, following suit of my feeding journey post, it’s my turn to give something back and hopefully offer some gems to another yummy mummy to be!
Birth day treats
I’ve mentioned them previously in my birth story, but I wouldn’t of got through my labour without my positive affirmation cards, hypnobirthing playlists (and earphones/Bluetooth speaker) and Mama Mio Liquid Yoga. Reading and listening to positive vibes helped keep me focused and regular sprays of Liquid Yoga removed that distinctive hospital smell and transported me back to one of my many MANY baths back in the security of my own home.
Although I didn’t get a chance to munch through the snacks like I’d predicted, you never know when your blood sugar might take a dip. I went down the unhealthy route with Boost bars, mince pies and cinnamon buns, but the wiser choices would obviously be those with a slow release like oatmeal, fruity flapjacks. I did however make my way through a few packets of Dextorose tablets and many bottles of flavoured fizzy water (opt for the sports tops for throwing down your neck with ease!!)
Everyone will tell you about the post delivery tea and toast, but depending on what time your little cherub arrives you may not get much else before bedtime- so pack some extra snacks for then! It felt like mum and I had a right old midnight feast in our room to celebrate that night!
Oh and pack some mints- if there is a chance you might need to go to theatre they can stop you from eating- and a good friend swore by mints to see her through those starving hours. Plus, with a crying newborn in your arms you might not see your toothbrush before the visitors kick in. Fresh breath = your first mum win.
Dressing for the occasion
A fluffy dressing gown, comfy slippers and your own pillow. I presumed I was packing all three for my first night in bed as a mummy, but in fact I donned all three for my rides in the ambulance and wheelchair…. with the said pillow (a V one) over my shoulders in a very fetching fashion. The glamour of labour was certainly left when I closed my apartment door.
What you probably won’t need however is that new swimsuit or silk nightshirt you bought especially for the occasion. I couldn’t imagine being happy to take my knickers off for an examination, let alone labour in anything less than a two piece. Turns out I was pretty happy wandering round the delivery suite in my birthday suit. My dignity left long ago, so why not treat my midwifery team to a full frontal hey.
A cotton button down nightdress or snuggly shirt pj’s are a must for your overnight stay, and make sure they have a loose, soft waistband. Preferably one with a tie- you don’t know how your body will change immediately after delivery and you don’t want anything so tight it’s uncomfortable or too loose they fall down.
And finally something nice but super comfy to wear when you take your newest arrival home. It may have been October but I chose a lightweight loose jumpsuit I wore through the summer, with a bold shirt over the top and trainers. It’s important to be comfy, but I also wanted to feel like ‘me’ again. Especially as my little man made his first entrance into the big wide world.
The nitty gritty
Let’s be honest, the things us girls really need to think about are the less than glamorous parts to this experience. It’s time to talk breast pads, sanitary towels and nipple shields.
You might want to put down that lunch you’ve been enjoying….
First up, lets talk about down below. Now, I knew giving birth would be a bloody business but I was seriously underprepared by the sheer volume. Lets just say it’s not for the faint hearted.
You can get many types of maternity pads, which are basically super sanitary towels, but someone (a friend, a blogger, an Instagrammer… who knows!) recommended the Tena Lady Pants. And they were a game changer! You can even pop in a maternity pad in there too in the early days when things are a bit, well, messy.
It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever recommended on this blog but possibly the most helpful!
You are going to be sore however you give birth, but help is at hand thanks to the aptly named Spritz for Bitz from My Expert Midwife. With anti-bacterial, anti-fungi and pain relieving properties, this power potion can be sprayed directly onto C-section wounds, episiotomy or perineal tear stitches and any bruising or swelling.
I swear to you it works. Yes it may be at the top end of your price bracket when it comes to treating down below, but I can hand in heart say it helped me enormously. I began by spraying into the pad itself for 24 hours to avoid any aggravation, before moving directly onto the skin. I used Spritz for Bitz for around 3 weeks and still have half a bottle left, so it certainly is value for money.
And lastly whilst we talk bathroom accessories, get yourself some Fybogel. Everyone secretly fears that first post delivery poo and two cups of this stuff a day makes it a doddle. You’ve got enough to think about without worrying about a painful bum to boot.
Heading back up top to the boobie department you’ll need some breast pads, nipple cream (lansinoh is pure gold) and some emergency nipple shields.
Of course your milk probably/hopefully won’t come in during your stay in hospital, but a breast pad can be a welcome addition to your maternity bra when your nipples resemble a crimson summer sun. I do think you get what you pay for here- the pricier ones seem to stay in place whilst the supermarket budget ones? Let’s just say whilst popping my bra down to feed, one accidentally attached itself to my husbands foot. For it only to be noticed by a visitor a few hours later 🙈
Lansinoh will become your best friend. I’m no longer feeding and yet it’s still on my bedside. Not only does it relieve cracked, dry nipples it’s an awesome lip balm, cuticle cream and brow gel. It’s safe to use immediately before feeding too which is a welcome bonus.
Lastly, those pesky nipple shields. Not an obvious choice but for me, a godsend. You just never know what’s lying ahead of you in this feeding malarkey.
And for the most important traveller
Do not underestimate how much these tiny people need. 8 weeks down the line I still under-prepare how many nappies one will need!! (FYI on a Sunday day trip to the in-laws it was 9!)
Pack two sizes of nappies, and roughly half of packet of each. We never envisaged our boy would be as big as he is, so having bigger nappies saved our bacon! You can always keep more nappies in the car just in case shit really does go down…
You’ll also need tones of clothes. It’s a known fact in our circle that I seriously believed I would only carry a change of clothes in case I simply ‘got bored’ of his outfit mid way through a day. Little did I know.
Turns out Ace ‘got bored’ pretty quickly in hospital and was kindly gifted some pretty pink sleepsuits from the lost property section to see us through the night. Not his finest hour, but at least he’s down with his feminine side.
And a last note on clothes…look at the poppers carefully. So what, I thought, if the poppers where at the back? Dressing a newborn for the first time is stressful enough without awkward clothing getting in the way. Pack a load of soft, gorgeous sleepsuits with traditional central poppers. Honestly, you’ll thank me I promise.
And last but certainly not least. Milk.
You might want to breastfeed but I was nearly up the Swanee when it wasn’t working. Yes, I had a bottle of emergency pre-made formula but surely I didn’t need bottles as well? Damn right you do! Get yourself a pack of the premade bottles with teats. They aren’t cheap, but you’ll pay anything to avoid the look of horror on a nurses face when they ask you for a bottle.
Those little extras
You certainly won’t remember in the heat of the moment but make sure you’ve packed change for the car park, a spare phone charger and a clean pair of pants for your other half.
But seriously, aside from that, you’ve got this mama.
You have packed for the most amazing trip you’ll ever take. The trip you embark on as a free spirited mum-to-be and land back in a bubble of joy, as the most loved person in a little ones world. And no other holiday can ever give you that.