All the way through my pregnancy I read countless lists of “must-have’s” for both my hospital bag and life with a baby. As is typical, some of the items were never or seldom used and some of the things I didn’t buy immediately, I wish I had of .
Hospital Bag Must Have Items
Vests and sleepsuits – initially x 3 for overnight. (Have a second bag of extra packed ready incase of emergency). Buy newborn. I didn’t as neither myself or my husband are small people – and I was two weeks overdue. Baby had one newborn vest and baby grow and the rest were up to a month. (My mum had to go and buy some newborn vests and sleepsuits on her way to meet her first Grandchild, or else she wouldn’t have been dressed at all after change of clothes number one). The up to one month stuff absolutely drowned her. Dangerously so. So yes, multiple sizes but don’t neglect newborn.
Hats – but don’t overdo it. The thin cotton ones weren’t on my babies head for very long. They are important for baby maintaining body temperature at first though so pack a couple.
Nappies & wipes – some hospitals prefer you use cotton wool and water. I tried, however it was a nightmare. My Water Wipes were a godsend and really kind to sensitive baby skin. Nappies of choice for me were Mamia by Aldi. (No leaks to date and baby is 8 weeks old!) we bought size two newborn.
Blankets – Blankets of your own from home. Ruby was in a towel they wrapped her up in, in theatre until I’d come round and the pain relief kicked in. As soon as I noticed she was swapped out for a cellular blanket from the bag. Don’t assume the hospital will have them. Ours didn’t and although very cute, I didn’t want her to look like she’d just come out of the bath for the first days of her life.
Coat & Going Home Outfit – Your outfit of choice and a suitable coat for the journey home. The guidance out there is that when strapped in a car seat, babies shouldn’t have thick coats/clothing on and should be kept warm using blankets. We found a think but warm, hooded coat from Mothercare which was perfect. A colourful blanket from Mamas and Papas kept her snug in her car seat (and is still a favourite now).
Straws or a bottle with a straw – I cannot reiterate how much I used my drinking bottle. Not only did I have the shakes so knocked countless cups over when on the post-natal ward but in labour straws are a godsend. Seriously, I could hold the bottle in one hand and drink and when it got more painful, my husband could just hold it in place. I’d say it was the most important thing in my bag.
Knickers. Big, black ugly knickers – the ones the hospital give you are horrible. Buy a size (at least!) up of normal, full briefs. Make sure they are black and cheap enough that you won’t mind throwing them away. Best to go to Primark or a supermarket.
Leggings, vest tops and hoodie/cardigan – layers are your friend. Labour and post natal wards are ridiculously warm. Leggings are amazing for helping you feel secure and comfy (no zips, buttons or real waistband to dig in). Vest tops are great for breast feeding & for skin to skin contact.
Slippers – ones that you can slide you’re feet into. Great for walking round the hospital and nipping to the toilet.
Flip-flops – great for IN the shower if you don’t want to stand in there barefoot.
Extra socks – nothing worse than cold feet.
A button nightgown or nightshirt – great to labour in and the buttons make skin to skin easy. Mine was the ugliest thing I’ve ever worn but it did the job.
Hairbrush, hair-types, dry shampoo – pretty self explanatory however I couldn’t shower for a few days due to an unplanned emergency section. Dry shampoo was my saviour.
Hand cream and hand sanitiser – to keep your hands moisturised and clean.
Maternity pads – take as many as you imagine you’ll need and then a further packet. Feeling clean is so important. I got mine from Boots and preferred them to some emergency ones picked up at the supermarket.
Day to Day Must Have Items
The Gro Egg – is a nifty little device that tells you the temperature of your room. It has a digital display but also glows a certain colour in line with this. Blue for if the room is too cold, yellow if the room is the correct temperature, orange if the room is an acceptable temperature but getting warm and red if the room is too hot. This is based on the guidance that the ideal temperature of a room for a baby is between 16 and 20 degrees. It’s been so easy to assess how to place our daughter to sleep using the Gro-Egg. In the middle of the night I can look over and immediately know whether an additional blanket is needed, or one removed.
Snuzpod Bedside Crib – we have a cot-bed in our daughters room ready for when she moves to her own room however we use the Snuzpod in our room and when needed downstairs during the day. I’ve never really liked Moses baskets – they always seemed squashed, when we saw the Snuzpod I loved the fact it was larger than a Moses basket. It rocks, the bassinet can detach and it can be fixed to the bed. I also thougt it was a very pretty piece of furniture. My husband found it easy to build and I’ve not found fault with it.
Sleepyhead Deluxe – I didn’t buy this before I had Ruby, despite the reviews being so positive. I wish I had. Ruby hates her hands being covered up, we’ve never been able to keep scratch mits on her and swaddling results in her wailing – unless her hands are free which totally defeats the purpose. She is a very snuggly baby and suffers with colic. We spent days and days not being able to put her down at night because she didn’t feel “snug” enough. It was like a button had gone off as soon as we let go, particularly when she was in pain. The sleepyhead changed all that. I wish we’d had one from the word go and have no doubt that we will purchase the Grand when the time comes. We use it as a portable crib when visiting people and we place it inside the Snuzpod for added cosy-news. (I want to mention that the Lullaby Trust don’t endorse this for nighttime sleeping).
Ewan the Dream Sheep – I purchased Ewan when Ruby was 6 weeks old. She suffered with awful colic from 2 weeks and always responded to us shushing her whilst comforting her. Reviews online for Ewan were promising and for £30 I took a chance. My daughter loves him & he is now part of our every nighttime, aiding her to sleep. Often she lies awake, staring contendely at him, listening to him and then when we look again she’s asleep.
The first Ewan we bought was faulty and wouldn’t play for the full 20 minutes – the experience from their customer service team was incredible. We were immediately sent a replacement. It’s the best customer service experience I’ve ever had.