What’s in my hospital bag?

What to pack for labour/post-labour in hospital

So with just #3daystogo I left it slightly late to finish packing my bags although we did start a couple of weeks ago… most people suggest having it ready a month in advance but I am always a last-minute Minnie!

So, we have 2 bags – roughly 1 for labour, 1 for post-labour  (I say roughly as one is a bit fuller than the other so they’re having to share a bit of space ;)) I’ve used bags instead of a suitcase for easy access… but the labour one is full and heavy so I imagine we might re-think that before we go!

Hospital bags are packed....
Hospital bags are packed….

What’s in the labour bag?

Some essentials for labour....
Some essentials for labour….
  • 3 small bottles of water, 3 small bottles of Lucozade
  • Drinking straws (recommended by a friend who says they’re handy in case you’re in some weird positions during labour!)
  • A bag full of energy snacks e.g. brunch bars, go-ahead bars, nuts and yoghurt-covered raisins
  • my new Cath Kidston toiletries bag (thanks girls!) which has my 2 favourite facial sprays – the Elemis lavender toner, and the Body Shop Vitamin E face mist (had a third as a gift which was Simple – already used all that ooops – I love face mists!) hairbands; lavender oil with a hanky to sprinkle the oil on, lip balm (everyone says these are handy if you use gas and air as your lips get dry) and some of my fave beauty products – leg/foot gel and face cream, face wipes
  • my comfiest slipper socks (from Boux Avenue) in case my feet get cold (and if not, handy for the overnight stay!)
Energy snacks for labour!
Energy snacks for labour!

What’s in the post-labour bag?

For mummy:

Post-labour toiletries!
Post-labour toiletries!
  • Paracetamol – a friend told me these are handy post-birth as I might be in some pain and will have to wait AGES if I ask the staff for some!
  • Towel – for post-shower etc -everyone says to pack an old, dark one – well this is one of those but also has a funny story behind it – this is an ‘I love Greece’ one that I bought the day that we think Bean was conceived on – and I was sick on next to the pool as I was so hungover!
  • Toiletries bag – small samples of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body cream, toothbrush and toothpaste, and some sample sizes of make-up e.g. mascara, my full-size bare minerals make-up, deodorant and some nipple cream remnants (lansinoh and Asda) that my friend gave me, hairbrush
  • spare bra and a couple of breast pads (just a free sample pack I was given)
  • PJ bottoms (M&S) and a t-shirt
  • Comfy dress to wear home
  • Maternity pads
  • Disposable knickers
  • Normal knickers (M&S!)
Comfy going home dress (ebay... Mammas and Pappas)
Comfy going home dress (ebay… Mammas and Pappas)

for Bean:

Packing the hospital bag... some of Bean's first oufits
Packing the hospital bag… some of Bean’s first oufits
  • About 10 outfits – vests/sleepsuits – we’ve only packed that many due to the range in sizes! Hard to guess which ones will fit best!
  • A cardigan to wear in case it’s nippy when it’s going home time
  • Scratch mitts and hats (again a variety for size!)
  • 2 blankets (1 cellular, 1 cotton/fleece)
  • 10 nappies (Pampers size 1)
  • cotton wool pads
Enough baby outfits for hospital?
Enough baby outfits for hospital?

Other bits to add in

  • I need to get a bag of loose change for machines, parking etc
  • I still hope to sort out some music for my iPhone
  • Must remember to pack my iPhone charger on the day… oh and the hospital notes!
  • No idea what I’ll be wearing when I go in but I hope it includes comfy pumps/flip-flops that I can wear to walk around once I’m in there and coming home too
  • Arnica – sold out in the last couple of shops I’ve tried but will try and get some the next few days (heard it’s good for bruising afterwards!)
  • I also have a plastic bag in there for dirty clothes etc
  • Book – I might pack one if labour is going slowly when I leave for hospital but otherwise I can’t imagine having time to read in there  (or ever again!)

What do you think? Have I missed any essentials? (Obviously if me and/or Bean are in for a few days we’ll need daddy to get some more supplies but hoping this will be enough for an overnight stay?)

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Pregnancy books – the best 5!

5 favourite books about pregnancy that helped to relax me!

The pregnancy books I read
The pregnancy books I read

Early on in my pregnancy one of my best friends lent me a stack of pregnancy books and magazines, they were all really useful and I’m not sure if I would have thought of buying any prior to that if I’m honest. I was given another as a gift from my CEO in work (!) and bought 2 based on recommendations… here are my favourite 5 books out of that stack (in no order of preference!)

#1 – ‘The pregnancy countdown book’ by Susan Magee with Kara Nakisbendi, M.D.

(c) 2006 by Susan Magee – ISBN 978-1-59474-573-7

I love all the weekly update books and email lists (I signed up for loads including NHS, Netmums, Mothercare etc) – it was always good fun to see how big baby was compared to various fruits and veg, and what was coming up in terms of baby’s development and my body!

Out of all of the weekly update books though, my favourite was this one because it was:

  • short/easy-to-read/concise/ great layout
  • generally relaxed approach and tongue-in-cheek at times e.g. when describing how to open baby shower gifts ‘you have to hold everything up so everyone can go ‘Aww’ and ‘Ooh’ and ‘Cut the cake first. That way you’ll have the strength to go on’
  • full of anecdotes from real mums for each section e.g. in a section about exercise one mum (Rena) says ‘you don’t know what kind of exerciser you’re going to be…. for me, walking was a great exercise. And in my third trimester, going to the mall counted as a workout’ (!) many of which I could relate to, and even if I couldn’t it was nice to have the ‘human touch’

Only downside is that’s it an American book, but most of it still makes sense to us Brits 🙂

#2 – ‘Mums on pregnancy’ by Carrie Longton, Justine Roberts and Rachel Foster

(c) Rachel Foster, Carrie Longton and Justine Roberts  ISBN 1 84403 0717

Staying with the ‘real tips’ theme that I like from book #1, this book is entirely made up of snippets of quotes from real mums, compiled by the founders of Mumsnet. Again, this is great as you get a ‘real’ take on everything and always a wide range of opinions which made me feel better about everything from drinking caffeine to whether to go to NCT classes or not e.g. in the ‘diet – what did you stop eating’ section:

  • ‘Well I was unknowingly evil and ate about a million raw oysters when about five months pregnant….. I’d… somehow missed the shellfish embargo. Good grief but they were tasty though!‘ (Scrummymummy)
  • ‘….I drank at least six mugs of strong… coffee during pregnancy and breastfeeding – I now have a very lively and active toddler’ (Lindy)
  • ‘I eat sushi. There, I’ve said it.‘ (Pie)

#3 – ‘What NOT to expect when you’re expecting’ by Zoe Williams

(c) Zoe Williams, 2010 ISBN 9780852652664

This is a funny, great read – an antidote to all the books about what you should and shouldn’t be doing and feeling. At times I found pregnancy to be one long worry e.g. from one scan to the next. Reads like this helped to relax me – Zoe takes a lot of pressure off mums-to-be and new mums on topics from alcohol (devoting a chapter to proving that there’s no proof that a couple of drinks does any harm) to the pressures to breastfeed.
All of this done is through great writing and humour – an easy, essential read. I remember taking my other half to A&E after he took a knock at football, and I was just sat there reading this paragraph laughing out loud! This was argument #33 she remembers having with her boyfriend – if you had any funny, irrational, hormonal arguments hopefully you’ll find this funny:

‘We had argument after argument about room temperature in our bedroom… You’re meant to have it really low otherwise babies catch cot death, and yet you can never let it get low enough without freezing your over-exposed tits off and C says ‘what this room needs is a throughput of air’ and I thought he said ‘Rupert the Bear’, and normally I would think ‘Well, I just misheard my beloved’ but on this occasion, I thought, ‘This idiot, how would Rupert the Bear help? How would we even get hold of Rupert the Bear?”

#4 – ‘Spiritual midwifery’ by Ina May Gaskin

(c) 1975, 1977, 1980, 1990, 2002 Book Publishing Company ISBN 13 978-1-57067-104-3

Everytime I get nervous thinking about labour I come back to this book and read a couple of the birth stories. Long story short, Ina May is a guru who pioneered natural home births in the States and this book is full of positive birth stories based on that, with some of the main learnings for labour from a wide range of birth stories being:

  • relax!!!!
  • look lovingly into your partners eyes
  • cuddle and smooch your way through labour – loose lips above creates loose lips below ;p
  • ‘don’t complain, it makes things worse’

If you do this, you can expect to feel ‘rushes’ not ‘contractions’ and hallucinations… and a natural, drug-free birth 🙂 ‘Over and over again, I’ve seen that the best way to get a baby out is by cuddling and smooching with your husband. That loving, sexy vibe is what puts the baby in there, and that’s what gets it out too’ (Cara)

I particularly like the story about a baby who was talking a while to get out, so, in established labour, the couple got married and the baby popped out as he/she obviously wanted to enter into the world of a married family! (My other half wasn’t having ANY of this!)

So an essential read if you’re interested in natural birth – reading it relaxes me and inspires me.

To be honest if you’re not interested in natural birth you’ll probably find it a good laugh including all the photos from the 60’s and 70’s and the language used 🙂

#5 – ”Hypnobirthing’ by Marie Mongan

(c) 1992, 1998, 2005 by Marie F. Mongan

I’m not aiming for a hypnobirth – I haven’t been on a course/ bought the CD/practised anything from this book but again it was really useful reading when it came to thinking about a pain-free, natural birth.

I found the intro an interesting read in terms of how as recently as the 70’s women were tied to the bed and babies delivered under general anaethsthetic compared with the way some African women still give birth – taking a break from work and just leaning against a wall! Main learnings and techniques for a natural, pain-free labour are:

  • Breathing
  • Relaxation
  • Visualisation e.g. putting yourself somewhere where you are relaxed like on a beach
  • Affirmations e.g. telling yourself over and over again ‘I feel confident, I feel safe, I feel secure’

with lots of examples for each. Similar to book #4, they suggest a calm atmosphere and using love-making to bring on labour: ‘hugs before drugs’

Critics of this book argue that there’s no such thing a pain-free labour, I have no idea as I haven’t been through it but, similarly to book #4 this book has lots of practical exercises on how to relax in the early stages – which has to be worth a shot!

So I hope you found this round-up useful – essentially all of these 5 books have helped to relax me throughout my pregnancy whether it was worrying about having a glass of wine or wondering how I will get through labour! (I’ve included links so that you can buy them but of course check out your local bookshops too!)

If you found it useful please share it via social media or leave a comment, thanks 🙂