10 hospital bag essentials

The bespoke Walton bag from Anya Hindmarch, £950, anyahindmarch.com
The bespoke Walton bag from Anya Hindmarch, £950, anyahindmarch.com

Everything begins to feel a bit more real when you start packing your hospital bag. It’s an exciting time! If your due date is not far off and you haven’t already got it all organised, then please do so NOW!

Don’t make the mistake I made with my first son, assuming he would arrive late and head into hospital for check-up with just a mobile phone. A few hours later, my bemused husband was dispatched off to Boots to buy all manner of delights such as breastpads and disposable knickers!

Start by getting together your usual over-night stuff – dressing gown, slippers, toothbrush, face cream and so on. BUT in addition don’t forget these 10 essentials from our Lulubaby “what to pack” list:

Nighties/ something to sleep in

If you are planning to breastfeed, then go for a nightie or top which opens at the front to allow for easy access! Make sure it’s going to look presentable in photographs though.

Maternity bras

You may find you prefer to wear a bra, even when you’re in bed (especially if you have visitors and your breasts are possibly a little larger than they used to be). They’re also handy for housing breastpads (see below).

Breast pads

Oh the glamour. Useful if you are leaking milk, but also very good if you experience any soreness as you can slap on the nipple cream (see below) and then use a pad to protect your bras from getting stained.

Nipple Cream

Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt if you are doing it completely correctly but the chances are you may not get it completely right from the word go and thus may experience some discomfort. Use lansinoh or kamillosan to soothe your nipples and encourage healing. In the meantime try and work on the latch which is often the cause of the soreness.

Maternity pads & big comfortable pants

Not a terribly glamorous addition to the hospital bag but absolutely essential. You will be bleeding after the birth of your baby, a bit like a heavy period. When you’re breastfeeding you may experience gushes of heavier bleeding as the oxytocin released makes your womb contract. Big comfortable pants are also a must to hold the maternity pad (they are bigger than STs). If they’re high-waisted they’ll be even ore comfortable, particularly  if you’ve had a C-section. You can buy disposable knickers if you can’t bear the thought of these babies in your underwear drawer.

Helios birthing kit & probiotics

This kit (£26.50) contains a great selection of homeopathic remedies to suit whatever you might experience during and after the birth: anxiety, back pain. It includes arnica which we are big fans of;  your body will be bruised, whether you have had a caesarean or a natural delivery, and taking arnica may help speed up the healing process. Probiotics are very useful if you find that you or your baby receive antibiotics at all during labour as they may help to prevent you developing thrush (which can also affect your breasts and is very painful) plus it helps promote good bacteria in your gut.

Baby gear

Now this is the exciting part, you will of course need some kit for your baby! You’ll need some nappies and clothes for your little one – vests, babygros or nighties (quite useful for the night time feeds as no fiddling with poppers), plus a warm outfit to go home in. If you are planning on swaddling your baby, bring a muslin or swaddling sheet. You will need more than one of each item in case you are kept in for a few days.

Hair tie

If you have long hair, you will undoubtedly want to get it out of your face when you are hot and laboring, so don’t forget to slip a couple in your bag. Small butL important!

Phone

Whatever you do don’t forget this! Essential for timing contractions, spreading the good news and taking those first few photos!

Things to make the whole experience more enjoyable

Something to read, eye mask, ear plugs, music, tens machine (an electronic hand held device which can help block pain signals), massage oils, water sprays etc.

Ps it won’t fit in your hospital bag, but make sure your partner remembers the car seat – you won’t be allowed to drive your baby home without it! It can be a good idea for you both to have had a practice fitting it in the car too to avoid any stressful delays when you are trying to get home.

Lulubaby’s six week antenatal courses now run at private members club Grace Belgravia with the added benefits of a very special six week membership to the club. For more information see www.lulubaby.co.uk

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