At twenty-eight weeks your pregnancy is considered viable…that is if you went into labor now, your baby would have a ninety percent change of surviving outside the womb.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I reached this milestone.
And I packed my hospital bag.
Before you pack, check with the hospital to see what they provide.
The hospital where Toddler C was born provided little smock things to labour in, newborn diapers, wipes, swaddling flannels and blankets and the cutest little hats.
If you are planning on going the formula route check if the hospital provides formula and bottles.
And remember as much as some hospital may be like hotels, you are unfortunately not checking in for a holiday, you are checking in to deliver a baby.
Things that you need to pack for you.
First and foremost, do not pack anything to labour in.
It is likely that you will be nearly naked or completely naked the entire time you are labouring…and you won’t care what you are wearing or if you are wearing anything at all.
If you are like me your waters will break all over the dress that you wore to hospital and then you will spend the next eight hours getting in and out of the shower…if the midwife happens to throw a gown on you when you get of the shower that is awesome but you have bigger things to worry about than people seeing you naked.
And deep down you know that these people seeing you naked is only the tip of the iceberg…they will also see your hoo hoo stretched within an inch of its life and they will see you poop. Yes. Poop.
A word about people seeing you naked and seeing your hoo too and seeing you poop. I am a nurse and I can tell you that we do not care. We don’t even think about it. It is just part of our job.
Right, so far you have nothing in your bag.
While I would definitely not pack any clothes to labour in, you should definitely pack some snacks and a water bottle.
Pack enough for you and for your partner.
Pack more than you think you need. You could be in labour for a long time.
When you are in the early stages of labour, distraction is great…a book, Twitter, some music, that logos quiz app, a few happy snaps.
If you are new school and your phone serves as your book, your social media apparatus, you music library and your camera, then you are set.
Just remember to bring your charger.
And I would bring a hair tie. A little thing but it is nice to have.
Now, for after the birth, everyone says just wear pyjamas. And don’t get me wrong, I love pyjamas as much as the next person…in fact probably more. But you have just been through an almost inhuman experience, when you are recovering you might find that you want to feel a bit human again. And for the first few days, your baby sleeps which means that you can shower…take advantage of this.
Enter clothes. Comfortable clothes.
When selecting your clothes, keep in mind that after the birth you will still look as if you are about six months pregnant. So make sure your clothes allow for a bit of a belly.
I packed mostly nursing tank tops and black yoga pants.
You want clothes that are like pyjamas but that you aren’t embarrassed to be caught in when visitors pop by…it is a fine line really.
If you are planning on breastfeeding then make sure whatever you wear allows your baby…and the midwife…easy access.
Of course you will need actual pyjamas, for nighttime…note I did not say for sleeping…sadly your sleeping days are over for a little while.
And don’t forget the footwear. Your legs and feed will likely be ensconced in compression stockings but you will probably want a pair of slippers or flip flops for over your stockings…and you will definitely want those flip flops for the shower.
The other big things…literally big things…you need to remember to pack are maternity pads.
Just get the biggest, longest bad boys that you can find.
In addition to pads, you will need all your regular toiletries…toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, all your lotions and potions, deodorant, a hair brush, some make up if you are so inclined.
And last but not least you will probably want to bring your own pillow…the hospital ones are sweaty, crinkly plastic.
Things that you need to pack for the baby.
Babies don’t need much.
Especially if the hospital provides swaddling blankets, diapers and wipes, then all you really need are some clothes.
Singlets. Onesies. Socks. Cute hats. Newborns love cute hats.
If you have a winter baby then I would tuck in a blanket or two.
And if you want to start using cloth diapers right away, then you will have to pack those.
Things that you need to pack for your partner.
In most private hospitals and in some public hospitals, the partner is allowed to stay overnight. So don’t forget to pack some things for them too! Even if they can’t stay overnight, they would probably appreciate a change of clothes after the labour. A toothbrush might be nice too.
I must admit that when I packed my hospital bag I completely forgot about Daddy R!
That first night he didn’t have anything!
It didn’t really matter as we were completely exhausted but it did mean that he had to take a trip home the next day for some jocks, socks and his toothbrush!
Other things that you need to pack.
Your medicare card and private health fund card.
A car seat!
Am I forgetting anything? Maybe some champagne?
What did you pack?
What did you wish you had left at home?