With less than eight weeks to go until our baby boy arrives, I figured now is a good a time as ever to get my hospital bag sorted. I’m actually a super organised person so I started packing a few weeks ago when I thought of things that I absolutely could not forget (putting these items straight into my hospital bag at the time I remembered them would ensure that even if we forget in the moment when on our way to the hospital, they were already packed.) #IMAGENIUS
I didn’t really take a whole lot when I went into labour with Taylor. Just the essentials; nappies, warm baby clothes (pre-washed), blankets, my clothes, knickers, snacks, powerades etc). This time, I have decided to use some hypnobirthing techniques because while I had a natural birth with Taylor, I don’t feel like I was in control of my labour with her and this time I want to maintain that control. My list is thus a lot more extensive (don’t worry, I’m not talking 10 suitcases worth of stuff – just one standard carry-on size suitcase is all I intend on taking). My goal is to make the room that I birth our boy in as comfortable and calming as possible. I want my body to be absolutely smothered with Oxytocin (which if you’re pregnant and aren’t sure what that word even means, you can have a little read here). It’s basically the love hormone that our bodies naturally create – it stimulates labour (without it, you actually won’t fall naturally into labour and may need to be induced – often with an artificial Oxytocin!). To create Oxytocin, your body needs to be relaxed, happy and calm… You cannot create Oxytocin while stressed. Instead, you will create adrenaline which is not the hormone you want if/when approaching labour. There’s SO much more learning you can do on this if you’re interested, but I will leave that to the experts. I did an online course through The Positive Birth Company which you can read more about here. It’s a bunch of short videos talking about the science and everything when it comes to hypnobirthing. I loved it and could not recommend it highly enough. It’s literally shifted my emotions relating to my upcoming childbirth from anxious and fearful to excited and positive.
Here are some things that either calm and relax me, bring me joy and make me feel happy OR just seem like basic essentials in my hospital bag:
1 – Music. When I had Taylor, I had a happy-feelgood playlist going. This time, I have made a Spa playlist (i.e. the type of thing you hear when you go in for a relaxing body massage or facial). I feel so incredibly relaxed when all I can hear among the silence is some soft Spa music. For this I am using Spotify on my phone (if you’re a student you get a student discount). I searched ‘Spa music’ and was going to just download and use one of the already created playlists but some of the tracks were of the ocean sounds or birds chirping and that would just shit me during surges so I made my own playlist with only the best tracks available. My midwifery group supplies a speaker but make sure you check with your hospital (or wherever you’re having your bub) and bring a portable speaker if required. Don’t forget the cord!!! Whatever you need to plug the phone into the speaker – pack it!
2 – Phone charger. Because imagine if the music stopped right when you needed it during a surge due to a flat battery. Also, you need to take photos of your babies entrance and first moments in the world (and text/call family and friends to rave about your beautiful human)
3 – A salt lamp. I actually went and bought a new one this week from Ishkah because they have 50% off storewide at the moment. This is the one I purchased here but you can obviously grab any size that tickles your fancy. The benefits of using a salt lamp are many, but I also find that it’s beautiful soft warm light creates an instantly calming atmosphere and it always reminds me of a time when I was full of Oxytocin – when I was breastfeeding Taylor and settling her for bed. We use this instead of a normal lamp and have since she was born. Thinking back to when she was first born, snuggled up with her just staring at her while she fed literally gives me all the feels which is exactly what I want in labour. Bright fluorescent lights in the hospital room are a big no-no for me, thanks.
4 – Battery operated tea candles. Because again, I want to create a calming, happy atmosphere and who doesn’t love candles? I always have them going when I take a long relaxing bubble bath. They always have them going at Spa’s when I go in for massages and facials. Weddings, romantic dinners – candles are definitely a must have for me. I only ever think calming thoughts when I have candles going – Oxytocin come at me!
5 – Lavender oil. I was going to buy a clary sage oil because it is known to help stimulate surges in labour (and encourages it to ‘move along’) but I am on the fence about this one because A) it apparently stanks and B) I think I’d prefer lavender oil as it has relaxing effects and also again reminds me of a Spa which is calming and relaxing and…. well, Oxytocin!! I bought this one from Chemist Warehouse because it was the cheapest available. My midwifery group has an oil diffuser in the room I’ll be in, otherwise I would have brought in my vaporiser from home (I have the Euky Bear one which I purchased yonks ago from Chemist Warehouse but you could use any oil diffuser or vaporiser I would think?)
6 – A maternity TENS machine. I didn’t use one with Taylor but I have read it can help with the pain during surges so figured, why not? I borrowed one from a friend and just bought some new electro gel pads. The pads you will need will obviously depend on the model of the TENS machine you have. My midwife recommended making sure it was a maternity TENS machine – so while a regular one may help, I took her advice and made sure to borrow one I knew was specific for child birth. This is the one I am using here, but again there are loads of options available to you. You can either purchase a new one, or hire one.
7 – A black maternity sports bra. Cos last time I was fully nudd and while I have no problem with this, I’d just prefer to keep the teetahs in this time for a little extra privacy. Black because it’s gonna get dirty (last time I wore white and had to take it off cos… well, I wanted to be able to wear it again…)
8 – Coconut water. Child birth is a marathon and staying hydrated is obviously super important. I don’t normally drink Coconut water but it’s a great way to keep electrolytes balanced. Whether I actually remember to drink this (this is Justin’s responsibility to stay on top of) or end up being spoon fed ice (water ice cubes) again during labour we will soon see.
9 – Snacks!! I actually didn’t bring snacks when in labour with Taylor. This time I plan on bringing snacks that bring me joy. Aka chocolate. Maybe some hydrating and healthy snacks like strawberries etc too but mainly chocolate because, well you know… Oxytocin and stuff….
10 – Hydrate Me Face Mist by Endota Spa (available here). I love this stuff. It instantly refreshes me and wakes me up and smells amazing. Again, it brings back all the feels of #SpaLife and I think I’ve made it pretty clear I’m all about that. Justin will be responsible for giving me a little spray every now and then (after asking me permission first obviously – imagine having someone just spray crap in your face when you’re not expecting it and trying to focus on remaining calm and relaxed while fighting pain… no thank ya.)
11 – Portable Sound Spa White Noise machine. I mentioned this in my last blog post and I’ma say it again… Getting baby into a nice sleep routine is (in mine and baby daddy’s opinion), important. Baby is too young to get into a routine when first born obviously, but setting good habits from the word go could only help. Also, given that baby has literally just come from inside your womb where she/he constantly hears the beating of your heart and other noises inside your belly, she/he will immensely appreciate the familiarity and prob snuggle and and sleep like a kitty cat (I was going to say like a baby but then laughed and rephrased…)
12 – Ergo Pouch sleeping bags. Again with setting good sleeping habits and the familiarity of your womb… Bub has just come from this warm, cosy and confined space and the feeling of being on his/her own in a bassinet might take some getting used to. The Ergo Pouch has been amazing for Taylor and we suspect it will be the same for our boy. I have packed three as they have different tog ratings. It will be Winter so I assume we’ll need the warmest one (2.5 tog I believe) but I’ve also packed a 1 tog and 2 tog. These are expensive so I made sure to always buy neutral colours when we had Taylor – and each of them are still in perfect condition ready for her little brother to use. Worth every penny in my opinion!
13 – A Haakaa breast pump. I have the Medela pump which I’ll use as my main pump (and have also packed in my hospital bag) but I remember feeling super deflated if my boob started leaking liquid gold while I was busy pumping the other one, or while Taylor was latched feeding. This is a hands-free silicone pump which I have read only good reviews about. Hopefully my milk comes in nice and quickly and if it does, none will be wasted as I’ve got my Haakaa ready to go.
14 – A nipple shield. I didn’t know these existed before Taylor. Because she had tongue tie, we used a nipple shield for several weeks when she started needing more milk than the syringe technique could give her. Eventually I cut the tip off one of the nipple shields until she eventually just didn’t need it anymore and latched onto me without it. I may not need this, but breastfeeding is important to me and there’s absolutely no harm in having it packed just in case. I am a big ‘just in case’ gal, in case you haven’t already picked up on that…
Other than that, I’ve packed the standard essentials. Just to save you from googling ‘things to pack in your hospital bag’, I’ve included some of these (in no particular order) below:
– Newborn nappies
– Nappy wipes
– A few outfits for bub. I have packed warm onesies because of convenience and the fact that the hospital was freezing when we had Taylor. I’ve also packed a cute ‘I’ve arrived’ photo-appropriate outfit… a few pairs of socks, a few onesie singlets and a few beanies – all pre-washed with a gentle detergent
– A blanket for bub (I have pre-washed with a gentle detergent)
– A wrap for bub (muslin/cotton, whatever you prefer)
– Some sort of nipple cream (I use Lansinoh)
– Breast pump and bottle/freezer bags for storage (this obviously depends on whether or not you’re breast feeding and how long you’re staying in hospital etc, but I have packed as a ‘just in case’)
– Lactation cookies or tea. Justin ran out to get me some cookies and Fenugreek tea because my milk took a while to come in – whether or not they helped I don’t know, but actively doing something to help made me feel better about the situation
– Socks for mum
– Knickers for mum (comfy ones… probably not g-strings but your call)
– Maternity bra’s/tops for dad (LOL kidding, these too are for mum)
– Warm pyjama’s for mum & bub
– Clothes and shoes for mum to leave the hospital in
– Pads (big, thick, nappy-like pads… super sexy)
– Newborn dummies (optional)
– Mobile phones/cameras (mainly for photos!!!)
– Swimwear for mum and dad if a water birth is a preference (and dad wants to jump on in)
– Your toiletries such as your face cleanser, deodorant, hair ties, moisturiser, face serums, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc – anything to make your overnight stay (if required) a little more homely
– Glasses/contact lenses if required
– Make up (I didn’t bother with make up with all the excitement after Taylor was born, and it was only immediate family visiting so I didn’t give AF to be honest… but this time I’d like to try feel a little more ‘human’, so it’s packed)
– Spare clothes and toiletries for dad in case you stay the night and he stays too… we didn’t think to do this when I went into labour with Taylor and Justin had to go home to grab things then come back.. no big deal but just convenient
– Your pregnancy health record book
GIRL, you welcome. Happy labouring!! You got this x