Packing your hospital bag is an exciting event. After weeks of patiently waiting, your baby is almost here! There are countless what to pack in your hospital bag lists available, and no doubt you will get tips from other mums. Most of the things you will hear and read are very useful, but some really are not.
When I was pregnant, a mother suggested I pack some massage oil. I get it, labour is long, you need to relax … but I had three quite quick labours, and if Hubs had whipped out massage oil during any one of them, I think he would have been quite surprised with a swift elbow to the gut (I couldn’t stand to be touched when I was in labour).
I have spoken to a lot of mums about hospital bags, and the consensus is: keep it light. People can always bring you things if you need them. So, stick to the musts and consider leaving the following six things at home:
1. Pretty much any clothes you wore before you were pregnant
I have two words for you: Kate Middleton. If Princess Catherine still looks seven months pregnant the day she leaves the hospital, then there is not much hope for us true commoners. Even if you didn’t put on much weight during your pregnancy, you will still have a belly. Or if you’re like me and put on quite a bit of weight, don’t bother bringing anything that isn’t maternity wear.
2. Lots of snacks
I took so many high-energy snacks to hospital, the first time, it was ridiculous. I was told that “keeping my energy up” was of utmost importance. That’s true! However, I felt so nauseous the whole time I was in labour that the mere thought of food made me want to puke. I know some labours take longer, but in all honesty, even if you don’t feel sick, you will probably not feel like picnicking.
3. Shoes which require hands to be put on
This includes any shoes with laces or shoes where you need to bend or squat to get your feet in. Even if you don’t have a caesarean, bending over is not the easiest thing right after having a baby, let alone perching on the edge of the bed or seat. So, pack only flat, slip-on shoes such as thongs/jandals/flip-flops/plakkies or whatever else you might call them. Your swollen feet will thank you too.
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I know a book sounds good in theory (and you do have to plan for the possibility of having a long stay in hospital), but even if you have time to read a book, chances are you won’t want to. Most mums I speak to about packing a book in their hospital bag laugh out loud and say that they wish they had packed another five pairs of black granny undies and maternity pads instead.
5. More than a couple of onesies for your baby
Try not to be tempted to pre-empt your baby’s size. For instance, my first was 4.2kg and 57cm at birth. He was too big for any of the 0000 suits I brought along. Similarly, I have met lots of mums that ended up with very small babies that required 00000 suits, instead of the 0000 suits they packed. And don’t bother with “outfits”, there’ll be plenty of time for baby dress-ups when you’re back home.
If you must take makeup, limit it to one or two things. You will probably not feel like wearing makeup after you have had your baby and you are in that newborn bubble. A mum I know said she took her whole makeup bag and ended up using nothing. In her words: What was I thinking? That I could actually have been bothered to do some Kim-Kardashian-contouring?
So, unless you are Kim Kardashian, don’t bother with makeup. Of course, Kim Kardashian doesn’t need makeup because she always has a makeup artist on hand … but that’s a different story.