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My hospital bag: Jane's story

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The long wait is nearly over and you'll soon be meeting your little one. Excitement aside, you'll be thinking about the practical stuff - like what to take to hospital. Jane, 36, a business analyst and mum to a 16-month-old daughter, shares her smart advice for packing your hospital bag.

Jane says: When I was pregnant I spent a lot of time researching the internet for advice on everything to do with pregnancy, birth and the first year. One of the many questions that I asked Google was ‘What do I take in my hospital bag?’ There were plenty of answers that left me more confused – and if I took everything that was suggested in the articles with me, I would need to take a suitcase fit for a two-week holiday! So, to help any other mums looking for a concise list of essentials for their hospital bag, here is mine:

  • Hospitals are very hot, even in the height of summer and the depth of winter, therefore I recommend a light shirt with buttons. It’ll keep you cool and you can simply unbutton it for skin-to-skin contact with your new baby.
  • I had a pair of my husband’s pyjama bottoms as they were loose enough for me to wear as maternity trousers. Bring a couple of pairs because after a natural birth you will bleed heavily. 
  • Maternity pants and pads – they are not very attractive but so practical!
  • Breast feeding tops.
  • Nipple cream – I couldn’t do without this while I was breastfeeding.
  • Several muslin cloths – I used them to cover my shoulder whilst I was burping baby. I also used them to clean up baby as she was sick a lot in the beginning.
  • One packet of five baby-gros, the short sleeve type. Considering that you don’t know the weight or size of the baby until it arrives, you might wonder what size baby-gro to buy. I bought the size that goes up to a month, which fits up to around 9lb in weight and as the average weight of a newborn is between 6lb and 8lb, the chances are it will fit.  If your baby comes out tiny then ask your partner to get smaller sizes and baby will grow into the gros you’ve already bought. Also if your baby is big, you’ve not wasted too much money on baby-gros that are too small.
  • Baby sleepsuits – I only took one packet of three of those with the poppers down the middle. These were great because I could lay baby down on the sleepsuit and put her arms in one at a time – that way I didn’t have to put the sleepsuit over my tiny baby’s head.
  • Pen and notepad – as I was breastfeeding I took notes of the time of feed, how long and which breast, because I was useless at remembering which breast the last feed came from.
  • Birth plan – you can download a template from the NHS website. I found this particularly useful as I had everything written down so I could concentrate on what I was doing and let the midwives get answers they wanted by looking at it.
  • Maternity bras.
  • Wash kit – I didn’t take anything more than I would normally take for an overnight stay.
  • Camera.
  • Phone charger – some hospitals don’t mind a quick call or text as long as you are not disturbing other mothers.
  • Newborn nappies.
  • Nappy sacks to clear up dirty nappies.
  • V-shaped pillow – I found this invaluable for breastfeeding once I got the hang of it.
  • Snacks – labour can be long and you will need the energy (and so will birth partner!)
  • Your birthing partner might like to bring a book or magazine as labour can take a long time.  I was lucky I was only in labour for six hours – much to the disappointment of my husband, as he didn’t get to read his book!
  • Cuddly toy – to welcome your new arrival!