I’m now 35 weeks pregnant. That means I have 5 weeks before baby is due. That sounds a lot but really it’s just an estimate. Baby could come tomorrow or in 7 weeks. The thing about labour is unless your being induced or planned c-section you rarely know when it’s going to be ‘the day’.
With J I went in with reduced movements and scan on Monday, then told I’d be induced the next morning. That was at 38 and a bit weeks. Luckily I had the evening to finish packing last bits, have bath and take away. But there’s no saying that this baby will be as obliging in giving us a heads up.
So I figured it’s time to get everything packed. Plus, this time round I have my eldest to think about. J will need to have his things ready so the change in routine is as easy as possible for him. J is autistic . This means it’s not quite as simple as I’d like. He comes with a lot of sensory and medical bits. But I’ll write more on preparing him in a later post (so check back). For now I’ll show you my basic list for a family of ‘soon to be 4’.
We’re packing 4 bags for:
- Big brother
I’ll start with mine…
With J I was in for 4 days in total. However some mothers get to go home same day. But I figured it’s best to be prepared so I’m packing for an overnight stay (plus it’s nice to have chance to freshen up even if I do go home).
Firstly I’ve packed washing bits. You’re expected to have a shower and show you can get up and about. But I don’t want to take loads of bits so I choose to buy some ‘mini’ products. If you prefer then you can buy the empty travel kits and fill up with your own smellies. Deodorant is a must as hospital wards can get really warm!
Next I packed bits for ‘pre-labour’ or the first stage where you’re trying to amuse yourself to distract from the growing intensity and anxiety. This includes books, magazines, colouring in and snacks (lots of snacks and drinks).
I packed some comfy PJ’s and slippers for pre and post labour, but also I packed a spare PJ/long T-shirt for during labour (it can get messy, sweaty and uncomfortable so don’t wear your best, and have something to change into after). I also packed cheap ‘big knickers’ that will fit over my bump (sorry ladies but that doesn’t just disappear as soon as baby is out) and can again be thrown away if they get ruined.
Then I packed post-labour essentials. I went through a lot of maternity towels after J so I have stocked up. I’ve got a pack in the bag and packs in the cupboard too. I didn’t use the breast pads with J as he refused to breast feed and I never really got ‘leaky boobs’ but again, better to be prepared. Baby wipes are a must. I won’t use them on baby, these are for me. Even just a quick freshen up can make you feel so much better.
There’s other bits of bobs I’ll be packing to which you can see on the list. Please check with your birthing unit/hospital about things like phone chargers as some don’t allow them (in which case take a charging cell as you’ll want your phone for photos and to keep in touch with everyone).
Labour can take AGES. When I went in for my induction with J I didn’t give birth till the next day. So, ‘Daddy’ or birth partner will want to be prepared.
Although you should be their main focus there can be a lot of waiting around, plus you’ll want to nap when you can. So, your partner may want to take a book, magazine, pack of cards (you can always have a game of snap to reduce anxiety). Partners are not fed by the hospital so snacks or change for the vending machine is helpful.
Don’t forget things like money/card for car park or transport home, charger/battery cell for phone so they can keep those you want ‘in the know’ updated. It is also worth them have a change of clothes. I threw up over my poor husband and he didn’t have spare clothes but he managed to get it out. haha. This can always be left in the car so he’s not stuck carrying everything around.
This is the fun bag to pack. You can go through all the cute bits you’ve brought and picture which baby will wear. I haven’t gone too OTT with packing outfits. I aim to take 3 vests, 3 sleep suits, couple of hats and something warm for the way home. My advice is to make sure baby’s wardrobe is ready at home. That way if you do stay longer you can send someone home to grab extra bits and bobs easily.
I also packed nappies, nappy sacks and cotton wool (I didn’t use wet wipes till J was a bit older/less new). I wouldn’t stock up too much on one brand of nappies. We found we had to trial a few to find ones that worked for us. Some leaked, some made J’s bottom red and some just didn’t stay on well. I also want to give reuseable nappies a go this time round, so I’m taking disposables to the hospital and then I’ll do a sort of ‘mix and match’ at home to see which I get on with.
Next I’ve packed muslins (these are sooooo handy, honestly, take a few) and a blanket for cute photos and the drive home. Last time I had the Bounty photos, but I wont be this time. If I’m honest I didn’t really want them but in my exhausted, morphine brained state I said yes. The photos were cute but I can easily take those style photos myself. I’ve also packed a ‘big brother present’ for when J comes up to visit. It’s only a little present but it’s something he’s been talking to bump about lately so I thought it would be sweet if he thought that baby knew to buy him that as a present.
I’m not taking bottles or formula. This is for two reasons. Firstly, I want to give breastfeeding a try again. I’m not going to pressure myself. If it happens great, if it doesn’t then I know the hospital provide ready made formula in those adorable tiny bottles. Please check with your hospital that this is an option however. At home I have bottles (to use for expressing) and a tub of formula. Again, this is so there is no pressure for breastfeeding and I have food at home for baby if needed.
My last bit of advice for packing for baby is to get the car seat ready BEFORE you go to hospital. We left the car seat in the box and asked my Mum to grab it for us when she came to pick us up when we were discharged. She came to the ward and the car seat needed ‘constructing’. This was simply slotting bits together and threading the straps but it wasn’t a quick job and we didn’t have the instructions. I was tired and eager to get home so wasn’t in mood to deal with it. This time I will make sure its unpacked and ready on top of the wardrobe in the next week or so.
Big Brothers Bag
It’s hard to believe I’m going to be a Mum of two. It seems such an alien concept at the moment. I had a hospital admission last week as I had difficulties breathing so was in for a few days. It was the first time I’ve been away from J in this circumstance and I was surprised how it effected us both. It’s made me think carefully about how to approach the birth as it may be nice and planned, it could be a mad rush, or it could happen whilst he’s at nursery. So when packing his bags I’ve tried to cover all basis.
I have packed spare clothes and some snacks. J is a difficult eater so I thought by having some foods I know he’ll eat then at least it’s less stress on both Grandparents and J. I’ve even packed a fruit shoot as a special treat as he loves them but not allowed them too often. If I can’t spoil him at this time, then when can I? I have written a list of foods that I know J will definitely eat to go in his bag. This is just to give me peace of mind really as his autistic needs mixed with his emotions of what’s happen may make him more sensitive to food.
I have also packed over night bits as he will have a sleep over regardless of whether I’m out of hospital or not. This is because I will need chance to focus on baby, sleeping and let J come home to a calm and organised (?) home. So he has PJ’s, wash stuff, medication (inhalers, eczema cream, piriton and calpol) as well as his bedtime bits like special teddy, sensory lights and favourite blanket. J has only slept out without me or Daddy two or three times in his 4 years so I want him to have his home comforts.
Next I’m making sure his nursery bag is packed and organised so he has everything he needs. I’ll leave it up to J and his grandparents whether they feel nursery is the right place for him based on what time I go to hospital, how he reacts to the whole situation etc. But if everything is all packed and ready then at least I know it’s there for if he goes. Another bit of advice is to make a list of nursery info eg: session days/times, teachers name etc so that whoever is looking after your child knows when and where they have got to be. After all you are going to be busy giving birth to answer the phone.
Similar to the big brother present, J came out with me this week to choose a special teddy for baby. J has a ‘lamby’ which he has had since he was a baby and he wont sleep without it. It’s his comfort so we thought it would be extra special to let J choose and present baby with his own ‘special teddy’.
Lastly, I am stocking up on the cats bits and bobs. This is so I know she has enough food for a few days, cat litter as she’ll be in for longer periods of time, and sticking details of her vet on the fridge. I’ll also make sure there’s some treats for her. This way, my ‘nominated family/friend’ doesn’t have to worry about rushing out to get anything. If you have pets it worth making a box with everything in and a note on any details that someone needs to know.
I’m sure I’ll think of more to add, and chances are I’ll forget something, haha. But don’t panic as everything is replaceable and can be sorted. Just make sure that someone other than you and your birth partner has keys to your house so they can make a mad dash to grab bits for you if you do stay in. Also, keep the bags somewhere easily accessible so in that mad dash to hospital you don’t have to worry about trying to find where you’ve hidden them.
Is there anything I’ve forgotten? Anything you’d add to my list?