Mamas/mamas-to-be, what did you (are you going to) take to the hospital with you?
The contents of one’s hospital bag are very much pre-emptive and personal. It took me awhile to start packing my bag as I didn’t want to acknowledge the possibility of mini M coming early (in denial mode). If you don’t have a clue about what to bring (like me), you could always consult Dr. Google or refer to your hospital brochure. Although I much prefer to have everything with me from the beginning, I wasn’t too stressed about the ‘completeness’ of my bag as we were only 15 minutes away from the hospital.
If you followed my birth experience, you would have noticed that the birth had deviated from originally ‘planned’ (no surprise there). A bunch of things that I brought with me had therefore became irrelevant in my circumstance. Everything was a new experience and slightly awkward but knowing what I know now, I’ll make sure to take the following with me to help make my next stay a more pleasant one.
This is a no brainer but I actually didn’t wear the maternity camisoles that I took with me to the hospital. Don’t as me why! Maternity camisoles are GREAT for breastfeeding and the inbuilt cups also give good support to very sore breasts (from feeding a very hungry human). The soft crop tops from Target are superb for sleeping in as they are so comfortable and give adequate coverage if you need to access public spaces at night. I would take at least a few of each with me next time because breastfeeding is messy business!
Breastfeeding is both a blessing and a curse, especially in the first few weeks. In addition to the stress of guiding a newborn to latch on, the frequent feeds unfortunately cause plenty of abrasions to the nipples. I was this close to throw in the towel but those hydrogel breast discs managed to help me hang in there. They are extremely soothing and even better when applied cold. Life savers I would say!
Breastfeeding is hungry business. Frankly as well, hospital food, even if you’re in a private one isn’t appetising. Bring as much snacks as you would want to eat to help ease those hunger pangs, especially in the wee hours of the morning. I find that eating something I actually like is a great way to lift up my mood (I’m Malaysian after all!), making the stress of caring for a newborn more bearable.
Spending a good 6 days in hospital had truly helped me value Spotify so much more. The hospital environment can be very dull so great music is essential to help with relaxation and surviving those long, excruciating feeds.
#5. Loosey-goosey clothing
Comfort is key, especially if an emergency c-section is warranted. The best kinds are floaty button-up dresses (I took the above with me), t-shirts and lounge pants (Uniqlo has some affordable ones). Fashion in hospital is non-existent (even more so when you’re in pain) so there’s no need to pack anything fancy.
#6. Skincare and makeup
Last but not least, it is super important to practice self care when self care is probably the last thing a busy mom has in mind. Whilst there isn’t a need to take your entire skincare regimen with you, I find it super helpful to have enough to maintain my skin so that I could feel like a human again. I didn’t bother with makeup most of the time but was grateful for a little bit of colour on discharge. Having those brows filled in and highlighter on the cheekbones made me feel excited about life outside those hospital walls.
#7. Tens machine and massage balls
Honestly I’m not sure how much these helped me but they are things that are comforting to have. Tens machine can be hired from the hospital and I got my massage balls from Kmart at a bargain.
One other thing that I found very useful is to pack 2 small suitcases rather than a large one. Hospital rooms are generally quite tight so smaller bags are more ideal to fit into tight storage areas.
What are some of the must-haves in your hospital bag? I might have totally overlooked some important items.