Packing the hospital bag is one of the final parts of preparation before you say goodbye to bulging belly and hello to your baby. If you scour the net for the delivery room ‘must-haves’, your list will no doubt include all those creature comforts and cheery artefacts that suggest you’re in for a beautiful, unforgettable experience: scented candles, snacks, a camera for the postbirth happy snaps, bub’s first cutesy outfit.
However, there are those things that are a little less comforting, by no means exciting, yet totally essential for your overnight bag.
Check out the five bits of bob nobody will tell you to pack for after labour, but you’ll be so very, very relieved you did…
1. Maternity pads
After giving birth, women can bleed for around 2 to 6 weeks or longer, sometimes quite heavily at first; thankfully, it eventually tapers off and is in no way indicative of what your future menses is going to be like. In any case, be prepared with plenty of pads in your hospital bag to avoid any mad dashes to the store.
2. Maternity knickers
As above, the amount of bleeding you experience after having a baby can be significant – even to the point of saturating maternity pads. Disposable underwear is handy because you won’t ruin your proper knickers lest leaking happens (although it’s doubtful you’ll be packing your best pair for the occasion anyway).
3. Breast pads
So in case you haven’t noticed, there’s something of a running theme here; leakages are par for the postnatal course – sorry. And whether you plan to breastfeed or not, you’ll probably experience a fair share of conspicuous wet patches up front and centre. Disposable breast pads are handy and easy on the pocket, while washable ones are comfier. Try both to see which works best for you.
4. Peri bottle
This is one of the most major of hospital indispensables, although not everyone is entirely sure of its use. A little education: “Peri bottle” stands for ‘perineum irrigation’. In short, it’s a squirt bottle to use instead of opting for toilet paper after the going to the bathroom (i.e. worst torture ever). With all of the swelling and bleeding taking place after delivery, using the peri bottle, filled with warm water, saves you from unnecessary pain and prevents possibly dislodging stitches when wiping with loo roll.
5. Maternity clothes
Another sad fact of life after pregnancy; you won’t fit into your skinny jeans for a good while – so don’t make yourself more depressed by packing them as your going home outfit. Make peace with elasticated waistbands, and your jelly belly – it had the starring role in creating life, after all!