I have just been reading a rather brilliant and comprehensive list of hospital bag contents on one of my favourite blogs, Honeys Mummy who is due to have her second baby very soon. Her list pretty much covers everything you need, so I'm going to repeat it, but I thought I'd share a few key things that made my first delivery a little more tolerable and are definitely going in my bag this time.
1. Favourite shower gel. There is no doubt that giving birth is a pretty yucky experience. Once you have your little bundle of joy you really feel the need to have a good old wash. Being a little fragile, there is nothing like a warm shower filled with a delicious smell you make you feel a bit human again. A good shampoo and conditioner are also pretty important in making you feel clean. I'm not an advocate of trying to look glam in child birth. I tried to wear makeup first time round, and that was so daft. Mascara streamed down my face as I cried, my freshly blow dried long hair knotted up, and I just felt stupid and looked even worse! I've got a Jo Malone Red Roses Shower Gel for this time, and a sample size Sisley shampoo and conditioner, which I got free at their counter and have been saving.
2. Black nightwear. Honey's Mummy touched on this in her post, and I cannot reiterate it enough. To cut to the chase, child birth is a bloody business and seeing stains on a white nightgown or having to wear a horrible hospita gown does not help you feel good about yourself. A soft black nightie is a godsend, as are copious black knickers, that you can just chuck away. This is the nightie I've got packed.
3. Lipbalm. This is crucial. In hospital I always seem to get dehydrated and my lips get drier than the Sahara, which is horrible and can be sore. I have packed Lanolips, my all time favourite balm, but you could double up and pack Lansinoh, which doubles up as nipple balm.
4. Pretty and comfortable nursing bra. Once again, if you are anything like me, giving birth does not equal feeling beautiful, so everything I can do to boost my self confidence helps. Breast feeding for the first tim can be a difficult business, especially if you have midwives grabbing your boobs to help your baby latch on. Having a good and pretty bra makes you feel a bit more confident about sitting around in a more revealing state than normal, and will make sleeping and resting easier as a supportive bra helps take the pressure off your enormous boobs! I adore my Agent Provocateur Cupid set that I was given last time round (but they don't seem to stock it anymore, check out eBay though), but Figleaves offer a great range, and Elle Macpherson ones are especially pretty!
5. A bottle of champagne or other celebratory item. You need a treat, your partner will need a stiff drink to steady his nerves after watching you go through so much and a bit of dutch courage will make that first nappy a little less daunting. Warm champagne from a plastic cup has never tasted so good!
Finally, if you are reading this and have a partner about to give birth, trust me on this and get that good woman a present. Maybe save it for day 3 or 4, when lots of women get a bit tearful and low (crikey, I did!), but even just a token will be treasured by her forever and make her realise that you are so appreciative for the last nine months. If the budget stretches, jewellery is always nice and lasts forever (Mr. G, are you paying attention!).
Jo Malone Red Roses Shower Gel, £30 for 250ml. Available online and instores and at Jo Malone counters
Black Nightie, £19.50 Autograph from Marks and Spencer. Available online and instore.
Lanolips 101 Lip Ointment, £11.22, available online and from Boots
Lansinoh, £10.20, available online and from Boots
Figleaves maternity range, available online. They stock Elle Macpherson Intimate Maternity.