The Happy Baby Project

A happy baby needs a happy mum


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My Hospital Bag

35 weeks on Saturday, all baby stuff bought or borrowed, and I’m now planning what to take to the hospital with me (while simultaneously harshing The Chef’s mellow with random home improvement requests).

I’ve seen hospital bag lists on numerous brilliant blogs (see Mums Make Lists or The Mummy Adventure) and also on various preggie Apps and retail sites (see Mothercare’s) but I have to say…

….I find the whole thing slightly ludicrous.

It feels half way between packing for a romantic minibreak – do you think the blue or the grey nightie would suit me best while I’m on all fours mooing like a cow? –  and packing for Armageddon; as if we will be stranded in a crevice a la 127 Days, having to rely on lavender oil and arnica to get us out alive.

Only women could come up with pre-labour grooming routines and hospital outfit ideas, as if our babies push happily through our opening cervix only to cry in disgust at an un-waxed bush.  However, I too have booked in for a pre-labour haircut, manicure and eyelash tint. Mock me all you like ladies, but I’m not the only one.

Friends of mine have got pre-labour spray tans, eyelash extensions, and bikini waxes (ouch). They’ve planned their labouring and day-after outfits to the last detail. Mummy forums* and blogs discuss the perfect baby going-home outfits and the most glamorous nursing tops.

Why on earth do we put pressure on ourselves like this? I guess it’s all part of this perfect family fantasy which we bought into as little girls. You know – the photo of you propped up in bed holding cute baby in novelty hat, husband’s proud and loving arm around you while you look, all glowing and wise, to the camera? Or the photo of you holding baby for his first trip home, him in perfect cutesy matching outfit, you both looking on in awe?

My own mother wasn’t impervious to this pressure either. She bought some fancy lace babygrow thing from Paris to clothe my 1 day-old self on the way home from hospital. This is captured in a gorgeous photo – me, angelic in said white lace gorgeousness, held by my proud father.

Oh, apart from the giant poo stain that soaks through the lace, covering the entirety of my lower region.

Let’s face it ladies. We will just have pushed a baby out of our bodies with great pain and effort. We will be pale, with bloodshot eyes, greasy hair, floppy boobs and bellies. We may not have had time to get our immaculately-packed hospital bags out of the car in the first place. We will be so excited about our new babies that we are unlikely to give a toss whether our toenails are painted or our outfit matches.

So, with this in mind, and with the emphasis on comfort and familiarity, here is what I’m planning to take with me:

Mummy bag:

  • Medical notes
  • Stuff to get to hospital & labour in: nightie from Primark (£3.50), Uggs, dressing gown – if I’m in the birth pool I guess I’d want to be naked
  • Stuff to make me comfy during labour: Cushions from home (I bought 2 for £7 from Primark),  Pillow from home, Throw (£7 from Primark)
  • Stuff to make the room nice (wishful thinking): Iphone and mini speakers, iphone charger, LED candles
  • Snacks for labour: fruit juice cartons, bottle water, healthy snacks, bag of Starburst, chocolate
  • Pain relief and comfort stuff: Tens machine (borrowed), Avene water spray, lip balm, flannel, handkerchief and Lavender oil, frankincense (yes, yes I know, but it works honestly), ear plugs, eye mask
  • Stuff to wear afterwards and the next day: cheap black knickers, comfy socks, nursing bras, nightie, slippers, cardigan, leggings, loose dark vests & shirts from Primark –  all very cheap
  • Post-birth  essentials: Arnica for bruising, nipple cream and pads, maternity pads
  • Flip Flops for shower
  • Dark towel
  • Magazines for hanging around
  • Hair bands & toiletries
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel
  • Plastic bags for laundry
  • Camera and charger
  • Boxers, toothbrush, socks & contact lenses for The Chef

Baby bag:

  • 4 x sleepsuits
  • Going-home outfit – yes I know but still succumbed as they can be so cute. Bought this one:

Product Image

  • 4x muslins
  • Hat
  • Cardigan
  • Blanket
  • Coat
  • Nappies (at least 24), H20 extra sensitive water wipes (thanks for the tip Look Mummy No Hands), cotton wool, nappy cream
  • Car seat

*baby forums should be avoided if at all possible. I’ve found them to be full of slightly hysterical women of the type who buy nappies in bulk at 10 weeks pregnant, or who moan about gaining 2 pounds in the first trimester

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New Baby Shopping List

Here are the things I’ve bought for me and baby in the last few months. I’m not saying these are all necessary, nor that they are the best things to buy, but they are all things I’ve seen recommended by friends or that I’ve found from trawling magazines and the internet. Seeing it all written down makes me do a little bit of sick in my mouth at how much I’ve spent (and The Chef is yet to understand the extent of it all) but I told you the nesting instinct was strong. Here goes:

Nursery basics

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Sleeping

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Travelling

  • Bugaboo Bee pram (bought second hand with rain cover, sunshade and footmuff for around £240. Borrowed Maxi Cosi car seat adaptors and bought coffee cup holder – apparently an essential!)
  • We borrowed a sheepskin rug for the pram from a friend and got John Lewis cellular pram blankets
  • Baby Bjorn baby carrier (bought for a fiver at the NCT nearly new sale post)
  • A babasling (more recommended in comments below – I bought off ebay for around £15)

Changing and feeding

  • Luckily, some lovely friends have given me a steriliser, Mendela mini-electric breast pump, bottles (Dr Brown and Tommee Tippee), and breast milk storage bags. All I need to do was to buy was a bottle and teat brush from Boots, and to bribe them with wine to come round and show me what on earth I need to do with it all
  • Skip Hop changing bag
  • John Lewis wedge changing matt
  • John Lewis birdy breastfeeding pillow
  • John Lewis muslin squares
  • M&S assorted muslins
  • I may buy a mamascarf
  • I got a second hand bumbo from the NCT nearly new sale

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Medical, bathtime and grooming

  • I didn’t buy it in the end as I bought separate items, but I like the look of the Tommee Tipee healthcare kit which has brush, comb, thermometer, nasal mucus sucker-up thing, nail clippers and file
  • I also did a big shop at Boots for: Arnica pills, paracetamol, baby flannel and sponge, baby nailfile scissors and clippers, Pampers newborn nappies, cotton wool, baby wipes, nasal aspirator thingie, dummies, antibac hand wash, Sudocream, Infacol, breast pads and nipple shields, nipple cream
  • John Lewis baby step (I thought I could sit on it while baby is in the bath)
  • John Lewis baby bath box to hold all the many baby bits and bobs in the bathroom
  • ELC bathtime baby ducks
  • A Cuddlemoo cowprint towel apron from Cuddledry
  • John Lewis baby hairbrush
  • John Lewis dino cuddle robe
  • I borrowed a baby bath from a friend and bought a baby support from the NCT nearly new sale for £1
  • Philips Advent Digital Thermometer Set
  • Advent bath thermometer

Clothes

Toys and playtime

  • Sophie the giraffe teething toy
  • Freddie the Firefly
  • Stripey horse soft toy
  • I bought a baby gym from the NCT nearly new sale for £10 and am borrowing another from a friend
  • I have borrowed 2 baby bouncers from friends, and am borrowing a door bouncer
  • I bought various rattles, toys and books from the NCT nearly new sale and have inherited lots from friends, as well as getting some lovely toys as pressies

Hospital Bag

  • Mine currently has: lavender oil & hanky, nipple cream, arnica pills & paracetamol, throw away pants, maternity pads, slippers, camera, iPhone speakers, snacks, nappies, wipes, cotton wool, newborn outfits x 3. I’m still to get some lipsalve, eye masks and ear plugs, a towel, and cheapie nighties, pants, vests and trackie bums from Primark
  • I also love the Hospital Bag checklist from Mums Make Lists and am waiting for the Hospital bag list from The Pregnant Beauty Guide