Bump Blog: Essential items for your newborn's hospital bag

Week 35: Your baby is standing tall (so to speak) this week at about 20 inches (baby's pretty much reached the in utero limit). But at about five and a half pounds, she is continuing her steady weight gain... By this week, almost all babies are positioned with their heads facing down toward your cervix, ready for their trip out.

Last week we addressed the Ten Essential Items you will need in your hospital bag (pre labour and post labour, don't you know), so this week were focussing on the star of the show - the baby. You may feel you should be the star of the show given the amount of work you'll be putting in, but - let me assure you - people won't be lining up to coo at you.

Again, the first thing that needs to be addressed is the bag - as with your own bag, it's preferable if there's compartments and pockets inside and out so you can assign things to different places - otherwise prepare for 4 days of rummaging blindly and dumping everything on your nightstand.

1) Long sleeved baby grows: Seems obvious, doesn't it, but the Devil is in the detail.
A) You need to prewash everything. So prepare for your house to be turned into a laundry for little people, complete with the comforting waft of your preferred non-bio detergent.
B) You need at least 7 baby grows with you and have back ups in the boot of your car. I had a midwife come running into me during my first night there exclaiming "have you anymore baby grows, your child won't stop vomiting!" In other words, if your baby is having up to 6 to 7 feeds a day, that could mean lots of baby voms while their digestion gets on track - ergo you will need LOTS of changes.
C) Have an array of sizes to hand. I was told Lara was going to be small, so I went with the 7lb option. As it turns out, she had hip dysplasia which meant she was put in a hip harness. All the teeny baby grows I'd wrapped up were out the window and she was straight into the 0 - 3 month grows.

2) Baby vests: Same scenario as the above, but - depending on time of year - perhaps opt for the short sleeved ones instead of the long sleeved ones.

3) Accessories: Yep, it's started already. Your newborn will need a couple of hats to keep their head warm (particularly for the journey home) and some cardies. For their first foray outside, obviously opt for something more substantial. I got a snow suit for Lara (it was March and snowing at the time) - the smallest one I could find - and do you think she fitted into it? Nope. We put her in and she slithered down towards the crotch, which wasn't safe. Thankfully she survived with her hat, cardie/coat and two blankets. Also, mittens. Newborns can have fierce long nails so it helps them stop scratching their faces.

4) NAPPIES NAPPIES NAPPIES: If you think you have enough - pack more. Newborns are constantly going... Opt for the newborn size. And have the next size up stashed in the car boot should you have a sizeable baby.

5) BIBS BIBS BIBS: You can't have too many. Remember, the more you have, the less baby grow changing you'll have to do.


6) Cotton wool: Baby wipes aren't recommended at this point, so just plain water (there's usually bowls provided in baby changing station in hospital) and cotton balls to clean your baby's face, bum and belly button.

7) Vaseline: It's the most effective barrier between your baby's newborn bum and the nappy.

8) Baby blankets (x 2): you won't necessarily need them in hospital (I know Holles Street provide their famed blue baby blankets) but you will need them for the journey home.

9) MUSLIN CLOTHS: A friend of mine said "All you really need is 50 muslin cloths". And she was right. They may be expensive, but they are invaluable for spills, burping, voms etc.

10) Your carseat: They won't let you leave hospital unless your baby is safely tucked away in a carseat. Obviously don't bring it in to the ward until you need it.

11) Soother: We're going with 11 here as opposed to the traditional 10 points because some babies like to "turn it up to 11." While you may want to avoid introducing a soother to your baby at all costs, you simply don't know what kind of baby you're going to get. They could whimper or they could ROAR. If they're the latter, you may want a soother to hand - newborns find it soothing for a reason. I spoke to a Doctor in Holles Street about soothers and she said "I'd recommend one. As long as they're off them by 18 months, it's fine."

As ever, I hope all that "prepares" you for what lies ahead and if you have any addition/omissions to the list please do share.


Next week will be the final Bump Blog before I head off on maternity leave. Yes, it does seem a bit early; I'll fill you in why then.


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