Ideally, you should aim to have everything sorted out before week 28 kicks in. After that point, you'll end up too exhausted to do the packing yourself, plus you become like a ticking time bomb.
I have had a look at various Hospital lists so far, and this is what I gained out of it: Don't follow the first list that comes to hand.
A lot of baby shops offer you their own version of the list and some give you some sort of special offer if you buy all the items off the list from their shop. To some mothers-to-be, this seems like the perfect deal as it saves them time. To me, it just seems like a good way to make business.
There are certain lists that have way too many things you don't truly need. I tend to pack just the bare necessities, and then get whatever I happen to need once I arrive at my destination if I happened not to pack it with me in advance. The same can be done for your Hospital Bags. The hospital in Malta has a shop that will pretty much cover your forgetful arse with most of your needs, anyway. That, and all you'd have to do is get a relative or a friend to run a quick errand for you should you forget anything behind.
So, I'll just go through the list of what you truly need for both Baby and Yourself.
First thing to keep in mind is this: It makes life much more easy to have two separate bags, One will be just for you, and the other for your spawn. It will save a lot of time and frustration by lessening the need to dump everything out of the bag in order to find something.
As soon as you open the bag, you should find a separate paper/plastic bag containing the following:
- A nappy
- A towel
- A vest/ onesie
- A baby grow
- A baby hat
- Baby mittens
- A pair of socks
When it comes to Baby Vests, it is ideal to go for Onesies instead. Onesies a.k.a. body suits have a snap-button fastening at the crotch to make it easier for you to access dirty nappies whilst making it harder for Baby's belly to become accidentally exposed and potentially leading to a chronic case of gas.
On the subject of Baby Grows [a.k.a. feety pyjamas/ sleepsuits], a nifty thing to look out for is "hidden mittens" - which is basically a 'pocket' that is sewn on the back/front of the sleeves' cuffs which can be doubled over so that it covers Baby's hands. They can save you quite a lot of grief from lost mittens. Also, if the Baby Grow has feet, it'll save you from having to deal with lost socks as they won't be necessary.
The infamous mitten cuffs
In the actual Big Baby Bag itself, you will need to include the following:
- Baby shampoo and baby soap
- A shawl or blanket
- Tops & tails bowl/small basin
- More nappies [i.e. just toss in a whole packet]
- Nappy Bags [i.e. bags in which dirty nappies can be thrown into to dispose of]
- Wet wipes
- More baby outfits [i.e. onesies/ baby grows/ hats/ mittens/ socks, as well as the Going Home outfit]
- A couple more towels
- Cotton wool
As for you, you'll need quite a few things. The following should be packed in a separate plastic/paper bag and placed at the very top of your Big Bag as you'll need them soon after you give birth:
- A nightdress with front opening if you plan to breastfeed
- A nursing bra [if you plan to breastfeed]
- Maternity pads [i.e. enormous sanitary towels since you'll be catching up with your old friend Bloody LadyBits soon after you give birth]
- Disposable briefs - and make sure they are stretchy and high-waisted as if you happen to need a C-section, the elasticated waistband must be higher up than the stitches.
- Face cloth / sponge
- Bath towel
- Shampoo, conditioner & shower gel
- Socks / Slippers
- Dressing gown
- Comb or brush for your hair
- 2 or 3 more nightdresses / pyiamas [or if you're like me, tracksuits]
- Another dressing gown
- Extra pairs of socks
- Extra nursing bras
- Breast pads [to prevent you from leaking through your clothing]
- Extra briefs
- Any other personal toiletries and - if you're the kind who is unable to live with out - make up
- Your spectacles or lenses and their liquid container
- Your pillow if you can’t sleep without it
- Going home outfit
- Medicines/ vitamins that you take during pregnancy
- Some snacks or biscuits
- Teabags or coffee, some powdered milk and your mug if you prefer
- Some water
Also - you won't shrink back to your pre-pregnancy size straight away - you'll still look like you're about 5-6months pregnant at first. So plan your clothes accordingly. Don't wear skinny-fit, low-waisted stuff as if you have any stitches, it'll be hell for you.
You will also need to make sure you have a Baby Car Seat readily available as this is what you'll be using to take Baby home.
Things you are not allowed to wear when giving birth:
- Fake nails - as the medical staff will need to check the colour of your real nails to confirm everything is ok with you.
- Nail polish - see above reason.
- Jewelry [*sob*] - though different hospitals have different policies on body jewelry - so ask in advance whether it is all jewelry or just specific jewelry [depending on material and placement].
- Mobile phone & charger
- Camera & batteries/battery charger
- Mp3 player
- Address book/contact list to alert those you wish to of the birth