New mum goodie bag

Packing a hospital bag is one of the most exciting things about being pregnant. This is it: the baby is coming soon, and I’m ready. Bring it on.

Except, in my case, because both of my babies were born premature (you can read about that on my tumblr blog), my bag wasn’t really ready. With my first, I had sensed that she would be born early and had bought all the stuff, and we just brought the lot to the hospital in a primark carrier bag, along with some newborn sleepsuits which Nick managed to find in the pile of baby clothes which had yet to be sorted out (they were absolutely massive on her, by the way, but the amazing John Radcliffe Hospital neonatal unit had plenty of preemie-sized clothes which we were allowed to borrow!). With my second, nothing was ready, but the five days I spent in hospital before he was born gave me a bit of time to prepare, alongside my amazing mum who came and sorted everything out.

Even if my bag had been ready, my experience from the other side tells me that I wouldn’t have thought about packing things to make a hospital stay a bit more bearable. All the ‘hospital bag lists’ tell you to pack is essentials like a toothbrush, clothes for the baby, and maternity pads (yup, for the uninitiated, those are a thing). I know now that little things can make a huge difference after you have given birth and while you are waiting to go home (whether that’s hours or days) and in the first few blurry and emotional days at home.

After having Matthew, I was so delighted when one of my lovely friends asked me what I would like her to bring (the answer: fresh orange juice) and brought it, along with several other little treats. It really lifted my spirits when I was in an emotionally volatile state having given birth and with my baby in NICU.

People are incredibly generous when a new baby arrives. We were inundated with cards, gifts, and meals delivered to our door. It was wonderful. We so appreciated all the presents and help. But among all the gifts, one that I will never forget was that bottle of fresh orange juice delivered by a kind and thoughtful friend.

A few weeks ago one of my friends gave birth to her third child, and while she was in hospital I took her a little bag of goodies just for her. Nothing at all for the baby. Only things for her while she was passing time recovering and waiting to go home. It wasn’t anything fancy, but she told me she really appreciated it.


New mum goodie bag

In the bag I put chocolate (obviously! a person just came out of her, so chocolate is a must), a magazine, cleansing wipes, hand cream, and orange juice (of course!). There are lots of other things which I think a new mum would appreciate: a healthy snack, lipbalm, some hairbands (who has time to do their hair properly when there is a baby in the room?), mints or gum, a little bottle of shampoo, some change for the vending machines, and {ahem} a roll of toilet paper. Seriously. Who wants to use the hospital stuff after giving birth?

New mums: you are awesome. Friends of new mums: I hope this has inspired you!


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