I remember so clearly with everything being new – new baby, new routine, new sleeping habits – there were so many things I never thought I would need and some items that I ended up never using! I thought I was prepared but there are always items you never thought you would need that end up being essential! So here are my top 10 essential items for both mum and baby in those first few day/weeks:
I didn’t realise quite how much I would bleed after labour, it was actually quite a shock. I didn’t have enough maternity pads with me but my midwife was super generous at giving me some lovely extra thick NHS pads! Of course, they are good enough to do the job but you might want to bring a rather large pack of your own with you to the hospital so you have the comfort of knowing they are in your bag as and when you need them. I also teamed mine with disposable pants that I could literally rip at the sides and bin, which I found such a good option as I couldn’t do much bending right away!
In my head, I was wearing this really glamourous polka dot pastel coloured nightie to give birth in.. in reality I had on an NHS gown that didn’t do up properly and exposed my bare bottom! But post labour I luckily had a navy oversized cotton t-shirt that kept my modesty but was loose and comfy enough to move around in. I would definitely recommend a couple of tees in dark colours, for obvious reasons and go for comfort over fashion!
For some reason during labour your lips can become very dry, sore and cracked. Usually from constant panting, sweating, not drinking a great deal and sucking in that gas and air. I was constantly reapplying lip balm throughout and it really helped.
Newborns’ little bodies are sensitive, especially around their bottoms so you want a nappy cream that is going to be super gentle on their delicate skin. We have always used Bepanthen as our barrier cream and I wouldn’t recommend any other balm. The tiniest little blob goes such a long way and helps protect against any nasty nappy rashes. They come in handy little travel size tubes too that take up next to no space, great for a busy changing bag!
Whether you plan to use them or not, some babies need that sucking comfort of a dummy. I hadn’t factored this in at all when I had my son and thought we wouldn’t have needed a pacifier, but we really did! Save your other from rushing out to the nearest shop have a sterilized set to hand.
These are optional because of course good old cotton wool and water does the job but I found it very handy to have a pack of newborn suitable wipes to mop up spills as well as for nappy changes.
I was surprised how many sleepsuits and vests we went through in just the 24 hours at the hospital yet alone the first few weeks! I would go for a variety of sizes between newborn and up to 1 month because you really don’t know how big your baby will be. Harry barely wore any of his newborn clothing as he came out at 7lbs 14.
When anyone asks me what to buy someone as a baby shower gift I often suggest a good quality muslin. New parents really cannot have enough muslins! They are great for burping, mopping up sick and spills, using as a breast feeding cover up or even a swaddle.
Babies cannot regulate their temperatures independently until they are around 24 months old so it’s important they are kept warm even if you aren’t feeling particularly cold yourself. I would always pack at least one hat in your bag for outings so you have it if you need it.
Some may see this as an optional item but I see it as a total essential. If you are pregnant with your first baby, trust me when I say that you won’t want your birth partner to leave you even for one second whilst you are in the delivery room. You both need to be fed and watered though so things like energy bars, biscuits, sweets and drinks are great additions to your bag meaning no one has to disappear to forage for food!
There are obviously other items that are essential in those first few days/weeks such as a safe and working car seat, nappies, cameras, feeding equipment and toiletries.
Lucie is a first-time mum and founder of the parenting blog, Lucie and the Bump. On her blog Lucie shares her experiences of life with a deaf child, the products she’s loving and her travels.