HAVING a baby in a global pandemic brings with it a host of stresses and worries, but packing your hospital bag doesn’t have to be one of them.
‘Do I have too much? Do I have enough? What do I need for labour, for the ward, for going home? How will I manage without my partner or someone to help? What if I can’t source things because of Brexit or supplier issues?’
These are just some of the concerns whirring around the minds of expectant mothers.
Babyboo.ie carried out a national online survey of 1,458 mothers and mums-to-be to come up with a comprehensive hospital bag checklist to cover all eventualities and take the anxiety away and even put the excitement back into packing the all important hospital bag.
Founded seven years ago by Cork-based Vicki O’Callaghan and Michelle O’Riordan based on their own parenting experiences, Babyboo products make life that little bit easier for parents, with unique and most importantly functional products.
With this ethos in mind, they wanted to create the ultimate list for mothers getting ready to have their babies and to make this step exciting, rather than stressful.
Speaking about the research, Laura Erskine of The Parenting Experts, said that many of the responses really opened their eyes to some of the more unusual things women needed in hospital that were unique to being in a pandemic.
Other items were a thermos to keep tea and coffee hot, a bottle to keep water cold, ear plugs, an eye mask and slip-on slippers.
Mothers also advised women to pack a bag with reserve items that is ready at home and can be brought into the hospital if needed.
Another top tip was to pack a nappy, vest and babygro in individual ziplock bags and label them with the weight and size. This allayed the fears of scrambling for the right size clothes when back in the ward and the bags are also handy for items to be washed when you get home.
“Some mums were nervous about overpacking, but now, with Covid, it’s about packing for every eventuality. If you don’t need things, that’s great, but you just don’t want any of the added stresses of not having something you need,” Laura said.
She added that by putting together this list, the team at Babyboo hoped to let mothers focus on their new babies without worrying about whether or not they had packed right.
“We got insights from real mums who have just given birth and can remember it all and from those due soon who are packing their bags now,” Laura explained.
Covid-19 has thrown up so much uncertainty, but for mothers preparing to go into hospital, things can seem particularly daunting.
“It’s that panic and the unknown, especially for first time mums who have nothing to compare their experience to. They are nervous about the impending birth, not to mind thinking about the organisation of what to put in their bag,” said Laura.
While the list does seem long, Laura advised people not to be afraid of it and that it’s always better to be prepared.
According to the survey, before Covid, 61% of women said they would have prepared and packed their bag between 30 and 33 weeks of their pregnancy, but during Covid times, 68% of mothers said that should now be earlier, between 24 and 30 weeks.
And 2% of the mums surveyed never got a chance to pack their bag, as their baby made an early appearance.
“I would definitely advise women to pack their bag early and order things early, as some things haven’t been restocked because of Brexit or Covid — just get everything as early as you can, it’s one less thing to worry about.
“You can never be prepared too early, it takes the stress away and makes it a nice thing to do — part of the nesting experience. It can be quite an emotional experience looking at all of these tiny outfits that your new baby is going to wear,” Laura said.
She explained that women often worry about what kind of bag to bring, as they don’t know what type of room they will be in or how much space they will have for storage. She said a soft duffle bag on wheels is a good option, as it can be stowed under the bed or in a locker, and then a backpack, which can be placed on top of the bag to bring it into the hospital.
In pregnancy forums and Facebook pages, one of the most common questions is about the hospital bag, there are so many conflicting and sometimes outdated lists from various sources, so this list can bring a bit of clarity and reassurance.
* For the full hospital bag checklist, check out Babyboo.ie
Jellies for the night feeds — Gillian Husle.
A fancy shower gel for that first shower after baba — Catherine Fleury.
A small clip-on battery-operated reading lamp — Aisling O’Donnell.
A little hand held gripper to get things up off the floor — Ann McDonald.
A selfie stick, as there’s no one there to take pictures — Fiona Folan.
Favourite chocolate bar to have with a cup of tea after the delivery — Aisling Farrell.
We got insights from real mums who have just given birth and can remember it all and from those due soon who are packing their bags right now.