10 things you definitely need before hitting the maternity ward
So you’re having a baby - and you have no idea where to start. Don’t worry - we get that! Information will be pouring out of your pores as you scour blogs, websites, attend baby courses run by the hospital, chat to your midwives at your check ups, question your friends with babies and have late night phone calls with your mum. What do I really need? Why is everything so expensive? What on earth is a placenta tablet? Here is an easy list of things we think you’ll definitely need before you start timing your contractions - in your hospital bag AND in your house.
- We’ve touched on the obvious in our previous blogs, but you won’t be moving far from your maternity ward without a pram or car seat. Have a good read up on what suits you best factoring in your living space, what you’ll be using the pram mostly for, what fits your budget and brands reputable for their safety features.
- Baby thermometer - something I never had for my first baby and had me driving in the rain to a late night pharmacy trying to find one that was going to work well and be the best value for money! Babies temperatures will go up and down depending on a lot of things but its always good to be on top of it - a reading of 37 (C) for an infant is the bench park of where you want it to sit. Our Feverflash 1 Second thermometer not only keeps track of the last 12 readings (which is absolutely amazing if you’re tracking it over a few hours, especially if you end up having to go to a GP or Hospital and need to tell the doctors) but its also Award Winning (Silver, Mother and Baby Magazine 2012). We also have a smaller, more portable one to keep in the nappy bag (which was actually my very first thermometer I purchased and still use - its perfect for rectal temperatures, which as uh, interesting as that sounds, actually provides a really accurate reading).
- A rocker/portable bassinet. Something that you can keep baby safe and snug in, but be able to move around from the lounge room when you’re binging on Ellen during a breastfeeding marathon, or to the bathroom so you can keep tabs on them while they sleep and you finally get in there to wash your hair! You’ll want something lightweight, that easily fits through a standard door, and that has straps so that they can’t roll out.
- Baby wraps. In general, babies like to be swaddled, and you’ll go through these wraps as the speed of light. Get a variety of lightweight muslin cloth ones, some stretchy cotton fabric ones and some larger slightly heavier ones for the very outside wrap when they’re sleeping. Wraps are incredibly versatile, from sleeping, to using as a floor mat, and using when you’re breastfeeding if you like some privacy.
- Everything baby bum related. Nappies. Wipes. Nappy bags. A NAPPY BAG. (Confusing?). A portable change table mat (though not so important in the first few weeks as you’ll not be leaving the house a huge amount of times!).
- If you are going to be leaving the house and be in the car a lot however, we highly recommend getting a baby view mirror. This was absolutely invaluable to me when I first started driving around with my precious cargo, as I was SO not used to having someone in the back seat - and especially someone I couldn't see the whole time. It’ll definitely help put your mind at ease, and it’s a really inexpensive item on the must have list that you’ll use for a long time.
- A baby bath, or at the very least a bath bath insert. The difference is a baby bath will be a smaller tub that you use as a complete bath by itself for your baby. You can fill it up and have it on any surface. A baby bath insert can be used inside one of these, or in your normal full sized bath. It it something for your baby to sit in on an angle so that you don't have to hold them, but so they are safe. Obviously never leave your baby unattended, and you can still be in touching distance from your baby in the insert at all times, it merely takes the pressure off holding them for the duration. Fun fact: Babies generally only need to be bathed every 2-3 days for the first few months!
- If you have a winter baby or live in a city prone to irregular weather, having a rain cover for your pram is one of the best things you’ll ever get. Getting out of the house as a new mum is so important for not only your physical health, but your mental health. No one wants to be cooped up inside smelling strongly like baby vomit all day! A rain cover keeps your baby dry and warm, and the sounds of rain can be comforting to a baby - in fact I have a Rain App on my phone that my baby still goes to sleep listening to! Get yourself a nice warm rainproof coat while you’re at it, and find a great path to trek.
- Your hospital bag can be very hit and miss - if you’re lucky enough to have a big support network, you’ll have your mum running to the closest Kmart while you’re on the Maternity Ward but it’s always best to be as prepared as possible. Run - don't walk - and buy yourself some underwear at least TWO sizes up. Whether or not you have a standard delivery, you’ll 100% need these for comfort - trust me! Also add in Gatorade, some magazines, lots of (specifically) maternity pads, breastfeeding singlets and some very loose tracksuits pants - no one is fitting back into their pre baby jeans the minute the give birth!
- Lastly, stock up your freezer with some pre cooked meals, your pantry with your favourite teabags and your Foxtel with your favourite shows. You’re going to be spending a bit of time with these 3 things so make sure you’ve organised it pre crying baby on the hip!