By Mary-Kate Williamson

What to take to Hospital and have ready for your first night at home with your newborn.

After birth at Hospital for new Mum:

  • Camera: This was also on my labour essentials post but it’s really important for those very first special photos, it was the first thing I wanted to do when I had Oliver. Remember to make sure it’s charged or has new batteries! 
  • Mobile phone & charger: so that you can tell everyone of babies arrival and it might be nice to stay in touch with birthing partner once they’ve gone home.. ‘I’ve forgotten to bring…’ 
  • Nursing nightwear & dressing gown: I’m planning to take one pair of pjs with me and one breastfeeding nightie, if I need any more I can ask someone to bring them in for me. 
  • Breast pads: I didn’t need these when I was in hospital with Oliver but I think it will be nice to have a few just in case as it may be different second time and you don’t want to end up wishing you had taken them with you.
  • Maternity pads: I tried several different brands of these but found that Always Ultra pads were much better.
  • Disposable/Cheap knickers: ones you don’t mind being ruined but remember you still want to be comfortable.
  • Hairbrush
  • A little make up: so you can make yourself feel nicer before visitors.
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste 
  • Mini Shampoo, Conditioner & shower gel: Save space by having mini products.
  • Towel & flannel: so you can have a shower/wash.
  • Going home outfit: remember you might still need maternity clothes/you might just want to be comfortable.

Essentials for New Baby at hospital:

Remember to check what size ‘Newborn’ is in the store you buy your baby’s first outfit, my midwife estimated Oliver to be 6lb so I didn’t check the size of clothes I brought him, I just assumed new baby would fit fine because he was a new baby! I was wrong… he was born at 8lb 14oz and when I squeezed him into his coming home outfit he looked very uncomfortable – it went upto 7lb 7oz – oops! So this time I have very carefully selected newborn clothing that goes upto 10lbs – that way baby will be comfy and we’ll get a little more use out of it! Mothercare do newborn clothes up to 10lb and Next do a size ‘up to 1 month’. If you end up having a smaller baby, you can buy smaller clothes after birth, buy some and not remove the tags so you can return/exchange them if they are too small or ask someone to pick some up for you.

  • First outfit: sleepsuit, vest, hat & mittens.
  • A few more sleepsuits and vests for hospital stay.
  • Blanket: we are taking a swaddle this time to get her used to it straight away.
  • Nappies: take a small packet of them – expect to need up to 12 a day.
  • Cotton wool and water is much better for newborn skin than wipes. 
  • Nappy sacks. 
  • Muslin squares: these are very handy for feeding, swaddling or light blanket. You can get them from any retailer – such as these ones from Lollipop Lane 
    Muslin Squares are perfect for wiping up dribbles and spills

    Muslin Squares are perfect for wiping up dribbles and spills. Pic from Lollipop Lane

  • Jacket: to go home in – we are using a Puckababy GoGo this time which is very soft and Oliver calls it “snuggle-tastic”.  
  • Baby car seat: most hospitals won’t let you take baby home without one.
  • If you’re bottle feeding then bottles & Milk formula. 
  • Going home outfit
Essentials for first night at home with your newborn:
 
When I had Oliver in 2009, I had my heart set on breastfeeding him. I had brought bottles and a sterilizer but with the intention of using them for expressed milk with the breast pump. 
 
After arriving home with him and having this little baby crying to go on my boob all the time I was so exhausted I gave up, I just wanted to sleep, I thought that I wasn’t giving him enough and felt terrible that he was hungry. So I begged for my mum to go to the shops and get me some formula milk… it was 1am Sunday morning and she had to drive for ages to find somewhere open but I was so tired I just couldn’t carry on, I didn’t know my milk wasn’t actually coming in yet and looking back I really wish I had of stuck at it. I did continue to mix bottle and breastfeeding but this time I’m doing as much research as possible to help me do my best this time so firstly I want to tell you to relax, if you’re breastfeeding it is natural but it’s not always easy! Ask for help before you leave the hospital and if you want to then get someone to check baby is latched on properly every time you feed – the midwife won’t mind you making sure! You and your baby are learning together.
  • Changing baby: Enough nappies, cotton wool (& little bowl for water) and nappy sacks. 
  • Moses basket or Crib: It would be handy to have this ready for when baby comes home. 
  • Blankets and swaddles: Anything you want to use for your baby in the first few days would be handy to have ready. We are using a lovely version of swaddling – The Original Piep by Puckababy so we will have this ready for baby.
  • Maternity pads or Always Ultra pads: Make sure you’ve got enough to not have to worry, it really is all about being prepared to just relax and get used to life with your newborn.
  • Feeding baby: If you’re bottle feeding, have a practice run of the sterilizer so you know how to use it properly for when the time comes as you’re probably be tired and it’s one less thing to worry over. Make sure you’ve a tin of milk ready for baby and bottles. If you’re breastfeeding it could be handy to have a breast feeding pillow, so its more comfortable for you and baby. Also muslin squares are brilliant, I love the bright colors of Faye & Lou Muslin squares and the Cozio ones are really big. You can read my review of them here
  • Feeding you: You won’t feel like cooking after having a baby, if you have someone else to cook for you that’s great but if you don’t it would be handy to make some meals in advance and freeze them so it will be easier for you. Or plan a meal list with easy meals such as enchiladas or spaghetti bolognese that don’t take long to cook, you could buy all the ingredients and maybe freeze the meat – just remember to defrost it the night before you want it!  
  • Clothes for baby: Make sure you’ve got enough clothes to last you for the first week, you don’t want to have to worry about shopping straight after birth and people might not all buy you newborn clothes as presents. Oliver was brought a lot in 3-6 months. 
  • Clothes for you: Make sure you have some clean comfortable clothes ready for you when you come home.
  • Baby Blues: I didn’t know what baby blues were until a few days after having Oliver they struck and I was crying at everything. It’s very common with up to 70-80% of new mums experiencing it, try not to worry it doesn’t last long and you will feel much better soon!
  • Stitches: I had stitches with Oliver after having a second degree tear. They were very uncomfortable especially when sitting down, it was recommend to me to roll up a towel and make it into a doughnut shape then to sit on that which will relieve some of the discomfort and it worked! 
  • Prune juice: Not my proudest comment on this post but if it helps you then I’m glad I’m adding it – after having Oliver and having stitches I was a bit worried of going to the toilet and then found it really difficult… my mum who has had 8 children suggested prune juice and I wish I had had some ready in the house, this time I will just in case. You can read more here
  • Take naps: If you can, sleep when baby sleeps. Oliver woke up every 2 hours at night for the first few weeks and without those little naps in the day I would not of been able to function as well as I did with them.
  • And finally Visitors: Don’t be afraid to ask visitors to come when you feel up to it, you’ve just had a baby and although they want to visit which is lovely, you’re probably very tired so don’t feel rude asking people to wait a little bit longer or to only stay for a little while. 
If you would like to add anything onto here then please do, you might have some more helpful things to add and I would love to hear them.
Mary-Kate x

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