With a new baby on the way, it’s time I really started to get my act together and start properly planning for her arrival. This pregnancy has flown by, and because this is our second child I guess we’ve been a bit lax on making sure we have everything ready and prepared for her.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re not completely unprepared. We’ve made sure to get the big bits together, and of course she has some clothing (someone remind me to sort out the car seat though).
We even have bottles and formula in preparation for her birth because with the diabetes if I can’t establish breast-feeding it’s just not a good starting point for us and she’ll be in intensive care quicker than my milk supply would be able to come in.
So yes, all those things I’ve thought of.
The day-to-day necessities in terms of all those additional bits however, I haven’t really started thinking about until today.
And considering my final scan and my consultant appointment is this Thursday to discuss how this baby will be making her exit I really need to start sorting out my hospital bags and making sure they’re ready to go at any given opportunity.
Having GD means any changes need to be monitored as soon as possible and if deemed important a c section or induction could happen at any point from now.
So I thought I’d compile a list of items I need to pack into a bag for the baby. Things I need to remember to pack or things I need to make sure I buy. Preferably today!
1. Baby wipes
New born skin is so delicate and that’s why the NHS always encourage warm water and cotton wool to cleanse the baby. Reality however means you’ll be there for hours trying to get that sticky black meconium off your baby’s back side with cotton wool clamped between your finger tips. And who has time to be faffing with warm water and cotton wool when out and about?
But with such sensitive skin it’s so important that you choose products that are pure, gentle and kind. Which is why I like to look for natural products where I can that I know will be less likely to cause allergies or irritation.
Baby wipes are often overlooked when it comes to assessing their natural abilities, but Huggies have brought out Newborn Wipes, recognised by the British Skin Foundation for their research into healthy skin.
The wipes are made with natural fibres and they are softer and thicker than any other Huggies wipes. They are made with 99% pure water, they’re unfragranced and don’t contain any parabens, alcohol or phenoxyethanol.
So I’m stocking up on them because with the frequent nappy changes I’ll be going through baby wipes like no tomorrow, and having thicker, more gentle wipes will just be so much kinder to baby sister’s skin.
The number of nappies my son used as a newborn took me by surprise. I never knew babies went through nappies so fast. I’m prepared this time around to just be a nappy changing machine. Pretty much every feed results in needing a new nappy with the occasional extra few thrown in for good measure. When you consider babies feed every 2-3 hours as a newborn that’s a lot of nappies in a day.
3. Starter pack of formula milk and any harvested colostrum
Having gestational diabetes in this pregnancy means baby sister will need to be monitored as soon as she’s born to make sure she passes her sugar tests (she’ll have three blood tests that’ll she’ll need to pass). Typically it takes around 3 days for a mother’s milk supply to come in, and if my child is born with sugar issues those 3 days could see her being taken to intensive care to treat her sugar levels being too low.
Even though I want to try and breastfeed this time around I’m not hesitant to mix feed from the beginning with baby sister to make sure I’m able to stabilise her sugar levels. I know that later on I can establish sole breastfeeding should that be the path for me.
I’ve bought the Aptamil starter pack to bring to hospital which contains 6 pre sterilised ready-made milk bottles with pre sterilised teats to use, that can all just be disposed off once used. It’s there for my peace of mind.
Colostrum harvesting is something a lot of NHS Trusts encourage with GD mothers. I’m not sure how my hospital feel about it, but it’s something I want to bring up when I have my consultants meeting on Thursday. If I can harvest my colostrum I’ll be able to give baby sister that much-needed boost when she’s born that will help top up whatever she manages to get from the breast. That’ll mean I might not need to use the formula at all if I can produce enough to keep her satisfied.
4. Nappy rash cream
As part of a good cleansing routine, nappy rash cream is an essential item to bring. Mainly because with so many changes baby’s bottom is bound to get a little tender and trying to soothe that straight away means minimal discomfort.
We didn’t really have any nappy rash issues at all with Little London. Perhaps the odd red patch once in a blue moon as a baby. And I do put that down to making sure we stuck to what we knew worked for him in terms of nappies and using good wipes.
In my experience poo’s left in nappies tend to eat into the child’s skin causing redness. We’ve had proof of that recently when it comes to our son who came home from nursery the other day in real discomfort and pain that he cried as I cleaned him. And the sores were visible where the skin had come away.
When he’s at nursery he won’t tell the staff he needs the toilet and will just go in his pants and keep it a secret as he doesn’t want to stop playing. This has resulted in him being in pain as the acid from the poo in effect rots his skin until he’s changed. And he can be a little secretive monkey when it comes to hiding what he’s done.
At home we’ve started using Huggies Natural Care wipes to help soothe him, as the aloe vera naturally helps to protect and soothe from nappy rash. Coupled with some good nappy rash cream and a stern chat with him about telling the nursery staff he needs the toilet we’re hopeful it won’t happen again.
It’s important to make sure nappies are clean, bottoms are cleansed throughly with wipes and no poo’s linger longer than they need to.
But with a newborn and all that thick meconium you don’t want to be caught short in hospital with nothing to put onto an irritated bottom if it happens, so better to have something just in case.
Natalie Lee, HUGGIES® Wipes Midwife says; ‘Nappy rash can appear at any time during your baby’s life and consists of flat red areas around the bum area. In severe cases it can be extremely irritating for your little one and you may experience them being more unsettled than usual. Keeping away from creams, lotions and talc powder other than a thin layer of barrier cream on clean skin can help. If the nappy rash persists for more than a few days please seek medical advice.
5. Baby clothes
Hospitals are kept fairly warm particularly on the labour ward, so this time I think I’m going to bring a range of outfits that I can layer and de-layer if baby starts to get too warm.
Three long sleeve baby vests and three baby grows should hopefully be more than enough and should I need more Mr London Mum can head home and get more for me (while putting the other pieces into the washing machine).
I’ll also bring a baby hat with me, as it helps to keep heat loss to a minimum and a cardigan and one pair of baby socks.
6. Muslin Cloths
“At first the infant, mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms” Good old Shakespeare.
I remember when I went to he doctors because Little London was forever being sick after his feeds, and my GP told me it’s just something babies do and quoted me Shakespeare. Of course there are different levels of how much a baby is sick and some will require medical attention, but baby sick is very normal and to be expected.
I just got used to walking around with a muslin cloth thrown over my shoulder with Little London ready to mop up anything that came out of his mouth again.
I totally underestimated how much I’d need these cloths with Little London, so I won’t make that mistake again and I’ll probably bring about 5 with me to the hospital.
7. Car seat and blanket
I’m adding this to my list of things for baby but if truth be told I’ll be leaving it in the car when I finally get around to sorting it out. Hospitals provide blankets for baby while you’re on the labour ward, so really the blanket will be for when we take the baby home if it’s a bit cold.
As a first time parent you may be shaking your head at the prospect of a dummy. I know I did. But Little London was taken into intensive care when he was born and then transferred into special care where they ended up giving him a dummy without asking us whether or not it was ok- but I guess when you’re looking after many sick babies and they cry then you have to comfort them however you can.
I always assumed dummy’s were a no go. But baby’s do need soothing and cuddles don’t always cut it. If you breastfeed you may find the baby uses your nipple as a dummy which I think for many mums can be quite frustrating. And for mums that choose to formula feed you may overfeed thinking baby is crying for more milk, but actually it’s the comfort he wants more than anything else. This is what the dummy is for.
Not all babies will take to a dummy however, so it really is dependant on the child. For us it was a god send with Little London. We successfully took his away just after he turned two so it’s never hindered him at all and just helped us keep our sanity in those early years.
Did it help him sleep? yes. Did it help soothe him when he was ill? yes. Did it help when travelling? yes. Did it help calm him down? yes. That’s why we like them! The MAM ones are our choice of dummy.
9. Sibling Gift
I’ve spoken about gifts for Little London after the baby is born in this post. I want him to have good excited memories about meeting her, but also to not feel overwhelmed and feel overlooked.
So I think buying him a gift that will keep him happily occupied in the hospital and perhaps something more sentimental for him to keep forever to remember the day is important.
My biggest fear is that he doesn’t feel pushed out at any point. And I know that when the baby comes along I’ll have to make sure I give him more attention than he currently requires to settle him into sibling life comfortably.
I’m working as a HUGGIES® Wipes ambassador this year. For more information about HUGGIES® Wipes product portfolio and to discover what variant better meets your needs visit: https://www.huggieswipes.co.uk/products/.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.