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It’s almost time for ThriftyBaby number two to arrive so here’s my ThriftyMum hospital bag checklist.
Wherever you’re planning on giving birth be it at hospital or home, you’ll still be thinking about gathering a number of items together in preparation for your little one’s arrival.
So I have come up with a tried and tested list of what I consider essentials in order to keep costs down as it is far too easy especially as a new parents to be convinced by clever advertising as to what are “must have” items.
1. Car Seat – a legal requirement if you’re going to be leaving hospital in a car. However there are companies who can hire them out in case you’re using public transport as a one off. You could try BabyComes2 as an option. Buying second hand from strangers is not recommended as you are unlikely to know for sure if its been in a car crash or not but ask around trusted family and friends for hand-me-downs. Alternatively checkout the sales at big retailers in preparation. Most will also have loyalty clubs like Babies R Us and Mothercare who will send you vouchers on registration which you can put towards big ticket items.
2. Blanket – don’t waste your money on cute puffa jackets or thick snow suits for bringing baby home in as you’ll be putting the baby straight into the car seat. The blanket can then be used for bedtimes too. Winter coats and car seats don’t mix – watch this video to see why:
3. Water Bottle – its important to keep hydrated during labour but you won’t want to be or be able to keep running to a tap with a glass. Use a refillable bottle you can keep on hand. I got this one for Christmas which I’ll be using as it comes with a cool neck which keeps a tab on how many refills you’ve had. You’re going to be able to re-use it during feeding times once baby has arrived too – this is when most things seems just out of reach (normally your phone and the TV remote!)
4. Flannel – again reusable after birth but mostly needed during labour to keep your forehead cool. Labouring is hot work!
5. Lip Balm – a simple Vaseline will suffice but make sure it’s a stick one for ease and quick application.
6. Hair Tie & Brush – drop these into your hospital bag to keep your hair off your face when the time comes.
7. Mobile Phone – multi-functional use for calls, camera and video (make sure you’ve cleared some unwanted apps so you have plenty of memory!)
8. Back up battery/Charger – many hospitals don’t allow you to plug in your own devices so one of these portable batteries are a great idea and they’re useful to keep on you afterwards for emergencies. I’ve spotted some in the Superdrug January sales in store too.
9. Slippers/Flip flops – they don’t need to be new and fancy just something to keep your feet warm and off the floor. I love my Andres Machado’s as they have a proper sole which has proven useful for when I need to pop out to the bins quickly – not just for my hospital bag.
10. Dressing Gown – if you’re having a home birth you’ll still need something warm to cover up with after the birth but it also means you don’t have to spend loads on specialist feeding clothing if you plan to breast feed.
11. PJs – keep it comfy and baggy. If you’re having a C section you might want to ensure that they have an elasticated waist too so add these to your hospital bag checklist and maybe a spare pair for “just in case”.
12. Underwear – just buy a multi-pack from the supermarket for your hospital bag in case you have to throw some away but don’t buy disposable ones as you’ll definitely throw these away.
13. Maternity Pads – I prefer to go cloth on a number of items to reduce financial and environmental costs. You can get really good quality reusable pads and there’s growing evidence to suggest that the lack of chemicals used next to your lady bits can reduce the length of time bleeding as well as reduce the severity of after-pains and period pains. This is a great set to get started with.
14. Breast Pads – as above I prefer cloth ones made from bamboo which are washable so reusable but more hygienic and softer on your skin too. I highly recommend getting a few pairs as its surprising how quickly you will need to change them. These are a useful set as they come with their own laundry bag too.
15. Toiletries – just use up what you have at home rather than spend on travel size products. Per ml they are SO much more expensive! If you don’t have room in your toiletry bag for all your full sized products, just decant some of each into smaller bottles – buying a set of these still works out cheaper and you can reuse them. Include a soft sponge too for dabbing your lady parts after birth.
16. Baby Wipes – most midwives don’t recommend using regular wet wipes on new borns so I recommend three alternatives; either Water Wipes which are totally chemical free and you can buy in bulk off sites like Amazon, cotton wool and water (just don’t buy the cotton wool balls as they shrink to nothing! Buy cotton wool pads instead) or you can go cloth again with reusable wipes from Cheeky Wipes (I have these and they’re genius).
17. Nappies – have a mixture of new born and size 1 in your hospital bag just in case as you can’t guarantee the size of your baby even if you’ve had a recent growth scan! I prefer Aldi’s Mamia range for disposable or Bambino Mio Solos for all-in-one really simple to use and wash cloth nappies. The great thing about Bambino Mio Solos is that they adjust so they’re suitable from newborn up to potty training so you save hundreds if not thousands by buying reusable nappies – especially if you go on to use them with a second or third child etc. and they retain a value too so you can resell once your little ones are toilet trained. I’m on a mission this year to make more use of our cloth nappies! To save yet more money, consider joining your local nappy library.
Find your local one on this map. Plus they’re super cute!
18. Baby Clothes – there really is no significant difference between baby sleepsuits and babygrows just some might have feet in or attached mittens so don’t stress about needing separate PJs for baby etc but do have a couple of different sizes to hand. You’re likely to be bought outfits as gifts so avoid stocking up on too many items as they grow that quickly some things will never get worn. For the same reason, don’t de-tag and wash everything in preparation. If things go unworn and then you’re looking to resell, they’ll maintain more value with their tags still attached.
19. Muslin Cloths – buy quality over quantity with these ones. With ThriftyBaby I bought loads of them in the Aldi Baby & Toddler event and after on wash they shrank and weirdly wrinkled up loads too. However muslin clothes are so versatile for mopping up sicky messes, make great impromptu changing mats or blankets, bed sheets, lovely coverall if you’re breastfeeding, emergency sarong for baby when they’ve already pooped/vommed all over their spare outfits whilst you’ve still out for lunch (yup been there more than once!), great for using as a bib later on and if you buy large ones you can then use for swaddling too.
I recently received a lovely pack of Muslin Swaddle Blankets from new business Tiny Chipmunk to try out and I’m so pleased to have come across them. Basically they’re huge and perfect for swaddling but they’re made from ultra soft bamboo too so both sustainable and have natural hygienic properties. The box even comes with advice on how to actually swaddle a baby properly too – think Mexican fajita and you won’t go far wrong! Reach for one of these rather than going straight for a wet wipe when your baby has had an accident and you’ll save yourself lots of money and the environment at the same time. They would also make for a gorgeous baby shower gift if you’re looking for something useful and pretty.
20. Towel – Just take/have an old one you already have on hand for your hospital bag. If you’re planning a water birth at home then ask around friends and family for any beach towels they can lend you.
21. Medication/Vitamins/Essential Oils – take anything with you that you’re already prescribed or planning to use and stock up on pain killers from places like Aldi or Lidl. If you’re having a hospital birth they’ll provide you with them if needed but you may need to wait for someone to bring them to you plus the cost on the NHS to provide them is so much more than buying a few packs locally at 16p each, so you can do them a favour with this one too!
*And don’t forget your birth plan if you have one (which I highly recommend you do!) Make sure you print off a few copies for your hospital bag, even if you’re planning a home birth as there may be a change over of midwives during your labour and you wouldn’t want the plan to go missing part way through.
Obviously there are plenty of other things which you might want to gather together ready for your baby’s appearance but I think the above sums up the essentials which will keep your costs down. If there’s anything else which you think should be on the list though I would love to read about it in the comments below or over on my Facebook page.
**Disclosure – this post contains some affiliate links. Tiny Chipmunk kindly sent me some of their bamboo muslin swaddle blankets to review and my inclusion of them in this list is an honest reflection of my opinion of the quality of this product and therefore I am happy to recommend them as a business and as an ideal purchase for use with your baby.