Sunday, 17 September 2017

How To: Pack a Hospital Bag

Despite coming around this mountain a third time, when I finally got thinking about packing a bag (around 39+ weeks), I could not for the life of me remember what should be included. I don't know why, but it always seems to happen this way. Add to this that you get offered so many baby bags/boxes from hospitals, stores and medical aids, and you can feel even more confused (at least, I did). so you inevitably end up calling a friend or posting an online SOS asking what exactly needs to be in one.

So here, for future reference (probably not mine), is a list of what should be covered - and before I even start, let me just say that I have opted to pack a small (hand luggage size) suitcase instead of a bag, as it's much easier to see into and access without emptying the entire contents over the hospital bed.

For Mom

Unless you enjoy pumping that hospital soap dispenser twenty times per wash, pack your own shower stuff. Remember to keep it mild and fragrance free for the delicate areas, and to include a cloth or sponge as these are not provided. Also pack shampoo and conditioner, as there's a 99% chance you will want to wash your hair. And don't forget your toothbrush and toothpaste.

You'll need your deodorant, body lotion and hairbrush (don't forget extra hair ties). Lay off the heavy perfumes though. New babies prefer the natural smell of their mommy. Except for lip balm (that is essential when feeling dehydrated) I would also keep make up to a minimum (but that's maybe just me; I hear other mommies pack a lot of that in - for the visitors and photos etc.), and have a small nail kit handy to trim growing nails while working with Baby.

Maternity Wear
You'll need those lovely maternity pads - lots of them (you're likely to be using about three at a time). You can wear ordinary underwear, however, I found that the maternity knickers seem designed to fit those massive pads, so I go with those initially. You'll also need breastpads for when your milk comes in. The washable ones are pretty handy, but I'd go with disposable while in hospital to save you the hassle. A light pyjamas (hospitals are really warm inside) or nursing top (either the strappy kind, or something that is button down in the front) is great for after the birth. If you're planning to labour and deliver vaginally though, bring the oldest t-shirt you have to birth in. Socks also come in handy (compression socks if you're having a c-section), and you should have slops or slippers to walk around in while in hospital. You will obviously need something to wear when you leave hospital as well. Try to remember that while you will no longer have Baby in your belly, you may not be able to fit into those pre-preggie designer outfits just yet.

If you have one, pack your birth plan, and whatever else you need for your labour time. Don't rely on getting snacks and water during the labour period from the hospital itself. It can be time consuming and expensive (not to mention that it requires your birth partner to leave) to do it this way. Pack in some energy-boosters that are not heavy on the system, and that you easily just pop into your mouth to eat. Once Baby has arrived, you may also want a notebook and pen with you so you can jot down the one million things you'll have in your head and heart that you'll want to remember later on. You will need to pack in your phone charger, and very importantly a suitable adapter (hospitals don't readily give these out, if at all). The same goes for earphones so that you can actually get some sound for your middle of the night tv viewing. I found it also helped to have a book to read or crossword puzzle to do between visiting hours when - if you're not sleeping and Baby is - you can have something stimulating to do. If you have a feeding pillow that you plan to use, bring that too. I found it incredibly useful in the hospital.

For Baby

The biggest things are nappies (I highly recommend the Huggies newborn because of the super cool and convenience cutaway at the navel that accommodates the clamp) and wipes (sensitive and fragrance free). You will need surgical spirits and cotton pads to clean Baby's navel, but I wouldn't stress too much about all the other things like powder, aqueous cream, bottom butter etc.; they aren't essential.

With the hospital being as warm as it is inside, more often that not, babies will just wear a clip vest and get wrapped in a blanket. Some hospitals supply this, but if you'd rather have your own, pack it in. Also pack in a beanie and a pair of socks. Have a going home outfit option (or two), and an extra blanket for when you head outside. Once again, a nail scissor is handy (especially if your baby has baked a little longer than expected; their nails are usually longer too).

ps. Don't forget, when going home, you will need a car seat - hospitals will not let you leave without this, and rightfully so.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Photo Update: Zac's Paw Patrol Pizza Party

A Paw Patrol Pizza Party, have you ever? Well, that's what you get when you have a child wanting a pizza-making party (following that holiday club experience he had in April), who is still completely obsessed with those pups!

Not that he mentioned his desire for this fusion party from start. Initially it was just a pizza making party, and we went through three different invitations:

Then he remembered he actually wanted the Paw Patrol present, and so the invitation was edited to look like this (thank God for

Being Zac's first real class party, although we didn't want to go all out crazy, we wanted to give them all a good time. And so we also had to choose an appropriate cake - not the easiest task when your child professes to have a cake allergy.

In the end, we decided to keep it simple by doing the following:

Party Table:
My experience has been that kids don't actually eat all that much when they're at a party. So I decided to keep the treats minimal, and carefully selected them to fit with the theme (and our budget):

Parents Snacks:
Being the middle of winter, I decided to make a pot of soup and get a couple quiches for snacks, and added some 'pupcorn' and 'bones' for nibbles. There was also more than enough hot and cold drink options.

Main Activity:
In order to make the most of the time, and fulfill Zac's pizza-making dreams, we had each child make their own pizza using basic dough, tomato sauce, cheese and bone-shaped salami. We started with this so that the kids could play while the pizzas all baked. We also decided not to do party boxes, and rather allowed the kids to take their pizza and birthday cake home if they wanted.

Things To Do:
We had to prepare for the possibility of rain, so we were in a big hall that the kids could play in. But the weather was fantastic, and it was wonderful to bask in the sun. We had a Paw Patrol colouring-in station, and a large garden area for the kids to run around playing ball games in.

And in the end, everyone seemed to have a good time - if these two are anything to go by!

Special thanks to:
Yaya for arranging the hall
Uncle PJ and Aunty Ash for the pre-party prep assistance, in particular, the pizza dough and biscuits
Uncle Lee and Aunty Ilana for helping with the party set up and taking pics 
Aunty Dom for cutting bone shaped everything
Uncle Ricardo for two awesome pizza cakes (one for the actual birthday on Sunday) 
Steffi for helping with Sam, even through a poo-explosion at the party
Daddy for not losing the plot when Mommy was