I have packed my hospital bag ready. So many things!
Before I got pregnant I just thought I would walk to the hospital, give birth and come home and now when I am in the middle of it I have learned that you actually have to bring everything with you..at least here in England. Must haves are baby’s nappies and clothes, nursing bras, nighty, old t-shirt and some cozy clothes..
This is, however, the full list we got:
- Baby clothes, 3 short and 3 long baby grows, 3 beanies, socks and mittens
- Baby blanket
- Nappies, cotton wool and sunflower oil
- Car seat
- T shirt or nightdress. Partners: light clothing as labour wards very hot, and non-slip footwear
- Thick socks in case woman’s feet get cold
- Dressing gown, slippers
- Old knickers, nursing bras, clothes to go home
- Maternity notes, birth plan
- Books, magazines, music (ipod as there are speakers you can connect it to)
- Your own pillow(s) which smell of your home
- Food & drink for both of you (peaches, pears, glucose sweets, fruit drinks)
- Lavender/clary sage/other essential oils for labour, lipbalm
- Massage aids
- TENS m/c and batteries
I wanted to have Finnish clothes for my baby, I know, sounds a bit silly but I kind of thought it would be nice to wrap her in small Finnish baby clothes so I bought Tutta (Reima’s baby clothes) baby grows. They had amazing ones on sale right after Christmas and coincidentally koala printed ones so my dear Aussie husband was happy that we could dress her in small Finnish koala baby grows. I have to say I love these, they are so cute!
I was also happy to get the Finnish maternity pack. Unlike the official Finnish residents I had to pay a tiny bit for it but it was quite token so I was happy to do that just to get the maternity pack 🙂 Now when living overseas I have actually realised how amazing system Finland has as the government subsidises this kind of maternity pack for all the pregnant women, and this is for every child not only for the first one. This maternity pack includes basically different size clothes for baby during its first year. It has everything from snowsuits and rompers to thermometers, reusable nappies and hairbrushes. It is an excellent starter pack and gives you a good idea what you will need. I have seen on the discussion forums on the internet Finnish women critisising the maternity pack, colour of the clothes etc. but as an expat Finn I cannot understand this. In all the other countries you have to buy everything yourself so if the colour of the clothes does not please you, I still think it is a pretty fantastic thing to get the clothes for free, so I wouldn’t whinge openly about it. If any of those women lived overseas for a while and realised they do not get the guaranteed Finnish maternity pay (75% of your salary if working for the last 6 months) for 9 months but only a few hundred per month and no maternity pack I think their whinging would stop.
For example in England the statutory maternity pay is 90% for the first six weeks and after that a few hundred per month. Sometimes you don’t even get this if you work for a small company that refuses to pay maternity money. Then when returning to work the childcare is £1800 (approx 2000e) per month so the mother needs to earn super well to have any money left in each month after paying the childcare -rather crazy isn’t it. Of course if you are working in the City for a bank or some huge company you may have a fantastic maternity pack included in your contract but this is not the usual case. Being so, I sometimes feel we Finns are used to things being so good that we easily forget that the things we take for granted do not exist in many other countries.
Anyway, I am now ready to pop with my hospital bag sitting next to the door.