Forget what they told you about packing Champagne.
The Baby Bag, a symbol of completion and order. To have used one means that you’ve successfully gone through pregnancy and proudly delivered your baby. It’s also one of the few things you actually have complete control over. Plan well, pack every possible thing you’ll need but pack lightly. You might need an overnight bag or neat little cabin suitcase or two. I shopped the contents of said bag five months into my pregnancy. My baby would be bundled up like a little prince. I would indulge in beauty treats, lounge in luxurious comfy clothes and sip Champagne in the comfort of my hotel like room. All this for no more than two days.
The reality – our son was delivered two months early by emergency Caesarean section. We stayed at neonatal for just over two weeks but that’s a story for another day. I relied on hospital issue liquid soap from a dispenser those first two days, and changed into a clean hospital nightdress each time I had been away from intensive care. All my baby and I really needed was to be clean and healthy. He wore a diaper and was wrapped in what was then the sweetest swaddling cloth ever. We were not allowed to dress him in clothes from outside the hospital. The scent of olive oil on his skin (instead of the one I had chosen) reminded me of a delicious loaf of farmhouse bread. I took joy in clean socks on my feet while cuddling my precious bundle for as long as I could. The level of care and attention shown by medical staff was worth gold. All we needed to cope was hope. Yes I know it rhymes with soap.
“The Bag” by the way, was packed away in storage since the apartment was home styled and prepped for sale at the same time.
Once home, a reunion with “The Bag” was glorious. The contents carry me to this day since the sleepless nights continue six months down the line. Our boy’s corrected age is four months and he still wakes hourly to feed. He is amazingly well and healthy and I am thoroughly moisturised. So many new moms in my mamma group wish that such groups existed prior to having your first child – which brand of this or that to buy, what you really need etc. I think that it is important to pack the things which will help make you feel prepared for the joyous arrival of your baby. You might want just the right hairbands, loose comfortable clothing, warm socks, chocolate (I wanted dried mango), a Spotify playlist of your favourite sounds or music. I know that friends offer magazines and books but really? I can’t say that I managed to read a page of the glossy wine magazines given me by a darling.
The Baby Bag is often followed by the hunt for a good stroller bag. I started eyeing baby bags on strollers soon after I found out I was expecting our little boy. Beautiful, colourful prints on bags everywhere yet horribly impractical and sagging. I watched a dad dive head first into the mouth of a too deep designer yellow and white bag. He didn’t find what he was looking for.
I now have a slim line utilitarian (read plain) black bag with an ever so handy change mat. Practical and pleasing enough is what works for me these days.
What helped me choose just that plain bag over the others? My top 5 reasons:
- It was the right size. Big enough to hold everything I’d need for baby yet compact. No digging deeply for anything.
- I wanted a unique pattern – the babyshop trendy designers all had adorable bags, but I soon noticed the same designs everywhere. Plain became the new black with a bonus striped red lining.
- Could I clean it easily? Pastel coloured canvas and my limited available time did not want me worrying about cleaning a bag.
- I wanted a bag that could hang on the handle bars of the stroller so did not opt for the very handy organiser which could hold just the essentials out in the open. I am one of those who feel a sense of achievement when the storage compartment of my stroller is empty or at least close to it.
- It had a foldable, padded changing mat with its own little compartment. Bliss!
Like with most things in life, follow what works for you. The idea is to make things simple and get on with the important business of taking care of your darling little one.