What’s in My Hospital Bag? Summer Baby Edition, 2020

Thursday, 20 February 2020
I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy compiling my maternity bag checklist and then refining it and changing it again. Now that our baby girl has arrived I have also added a section of things I wish I had packed in my hospital bag and my most used items which I am so glad I had on hand. Packing my hospital bag was both so exciting and surreal, it felt like I was packing for the best holiday of my life (except I was taking maternity pads rather than bikinis!). If you are a mama or packing your bags, you will know what I mean.

This hospital bag checklist can be used by anyone but has been specifically tweaked for having a baby in the summer, as well as having a baby at Parklands Hospital, South Africa where I gave birth as I couldn’t find a list online outlining what was provided in the South African private hospitals and what wasn’t. I have made notes where applicable so you can either ignore these or use them as needed. My hospital said for a natural birth I could expect to spend two nights in hospital and for a c-section, three nights. So, although I was hoping for a natural birth, I packed for an extra day in case of unforeseen circumstances.  

I ended up packing a total of four bags. It sounds excessive but hear me out! These are the four bags I packed: A small cabin size suitcase for myself that can be locked and kept in the ward while I am in the labour suite, a tote bag with items I might need / want to reach for during labour and that I can easily access, a bag for the baby and a bag for my husband. 




NETCELLS

If this is something you have signed up for, make sure you notify your Dr beforehand.
  • Netcells Box


DOCUMENTS

Take the below if your baby’s birth can be registered in hospital.
  • Both parent’s ID books
  • Medical aid card
  • Black pen


FOR BABY

BABY - GEAR

  • Car seat installed and ready in your car. You cannot leave the hospital without a car seat so fit this a few days before. 


BABY - CLOTHES

I packed a few different sizes of baby clothes between newborn and 0-3 months as I wasn’t sure how big this baby would be on their arrival. This is an area I thought it better to have too much than too little being a first time mom.

  • 2x Baby beanie (Provided by Parklands Hospital)
  • 3x Baby grow long sleeve - better if wrap style and not over head
  • 3x Baby grow short sleeve - better if wrap style and not over head
  • 1x Baby mittens
  • 2x Blanket - light muslin / receiving blanket (Provided by Parklands Hospital)
  • 1x Blanket - warm (Provided by Parklands Hospital)
  • 1x Going home outfit
  • 3x Sleepsuits (with feet preferably)
  • 2x Socks

BABY - TOILETRIES

Your hospital might supply some of these products, so it is always best to ask them what they provide first. Although I am planning on using cloth nappies, I thought the logistics of trying to figure out how to store dirty nappies to be washed later was too much for me as a first time mom so I plan on using disposables in the hospital. I also wanted to use the water wipes and a natural nipple balm so opted to bring my own rather than use a brand I didn’t want on my baby’s skin or in their mouth.

  • A natural / organic nipple balm, even coconut oil
  • Cotton wool to clean umbilical cord area (Provided by Parklands)
  • Gentle baby wash, I used Pure Beginnings, this gift set was really nice to take
  • Nail file / baby nail clippers
  • Small bag of newborn / Size 0 nappies (Provided by Parklands)
  • Wetwipes (Provided by Parklands)
  • NOTE - Surgical spirits are no longer recommended to clean the umbilical cord area so you will use water and cotton wool only


FOR MOM

Comfort is key. You will be in a lot of pain and discomfort regardless of how you give birth, you won’t want anything tight fitting. I found I couldn't even put on undies after my c-section, never mind high waist leggings. Instead I opted for easy access breastfeeding clothes and soft fabrics. As my baby is being born in peak summer, loose dresses were the most comfortable and they also made me feel put together with minimum effort when we had visitors pop around. The maternity ward is quite hot as they seem to keep it warm for the babies so make sure you don’t only pack longs, regardless of the season. 

MOM - CLOTHES


  • 1x Going home outfit / lose fitting dress easy to breastfeed in
  • 2x Light comfy dress for during day/ lose fitting dress easy to breastfeed in
  • 1x Light weight gown (although I preferred using the hospital gowns as there was blood that leaked and they were baggy and comfy)
  • 3x Nursing bras
  • 1x Nightie (you can just use the hospital gowns too if you need to save space)
  • 1x Pair of sandals / slip on shoes
  • 1x Pair of slops for shared shower areas
  • 1x Pair of slippers
  • 3x High waist undies (Parklands give you really comfy disposable undies, I only ended up using these)
*in winter you can swap the dresses for comfy joggers and loose tops.


MOM - TOILETRIES

  • 1x Dark face cloth (towels are provided by the hospital, but you might want your own face cloth).
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume
  • Ear plugs (if you have a shared room these will help block out extra noise)
  • Eye mask for sleeping (I didn't end up using one but if I had a shared room I might  have)
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair dryer (I didn't end up using this but if I had had a natural birth and sweated a lot during labour I would have wanted to wash and dry my hair)
  • Hair band
  • Lip balm
  • Make up – I kept it simple with BB cream, blush, eyebrow gel & lip tint
  • 6x Maternity disposable hospital panties (Provided by Parklands)
  • 1x pack Maternity pads (with wings so they stay in place) (Provided by Parklands)
  • Reusable breast pads 
  • Shampoo and Conditioner (in small bottles)
  • Shower gel / soap
  • Skincare - face wash, eye cream, moisturiser and face spray
  • Small hand / body lotion
  • Spay/ Squirt bottle to help wee if you have natural birth
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Witch hazel & Aloe gel to put on maternity pads if you have a natural birth


MOM - EXTRAS

  • Bag for dirty clothes
  • Book
  • Cash – R100
  • Gum or mints
  • Healthy snacks (Mrs Milk bars, nuts, dried fruit, Arbonne energy fizz stix)
  • Towel to sit on in the car (in case water breaks)
  • A large bottle with a straw. I didn’t have space for one but I heard a lot of mamas liked having this to easily sip on in between contractions. Kauai and Woolworths both have really nice bottle options with a straw.

ELECTRONICS

  • Battery fairy lights OR touch night light (hospital room can be too bright in middle of the night for feeds)
  • Camera
  • Camera batteries
  • Camera charger
  • Cell phone
  • Cell phone charger
  • Double Adaptor
  • Downloaded hypnobirthing / calm music playlists for labour
  • Headphones
  • Power bank – fully charged

*A breast pump is something you might want to take as well. Mine is too bulky and I don’t plan on pumping straight away. However if I do have issues breastfeeding I can always send a family member home to bring it to the hospital.


FOR DAD

Your husband / partner may be able to stay with you in hospital depending on the country / what type of room you get. At Parklands Hospital dads cannot stay over, even if you have a private room so we didn't end up using the bag I had packed for Brett. However this is what was in his bag:


DAD - CLOTHES

  • 1x pair of shoes
  • 1x jersey
  • 1x joggers / comfy lounge pants
  • 3x shirts
  • 2x shorts
  • 3x undies

DAD - TOILETRIES

  • Cologne
  • Deodorant
  • Hair gel
  • Toothbrush

DAD - EXTRAS

  • Blanket - leave in the car but take in case hospital’s is thin and cold
  • Pillow - leave in car but just in case hospital’s is thin and horrible
  • Book - there is a lot of time to kill in hospital 

MOST USED ITEMS

  • The battery powered, plastic fairy lights I had bought from Woolworths. These were so nice to have on hand. I wrapped them around the rail of the hospital bed so I could easily turn them on and off and these made night time feeds so calming without a bright, glaring hospital light being switched on
  • Mrs Milk Bars
  • Book - you have so much time in between feeds and even during feeds that it was nice to have something to do. The TV in my room was small, blurry and at an awkward angle so I didn't end up watching this and read instead
  • Baby's own blankets. Although the hospital provides baby blankets, I like having her own so she could get used to these 
  • Power bank. There were no spare plug points close to the bed and as you cannot move, being bale to charge your phone without getting up was so handy
  • Baby grows with mittens. A new born baby has such sharp nails and tend to scratch their face all the time. loose mittens seem too big and don't stay on

WHAT I WISHED I HAD PACKED

  • A Hakka. When your milk starts to comes in on the 3rd / 4th day your breasts can feel so full and I had a lot of leaking. I wish I had had a Hakka to help with the let down and engorgement
  • A teeny newborn dummy. Our baby girl battled to settle in hospital and I had only packed a 0-6 months BIBS dummy. It turns out these are huge for a newborn so she couldn't suck on it
  • Another two or three sets of reusable breast pads as I had a lot of milk come in and was going through these quickly

Dog Friendly Accommodation - Eco Karoo Lodge

Monday, 20 January 2020

If you follow me on Instagram you will know we went on our first family road trip across South Africa, from Durban to Cape Town. As Benji is a senior rescue, I wanted him to have the most incredible adventure and it was also our last family holiday as 3 before Baby Airey arrives so we took a slow drive over 2 weeks, stopping at little towns (including some we had never heard of!) and soaking in all the beauty that South Africa has to offer. This was hand’s down one of my favourite holidays I have ever been on! I will do more in depth blog posts about the route we took, tips for traveling with a dog, the hotels, AirbnBs and lodges we stayed at and all that jazz but I wanted to do a dedicated blog post about the Eco Karoo Lodge, as my DMs were filled with questions about where this was and what it was like when I shared where we were. 


A lot of man hours were put into finding the best dog friendly accommodation to stay at. Let me tell you, it was no easy task but all that research paid off as one of the gems we found was the Eco Karoo Lodge. Even though I am a dog owner, I don’t want to stay somewhere that smells like a dog, has dog hair everywhere or has any evidence that a dog before ours was there. Do you know what I mean? And the Eco Karoo Lodge exceeded all my expectations of what dog friendly accommodation can be.


Situated on a family owned farm, Knoffelfontein, is the new Eco Karoo Lodge which is self-catering, 100% off the grid and tucked away in the vast landscape of the Karoo surrounded by mountains and endless semi desert plains. There are only three lodges, each with two rooms and an en-suite bathroom. There is also a shared braai and entertainment area with a fully equipped kitchen and plunge pool. The rooms have been designed to echo the natural surroundings of the landscape with exposed bricks, wood and cement accents, an open fire and an outdoor shower. It is simply beautiful. At night the stars shine brighter here and seem to kiss the earth while all you can hear is the stillness of the night. We witnessed a storm rolling in while sitting on our patio one night and I cannot even describe in words how beautiful it was. There are some things that cannot be put into words, only experienced and there is something about being under the African sky, in the middle of nowhere that is so good for the soul.


WHEN TO GO

I would say anytime of the year as it must be so warm and cosy having the fire going during winter and curling up with a good book or making smores at the fire pit. This would also make an amazing Christmas / New Year group booking if you got a few close friends or family together and hired all 3 lodges.

DOG FRIENDLY

This was a 10/10 according to Benji. He had 4200 hectares of open space and loved going on the trail walks without a leash. He even met a tortoise for the first time. He really was living his best Jock of the Bushveld life here. However, just make sure your dog listens to basic commands and isn’t a roamer as you wouldn’t want them wondering off only to never be seen again so ensure you only stay here with a dog who listens, especially if they spot one of the local buck!


WHAT TO DO

  • Birdwatching
  • Stargazing
  • Mountain biking
  • Trail walks or hiking
  • Relax
Estee and Bert were the most welcoming hosts and one of them will meet you on arrival so you can always ask them if there is anything else you are interested in.


WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

You are in the middle of nowhere so make sure you bring your own food and drinks. There isn’t much in Luckhoff that we found in terms of food supplies so I would suggest stocking up in one of the bigger towns on your way there.  There is an honesty jar for firewood you might need to use, and Henry is available on site. He is such a lovely chap and will help make a fire for you if needed. As mentioned, there is a fully equipped kitchen with plates, knifes, forks, a kettle etc. so no need to bring those.


TOP TIP

Take a good book, your swimsuit and your walking shoes as there are walking / hiking trails you can go on and if you would rather just relax and do nothing, this is the perfect spot to do that as well.

The Eco Karoo Lodge is now one of my favourite places to stay at and I cannot wait to return one day. Only next time, I will make sure we stay longer! 

Dis-Chem Baby Bag - 2020

Friday, 10 January 2020

If you read my last blog post about Discovery Medical Aid andMaternity Benefits you would have seen one of the perks you can qualify for is a FREE baby bag from Dis-Chem. If you are not sure how to go about getting your baby bag, read this post first with everything you need to know.

I picked up my baby bag from Dis-Chem earlier this week and thought I would share it with you in case you want to know what it looks like for 2020 and what goodies you get.

THE BABY BAG

I must say I am pleasantly surprised with how beautifully designed this baby bag is. Let’s be honest, usually freebies are cheap and no one ever really gets proper use of out the items. However, I love the gender neutral colour combo of dove grey and light beige. It looks chic and not kitsch. The handles are faux leather (great for anyone who is vegan) and the bag itself feels like it is made out of some sort of durable canvas and could easily be wiped down.  The zips seem well made, there is a compartment on the side for a bottle, inside is a net pocket to put any smaller bis and bobs and it also comes with a small grey changing mat, made out of the same canvas type material.  If I didn’t already have a baby bag I wouldn’t mind carry this around at all. I am going to give this one to my mom so that even granny can have a dedicated baby bag which I think will make her feel so special.

Free Dis-Chem baby bag - 2020

WHAT’S IN THE BAG?

  • Pack of 6 Softi maternity pads
  • Pack of 3 Dis-Chem ladies disposable underwear
  • Pair of Pigeon disposable breast pads
  • Sample of Natur Vital Hair S.O.S shampoo
  • 5 new born disposable nappies (I think these are Pampers)
  • Pack of 80 Honey Baby wet wipes
  • Pack of 150 disposable baby nappy bags
  • 60ml bottle So Pure gentle baby laundry wash
  • 50ml bottle Dis-Chem surgical spirits
  • Pack of 10 cotton balls
  • 50ml bottle Palmers massage lotion for stretch marks
  • Sample tub of Bennetts baby aqueous cream
  • Sample tub of Bennetts baby bum crème
  • X1 Tommee tippee dummy
  • Tweezers
Products for mom & baby 


Our Gender-Neutral Baby Shower

Friday, 3 January 2020

The first trimester was the longest. Then I blinked and well hello third trimester! I cannot believe we are going to be welcoming baby Airey into our world in 7 weeks. Somebody pinch me.

Brett and I decided to host our own baby shower as I always find expecting someone ese to do something for you and being the centre of attention rather awkward and he didn’t want to have a nappy braai, (is that something only South Africans do?) so we decided to plan the baby shower ourselves to reflect us rather than tradition. Our goal was to have couples, kiddies and all dogs welcome. The first two groups pitched up, Benji was very disappointed with the lack of dogs though.

Our venue was Brett’s family home which they built 30 odd years ago and it’s one of my favourite places to spend time at with so many memories made there. I wanted this to be a hassle-free afternoon surrounded by those we love rather than a stressful event. So, I roped the moms in to help with cooking and baking (although there were a few store bought treats like macaroons because how does one even make those!) And Brett prepared a fillet on the braai for the non-veggies. I heard the Portuguese rolls he made we phenomenal!

Here is a glimpse into our Baby Shower and all the finer details in case you are planning a gender neutral, DIY baby shower and need a little inspiration.

Our most loved friends & family 

All hands on deck to set up 

Pims master and the Chef

DÉCOR

Italy has always been one of our favourite countries and having had our small, intimate wedding there this place will always be close to our hearts. I wanted to channel a modern, Italian twist into the general décor which was bought to life by my mother in law with her beautiful floral arrangements. She is not a florist although she sure should be as she is extremely talented and arranged the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen! We didn’t play any baby games and rather made this into a summer soiree which we knew we would enjoy more. As we are having a surprise, I just wanted lots of colour so we didn’t have one colour scheme to work with but I think the splash of colours worked out perfectly.

The table decor

My mother in law's gorgeous flowers she put together 

FOOD

  • Bruschettas 4 ways: Strawberry & Balsmaic, Hummus & Carnalised Onion, Mushroom, Tomatoes, Basil & Mozzarella.
  • Goats Cheese with Honey & Walnuts tarts
  • Harvest board with a variety of cheeses (Woolworths stocks a variety of interesting pasteurised cheeses), fruits, olives, dips, crackers and pitta breads. I love a good harvest board!
  • Spinach & feta quiche.
  • Portuguese Steak Rolls
  • Milk Tart and Lemon Meringue Pie (these are our two favourite homemade cakes)
  • Bar One cake topped with raspberries
  • Macaroons
  • Pasteis de Nata aka “Portuguese tarts” (another firm favourite)
Macaroons

Harvest board with all pasteurised cheeses

DRINKS


  • Pims
  • Six Dogs Gin and Tonics
  • Water jugs flavoured with fruits
  • Lemonade
Six Dogs Gin, bought purely for the packaging

Our first born Benji


DRESS

Maybe the fact that I am wearing blue is a subconscious message but, in all honesty, I just love the colour blue and white together. This dress was designed and made by Bianca Warren. Her brief was “something with a bow” and she come up with this beautiful creation. It started out full-length and as it got hotter, we just cut the hem so I had two looks in one day! I thought I wanted something loose and flowy but Bianca was adamant a fitted dress would be more flattering even though I feel like a little whale but I am so glad I listened to her and gave her full creative licence with this dress because I LOVED it.

Our family portrait 

PHOTOGRAPHY

As much as I love the grannies, I just knew having them walk around capturing the day on their iPads wasn’t going to quite capture this special day and I wanted everyone to be present rather than trying to get pictures so I called on the lovely Maresha Lee from Maresha Lee Photography. Since shooting this day, she has become a full-time photographer and I cannot recommend her enough. She caught the sweetest moments of our family, friends and their little ones. I haven’t shared them on here to protect their privacy but have a squiz through her website to see the beauty she captures.

MAKEUP

I have mentioned Amber-Lea Horne here before and she is now my go to girl for make-up in Durban North. I needed all the help I could get covering the bags under my eyes!

Dress designed & made by Bianca Warren

INSPIRATION

I have saved my Baby Shower Mood Board here for you if you need some more inspiration for a baby shower you might be planning. If you are expecting a little one soon, congratulations! And if you were like me desperately trying a few months ago, know that I am routing for you and sending you all my love and positive vibes. It’s not an easy silent battle when you trying to get pregnant and it doesn’t happen right away, but you really are not alone. So, if it is taking a little longer, hang in there.

The one who first made me a mom

xoxo