What to pack in your hospital bag

One of my friends is due to have her first baby next month and we got on chatting about what she’s planning to pack in her hospital bag. As she ran through her list of cute outfits and mother and baby essentials, it dawned on me just how differently I’d packed for our second baby compared to our first. First time around, I packed everything but the kitchen sink, only to find I hardly needed any of it and was missing loads of essentials that none of the online checklists had covered. It felt like those first few precious days back home as a family were cut short as I sent my hubby back and forth to town for the bits and bobs I didn’t realise I needed after the birth.


what to pack in your hospital bag

As I started to pull together a list for my friend, I came across an amazing start-up called Ricair Maternity Care. It turns out that Claire Kinsella, the clever mumpreneur behind the Irish brand, recognised that many first-time mums get caught out like I did, so she set up a business (just 12 days after giving birth to her second baby!!) that provides pre-made hospital hampers with everything in them, including all those ‘secret’ recovery items you only find out about once you’ve given birth. When I saw what goes into all her gift sets, I couldn’t help but think she’s a lady who’s been there, done that and nailed a totally amazing business idea.

Welcome to the Topfivemum Interview Series

When I started my blog, my intention was to use it as a way to get to know and share the insider ‘top five tips’ for parents, by parents and other experts in pregnancy, birth and parenting (i.e. nearly as knowledgeable as mums and dads). After all, everyone has top five tips on something to share (if you have top five tips on fussy eaters, I want to hear from you NOW!) I starting chatting to Claire by email and suggested I feature her as my first guest. After all, who would be better placed to advise me on what to get for my friend instead of the usual cuddly comforter (cute but totally useless. Just being honest. Unless you got us one. In which case, we loved them and used them ALL the time!)

After chatting for a while by email and looking at her gorgeous maternity hampers online, I realised every pregnant woman needs to add Ricair Maternity Care to their little list of maternity contacts. Helpfully, every mum has one, it’s just a shame it’s after giving birth. In my case, Ricair would be right up there with the herbalist who loaned me a TENS machine and introduced me to dandelion tincture (for blocked little bots), the midwife who turns breach babies and the reflexologist who got things moving when I was 41 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Claire is someone you can turn to for the real list of hospital bag essentials.

‘Topfivemum’ interview with Ricair Maternity care

Here are my five questions with Clare. I hope you enjoy finding out more about her and don’t forget to add her to your little book of maternity contacts.

1. Tell me a bit about your business

Ricair Maternity Care is an online retailer of luxury pre-packed hospital hampers and deluxe maternity giftsets. Our hampers bring together all the hospital essentials & maternity’s ‘best kept secrets’ whilst adding luxury pampering items such as VOYA skincare & Sophie the Giraffe for the complete maternity gift. Together with our unique giftset range Ricair Maternity Care has the full selection of perfect gifts for mums-to-be.

2. What inspired you to start your business?

Claire KinsellaGetting your hospital bag together can be a challenge no matter how organised you are. It’s exciting getting the baby essentials together, but what about mum? Going to all the different chemists to complete the list of items you’ll need can be time consuming and costly, not to mention that everything you need might not be on the list! Enter the “secret list” – those midwife recommended items that you only hear about after having your baby, and new dads everywhere are sent from hospital maternity wards in desperate search for.  Like many, that was my experience in 2013 when I had my first boy Sean.  

This prompted the idea of our hospital hampers for mums-to-be or anyone wanting to give a very practical yet luxury welcome gift to an expecting mum. What had started as a gift to family and friends developed into a sound business opportunity.  Whilst pregnant with baby Ben I really decided that there is no perfect time to start a company so I just went for it, launched when Ben was just 12 days old and I’ve never looked back.

3. In your experience, what do people typically forget to pack in their hospital bag? 

It’s not so much what you forget but what you didn’t know about when you’re a first time mum.  Witch hazel and arnica to name two.  As well as all the luxury pampering items in our hampers, mums really value the convenience of having all these essentials to hand. You always end up forgetting something, especially on subsequent births.  It’s hard to find the time for sorting and collecting those hospital items when you have a toddler on your hands or juggling work.  If you are going to forget something it will be something for yourself, it’s a mum’s nature to think of herself last.

4. How do you juggle family life with managing your own business? 

Like most families now, we adapted and became experts in priority planning and multitasking.  Families do this all the time from very early on when kids arrive on the scene. Primarily I work during Ben’s naps, Sean’s playschool and from 7:30pm to 1am every night. Sundays are our crazy (as opposed to lazy) day as we prepare for the week ahead, be it ordering supplies, packing hampers or cooking dinners for the freezer.  

Thankfully the week runs smoothly with this structure. When things go wrong, and they do go wrong, we try to respond rather than react. We re-plan as best we can to get back on track. I think it’s important to accept that things will go awry at times, it’s the nature of small children and a new business and I could not do it without the unconditional support from my husband Richard. He commutes from Wexford to Dublin for his own career and once home works tirelessly to help me with Ricair. We have a shared vision on what we want to achieve as a family and a business, sharing that makes it feel very special and creates great excitement for us as we look forward. As the saying goes, it’s tough going but if it was easy everyone would be doing it.

5. What top tip would you give to a new mum?

Well sleep really is the obvious one, midwives advise it for a reason so aside from that I would have to say to trust your own instincts in motherhood as you would in anything else you do.  No one knows your baby better than you and your partner, so trust that.  

Top five picks from Ricair Maternity Care

Disclaimer: I didn’t receive anything in return for this post. I simply believe in the products and wanted
to support a promising startup business. Prices correct at time of posting and exclude UK shipping

You can find Ricair Maternity Care here:

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/ricairmaternity

Facebook:  www.facebook.com

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/ricairmaternitycare

Shop here: www.ricairmaternitycare.com

What would you pack in your hospital bag?

So mums it’s over to you. What items would you pack in your hospital bag if you could do it all over again?


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  1. December 11, 2016 / 20:57

    I love posts like these – I think it is because I am so nosy! I am due next week and have no idea what to pack….even though believe it or not its my 3rd pregnancy!!! #bigpinklink

    • topfivemum
      December 22, 2016 / 22:42

      That’s hilarious Natalie – third pregnancy and still not sure what to pack?! I think you get much more relaxed about these things the more babies you have. At the end of the day, that baby will come whether you have a bag or not LOL. I hope it all goes well, good luck!

  2. December 11, 2016 / 16:05

    This is such a fab idea, a great way to relieve stress and the end of your pregnancy or a friends, I could’ve definitely done with this. Especially a few of the items that I wouldn’t have thought to put in a hospital bag. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

    • topfivemum
      December 22, 2016 / 22:45

      It’s so true isn’t it Hannah? Everyone thinks of the baby, but none brings anything for the poor weary mother!

  3. December 6, 2016 / 17:58

    What a great idea! And such a perfect gift. As a twin Mom you have no idea when you’re going to pop as they usually come early, so you’re pretty unprepared most of the time! #bigpinklink

    • topfivemum
      December 22, 2016 / 22:44

      I think that’s the story of my life Twick Pickle. I was definitely unprepared for two under two! LOL

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