The Toiletry Kit
This toiletry kit will be your best friend. I find that I can cope with just about anything as long as I am clean and feeling human. Putting together a hospital stay kit can seem daunting and it’s often in times of stress that we forget things.
As a result of missing items in our bags when we needed them most, we now have a pre-packed hospital toiletry bag that stays in the cupboard at home; when travel size toiletries are on offer I will grab some and pop them in the bag. We are hospital regulars, so this makes sense for us, it may not make sense to do this if your stay is one-off unless you travel a lot and then it totally makes sense.
Again, I’m going to be asking you to think about your bag in terms of zones. This can help ensure that you don’t miss anything important. Think of sections in the bag as the tooth zone, the body zone, the hair zone, the kid zone, etc.
Let’s go through them:
The Tooth* Zone:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste – travel size are perfect.
- Mouthwash – Travel sized mouthwash is great – local supermarket will have it, or Superdrug/Boots.
- Breath freshener/mouthwash spray – I use the mouthwash as usual but keep the spray bedside to ward off dry, sore throats caused by the hospital heated air. After 24 hours on the ward, you are basically a human petri dish, anything you can do to minimise the possibility of getting sick, do it!
*All of these items can be easily found at your local supermarket/chemist
The Body Zone:
- Baby wipes – fragranced.
These will clean just about anything, from using them as a make-up wipe or a ‘no time for a shower yet’ cleaning wipe, to cleaning up spilled drinks or wiping your child down after surgery to reduce the smell from the anesthetic. A must have. We love Tesco’s fragranced ultra soft baby wipes for fresh scent and durability.
- Deodorant – fresh scent.
I pack a men’s deodorant as it means that my husband and I can both use it if we need it. The men’s deodorant seems to hold their scent better than women’s ones and come in fresh scents that last all day. A bonus on the ward.
- Hand and body moisturiser.
Pick a moisturiser with urea in it as they tend to have the best absorption rate and use it liberally. I rarely use moisturiser outside of hospital but in hospital, I put it on several times a day. You are constantly hand washing, which chafes the hands and the dry air takes a real toll on your elbows, knees and arms. The much-lauded Childs Farm Baby Moisturiser is about as close to on-ward moisturising perfection as you can get and you can find it most good supermarkets, or click the link to go to their store. The 50ml is perfect for your bag!
- Feminine products.
When you are under stress your body freaks out, so it’s best to prepare to expect the unexpected and pack a few things you normally use just in case.
The Hair Zone:
- Dry shampoo.
This is a long hair essential. Washing long hair takes time that you rarely have when you’re bedside, so it’s time to get creative. If my hair feels clean, I feel clean. The miracle of dry shampoo makes those 5-minute showers where you have no time to wash your hair bearable. A brush, dry shampoo and a hair tie and I’m ready to face the day. I have tried various versions, but Batiste Dry Shampoo in Blush is by far my favourite.
- Baby shampoo
We use the size bottle just above travel size as this does triple duty in our toiletry kit. It is a fantastic mild shampoo for all the family, smells fabulously baby fresh as a body wash (for you and your child) and can also be used to wash out clothing in the bathroom sink leaving them clean and fresh. A tip: when your child comes back from surgery they may smell ‘chemically’ from the anesthetic, check with your nursing team, but it’s usually OK to wash/wipe them down with a warm flannel soaked in water with baby shampoo. This removes some of the smell from the surgery and can make it easier for them to settle. We swear by it for our daughter’s hospital stays. Lots of the baby shampoo’s smell great, but Johnsons is still the one we use.
Use it in your hair of course, but did you know that this is also great as a shaving cream and as a body wash if your skin is freaking out in the dry air. True story!
- Hairbrush and accessories
If you have long hair, then I would plan to put your hair up for most of the stay. That means packing hair ties, scrunchies, bandanas, whatever floats your boat and makes life easier. Anything that means you won’t need a hairdryer is key – our hospitals will not you take a hairdryer onto the ward.
- Microfibre towel
Great for getting super dry quickly and they often pack down into a medium ziplock bag for transport. The great thing about these towels is that they also dry really quickly over the end of the bed.
Tip: Microfiber towels are also wonderful for drying smaller items of clothing. Lay towel out flat, put the item of clothing on the towel. Roll the towel up and then…stand on it. Yes, you read that right, walk on the rolled up towel for a few moments. When you unroll the towel, the clothing will be drier, the towel wetter and you’ll be one outfit closer to going home. This method is great for smaller kids clothing, baby grows, t-shirts, leggings, etc as it really draws the water out. This can be done with ANY towel, but microfiber has the best capillary drying action.
The Kid Zone:
- Baby Shampoo
Body wash, shampoo, anesthetic smell remover, gentle bath foam – it does it all!
- Aqueous Cream
Great low allergen cream, perfect for keeping sensitive skin hydrated – can double as a body wash and face wash. You can get aqueous cream from most supermarkets and all pharmacies.
- Toothbrush and paste:
Keeping little mouth’s fresh and clean can really help. It forms part of their routine and also helps if medications make their mouth dry and/or taste weird.
From a cool hat to some sparkly hair ties, sometimes the simplest things can help boost the mood of your little fighter.
- Pain relief
It might seem silly to take meds into a hospital, but at 3 am on the day from hell when all you need is a couple of paracetamol to calm a headache, you’ll be glad you have something to hand.
- Specialist Medication:
Any medication you or your child normally take, have it with you. The doctors will need to know what meds your child is on, so being able to shove a bag of meds at them makes life easier – have a list of the dosage and times in the bag with the meds so your team can refer to it. Even in a busy hospital, there is rarely someone around to find you the meds you need in a hurry if you have forgotten them. While your child may be able to be catered for you would still need an appointment and to wait for the pharmacy – that means you are not bedside. Save time, pack the meds.
I pack these and have used them almost EVERY time. Sometimes I have managed to cut myself on blunt things that no human being should be able to damage themselves with, other times I have had blisters from hell from walking the hospital. Have them handy.
Hopefully, that should get you through a hospital stay feeling cleaner, if not more refreshed.