Hospital Bag Essentials

a pregnant woman is holding a clipboard and checking off items as she packs her bag ready to take to the hospital to give birth

Hospital Bag Checklist

Are you expecting a new arrival soon? Congratulations! It’s important to be well prepared to welcome your new baby into the world. Whilst your due date may provide some indication of when baby will arrive, there’s no telling exactly when they will make their grand first appearance. Having a hospital bag packed and ready to go will give you peace of mind.

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag

Timing is key when it comes to packing your hospital bag. Ideally, you should have your bag ready to go by the time you reach 36 weeks of pregnancy. This ensures you're prepared in case your little one decides to make an early entrance.

However, life doesn't always go according to plan, so it's wise to have a basic bag packed by 32 weeks, just in case. You can always add any last-minute items as your due date approaches.

What to Pack In Your Hospital Bag

Now, let's delve into what should you pack in your hospital bag. Here's a comprehensive hospital bag checklist

Essentials for Labour and Delivery:

  1. Birth plan (if you have one)
  2. Insurance information and hospital paperwork
  3. Comfortable clothing for labour (think loose-fitting items) night dress and dressing gown
  4. Socks or slippers with non-slip soles
  5. Hair ties or headbands to keep hair out of your face, hair brush
  6. Toiletries
  7. Lip balm to combat dry lips during labour
  8. Comfy set of clothes

You may also want:

  • ‍A TENS machine – for pain relief
  • Massage oil
  • A book
  • Your makeup bag (optional)
  • A candle or nice scent to make your room more relaxing

Postpartum Care Items:

  1. Nursing bras and nursing pads
  2. Maternity underwear or comfortable underwear
  3. Maxi pads or maternity pads
  4. Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc.)
  5. Nursing pillow for breastfeeding support
  6. Comfortable going-home outfit for you and your baby

Comfort and Entertainment:

  1. Snacks and drinks (for both you and your partner/support person)
  2. Phone charger and/or portable charger
  3. Entertainment (books, magazines, tablet, etc.)
  4. Music playlist or headphones
  5. Camera or smartphone for capturing those precious first moments

a striped duff bag with a tan leather handle

The Essentials

​There are a number of essential items that you will need for you, baby, and your birth partner.

For Baby:

  1. Infant car seat (installed correctly in your vehicle)
  2. Newborn nappies and wipes
  3. Onesies or baby outfits (including a going-home outfit)
  4. Swaddle blankets or receiving blankets
  5. Baby hat and socks

Don’t forget your birth partner:

It’s equally important to ensure that your birth partner is comfortable, as it’s their job to help you relax and enjoy the experience before, during and after the birth. Pack these items in a separate rucksack or holdall.

  • ‍A pillow and blanket
  • Plenty of loose change for parking and vending machines
  • A list of family and friends to call to keep them updated
  • A book or magazine
  • Drinks and snacks
  • A change of clothes

By having your hospital bag packed in advance and including these essential items, you'll feel prepared and ready to welcome your little one into the world. Remember to tailor your bag to suit your personal preferences and requirements.

What to pack for mum and baby

If you’re planning a home birth it’s just as important to have a hospital bag prepared in advance to avoid a mad last minute packing panic, should you need to go to hospital.

It’s best to choose a practical and functional grab and go bag for your hospital visit. A weekend holdall, a roomy rucksack, or small cabin bag on wheels are all ideal options. Just make sure that there are sufficient internal pockets and compartments in which to pack everything you need.

Hospital Bag Essentials

​There are a number of essential items that you will need for you, baby, and your birth partner.

Hospital Bag Essentials for Mum

  • Your birth plan and maternity notes
  • Several comfy nightdresses or sleep t-shirts
  • An open front nightdress, if you plan to breastfed
  • Slippers or non-slip socks
  • A lightweight dressing gown
  • Lip balm
  • Wet wipes, to cool you down
  • A hair brush
  • Hair clips or a hairband, if you have long hair
  • Toiletries – including toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Going home clothes – choose loose and comfy
  • 2 or 3 nursing bras
  • Breast pads
  • Maternity pads – 2 packs of heavy duty
  • Nipple cream
  • Disposable pants – or old cotton knickers that you can throw away

You may also want to pack:

  • ‍A TENS machine – for pain relief
  • Massage oil
  • A book and/or MP3 player
  • A mobile phone and charger
  • A camera (optional)
  • Your makeup bag (optional)

Hospital Bag Essentials for Baby

Most new mums don't stay in hospital for too long after giving birth. When choosing essentials for baby it’s important that you consider the weather, and do your best to avoid over packing. Ideally, you should be able to pack baby’s items inside your grab and go hospital bag.

  • ‍At least 3 each of newborn size vests, body suits and cardigans
  • A few all-in-one sleepsuits with popper fastenings
  • A cotton hat and anti-scratch mittens
  • Muslin cloths or bibs
  • Newborn size nappies, baby toiletries and cotton wool
  • Sensitive baby wipes
  • A super soft baby blanket or shawl
  • A going home outfit
  • Baby’s first soft toy
  • An all-in-one snow suit, if it’s cold outside
  • A baby car seat

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