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Pregnant mother packing her hospital bag

The all-important hospital bag checklist

Avoid delay on the big day. Here’s what to pack to make your baby’s life, and yours, easier and more comfortable.

    3-minutes read


    It’s nearly go time. But hang in there, there’s a hospital bag situation that mum needs to take care of first. Luckily we’ve got the mother of all hospital bag checklists for you to print off.

    Pregnancy is supposed to be about 40 weeks but most babies haven’t mastered timekeeping yet. It’s best to pack your bags around the 30-week mark, just to be safe. The last thing you want is to go into labour when you’re queueing for last-minute supplies. Oh and no, three bags isn’t too much. Better to be prepared and tick off everything you could possibly need on your labour list. Already have a c-section planned? Then why not use our handy checklist to know what to pack for a planned c section.

    Hospital bag for mum

    You may end up spending more time in the hospital than you imagined. If there’s one way you can maintain a sliver of control, it’s with a trusty haul of supplies in your maternity hospital bag.

    • Dressing gown – handy for trips to the bathroom.

    • Slippers or flip-flops – essential for popping to the loo.

    • Comfy socks – especially if baby is due in winter.

    • Nursing or button front Nighties or open-front shirts – easier for feeding or skin-to-skin access.

    • Maternity sanitary pads –there can be quite a lot of bleeding after the birth so be sure to bring enough for your stay.

    • Big knickers – bring dark-coloured pants you don’t mind throwing away. Six pairs to be safe. High-waisted in case you have a C section.

    • Two nursing bras and a bunch of breast pads – the second bra is useful if the breast pads fail you – it happens.

    • Nipple cream – nipple cream, nipple cream.

    • Brightly coloured pillow – not white, it could blend in and get lost.

    • Healthy snacks – think dried fruit bars, great for giving you energy. The vending machines should have the less healthy snacks covered, should you need them.

    • Eye mask – baby sleep patterns are hard to predict. If the opportunity arises, try and nap when they do. Even if it’s daylight.

    • Going home clothes – it’s nice to have something comfy and loose-fitting.

    • Decaf or herbal tea bags – great if you’re breastfeeding, unfortunately the hospital usually doesn’t have these.

    • Toiletries - toothbrush and toothpaste, hair ties, face wipes, deodorant, moisturiser, lip balm, dry shampoo, hotel-size shower gel and shampoo are hospital bag essentials for mum.

    • Make-up bag – This is a personal choice but if you are used to wearing make up every day you may want to bring a few bits – or go natural.

    • Phone and charger – mostly for sharing photos and Googling everything baby-related.

    • Music –it’s nice to have a good soundtrack for these moments, so you might want to bring your own Bluetooth speakers or headphones.

    • Notebook and pen – if you’re being practical jot down feed times and sleeps or else a written diary makes a good keepsake.

    • Maternity notes/Birth plan – Baby may decide they have their own plan, but it is essential to have your maternity notes and birth plan with you.

    Pregnant mother packing her hospital bag

    What to pack in a baby’s hospital bag?

    They already need loads of things before they even get here. So think of the baby hospital bag as their welcome pack - to the world. Unless you’ve had recent scans you probably don’t know how big your baby is, so when it comes to clothes you may want to pack a few sizes.

    • Muslin squares – catching dribble, milk, or sick. Or rolled up, propping up your boob for breastfeeding. So many uses.

    • Sleep suits – pack a few in case you’re in for a couple of nights. Built-in mittens are a plus.

    • Scratch mitts – if the sleep suits don’t have mittens.

    • Cotton vests – fold-down shoulders are great for any nappy leaks.

    • Baby blanket – a soft, breathable one is best.

    • Nappies – 20 or so is a good start and is an absolute must for your baby hospital bag.

    • Cotton wool – for cleaning very new bums. A lot gentler than wipes.

    • Baby wipes – if you prefer convenience. Go for un-scented.

    • Going home clothes – including a soft hat. Layers are a good idea for keeping baby warm depending on the weather.

    • Car seat – when it’s home time you’re legally required to have a car seat if you’re going by car.

    • Ready to feed bottles with teats – if you’re planning to bottle-feeding.

    Hospital bag for your partner

    Ok, so mum is doing the hardest part, but you’ve got an important role to play here. Time to take care of the essentials to support mum and baby through this.

    • Spare clothes – in case you stay overnight.

    • A toothbrush and toothpaste – you might need to freshen up at some point.

    • Drinking water and some bendy straws for mum – great for long labours and later on, if mum’s trying to breastfeed she’ll be thirsty and she might not have any hands free.

    • A handheld fan – more for mum than you.

    • Entertainment– books, music or podcasts are a good idea in case you’re waiting.

    • TENS machine – to help mum out with the pain relief situation.

    • Massage oil – This can really help to sooth back ache.

    • Carrier bags – mum will need a change of clothes or two.

    • SLR camera/phone camera – spare battery and memory card if you’ve gone for an SLR.

    • Extra-long phone charger cable – because a socket might not be nearby. This saves mum climbing out of bed regularly.

    • Power bank – even better if you’ve got one of these to charge your phone. Plug sockets aren’t always readily available on the ward.

    • A blanket – for yourself in case you nap in a chair.

    • Snacks – whatever you need to keep you going.

    • Spare change – for parking meters or vending machines

    No matter what your birth plan, it’s worth reading about all the signs and stages of labour. You can also try our handy editable hospital bag checklist on our Mother of all Checklists app.

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