What to pack in your hospital bag

Here’s a handy list of everything to bring to the hospital when you or your partner go into labour.

In Pregnancy

Quick points for mum

Prepare your bags well before your due date because you never know

Pack separate bags for labour, mum, baby, and partner as you’ll have enough on your mind

And when supporting mum

Don’t forget to pack a bag for yourself as you’ll need it 

Most importantly, remember to take the bags to the hospital! 

Man holding his pregnant wife's hospital bag

When labour begins, you’ll want to get to hospital, with no fuss and no delay. Having your hospital bags packed and ready will make things easier. And because babies don’t always listen to due dates, aim to have your bags packed by 30 weeks in case your baby arrives early.

Three maternity hospital bags are a good idea. One bag for labour, one for mum and one for baby essentials – this will help your partner too, so they can focus on supporting you in birth. If you’re supporting mum, it’s a very good idea for you to take a bag too, as you might have a long night ahead of you.  

To make things easier, we’ve compiled a hospital bags checklist. You may all end up spending a lot of time in one room waiting for baby to come so make sure you’ve got lots of things to keep you occupied, fed and comfortable. Once labour starts, popping out to the shops will be impossible. 

Pregnant woman packing her hospital bag

Hospital bag for labour

  • Maternity notes
  • Your birth plan
  • Mobile and camera
  • Batteries and chargers for everything
  • Water bottle
  • Books, magazines or an e-reader
  • Music, headphones
  • Face wipes and facial spritzer to help cool down
  • Carrier bags or laundry bag
  • TENs pain relief if you’ve decided to use it
  • Socks
  • Lip salve, especially if you plan on using gas and air
  • Hairbands
  • Snacks and drinks
  • PJs or comfy, easy to remove clothes for birth

Hospital bag for mum

  • Slippers or flip-flops
  • Eye mask and ear plugs
  • Nursing bras
  • High fibre snacks to help your digestion after birth
  • Pillow for the comfort of home
  • Comfortable or disposable knickers you won’t miss
  • Washbag with toothbrush, hairbrush, toiletries and flannel
  • Cash and coins for vending machines
  • Tracksuit bottoms and a comfortable top
  • Nighties or PJs that open for easy breastfeeding
  • Dark coloured towels
  • Breast pads
  • Maternity sanitary pads
  • A light dressing gown
  • A small address book with essential numbers
  • Going home outfit

Hospital bag for baby

  • Hooded baby towel
  • 2 – 3 sleep suits
  • Baby blanket
  • 2 – 3 cotton vests
  • Nappies – your baby can go through as many as 12 in one day
  • Travelling home clothes such as a baby grow
  • Bag of cotton wool for gentle cleaning
  • Scratch mitts
  • Car seat
  • Muslin cloth for mopping up any milk your baby might bring up
  • Bottles, teats and formula (if bottle feeding – ask hospital or midwife if necessary)
  • Soft hat

Hospital bag for partner

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Book or something to help pass the time
  • Music and earphones
  • A change of clothes
  • Bendy straws for drinks
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Pillow

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The best way to feed a baby is to breastfeed, as breast milk provides the ideal balanced diet and protection against illness for your baby and also many non-nutritional benefits for both baby and mother. We recommend that you speak to your healthcare professional when deciding on your choice of feeding your baby. Professional guidance should also be sought on the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding. If you do choose to breastfeed, it's important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Infant formula is intended to replace breast milk when mothers choose not to breastfeed or if for some reason they are unable to do so. A decision not to breastfeed, or to introduce partial bottle-feeding, will reduce the supply of breast milk. If for any reason you choose not to breastfeed, do remember that such a decision can be difficult to reverse. Using infant formula also has social and financial implications which must be considered. Infant formula should always be prepared, used and stored as instructed on the label, in order to avoid risks to a baby’s health.

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Important advice to mothers

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. SMA® Nutrition fully supports this and continued breastfeeding, along with the introduction of complementary foods as advised by your healthcare professional.


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