Giving Birth – What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

Pack hospital bag baby

I remember packing my hospital bag for my first pregnancy and going way over the top. I carefully packed two bags to be carried into the labour suite. This was fine until it was time to come home. Then we had two bags with the contents thrown back in and it wouldn’t fit. Add on a couple of plastic bags full of bits and pieces and a car seat with a baby in. Not easy to carry when I’d had stitches, had very swollen feet and could barely walk!

Fast forward a few years and it was time to have a second go at it. This time I knew what I would really need and I didn’t want to see a half unpacked labour bag on my bedroom floor for the next few months. I was determined to only take one bag this time. Both on going into hospital and more importantly on the way back out!

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My best advice is to take a small suitcase with wheels. This is so much easier to  wheel back out if your partner’s hands are full. You can also concentrate on the most important thing, bringing your brand new baby out into the world for the first time.

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Hospital Bag For Mummy

During Labour:

  • Maternity notes – in a colourful plastic wallet that was easy to spot. I could take it to midwife appointments and then just drop into the top of the suitcase, so I always had them ready
  • Top for a water birth – I really wanted one of these both times, but it wasn’t to be!
  • TENS machine – I recommend buying or renting one of these. I love my tens machine, I used it during both of my labours and it really helped with the pain.
  • Plastic bag – to put dirty clothes from the labour in
  • Essential oil – In my second pregnancy I had been using lavender oil and put it in my maternity bag to keep me calm during labour.
  • Socks/slippers – great for walking around the hospital or if your feet get cold during labour.
  • Sweets/snacks – great for a long labour. Try to take snacks that will give you energy and make sure to pack enough for your birthing partner.
  • Phone and charger – you will need to keep everyone updated on what is happening and give the big announcement once the little one is born. Also you may have a playlist to listen to during your labour.
  • Money– take some change for the vending machine or hospital shop in case you have a craving for a particular snack or drink. Also you will need money for the car park.

After Labour

  • Nursing bra – I wore one going into the hospital and took a spare
  • Breast pads – your milk doesn’t come in for a few days so you’re unlikely to need these. I took one pair just in case.
  • Maternity pants – these can be the special plastic ones, but I prefer to get a cheap pack of black pants in a larger size and throw them away after. I find these more comfortable and they make me feel more normal.
  • Nightdress/Pyjamas – I took two nightdresses. One cheap one to wear during labour and a nice one for after the baby is born. I prefer nightdresses with buttons down the front for easy breastfeeding.
  • Dressing gown – I used a thin maternity one.
  • Maternity pads – I took a new pack of the thick ones with me. You will need to change these often so having plenty is important.
  • Wash bag with shampoo, body wash, toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush and bobbles, deodorant and anything else that makes you feel normal! Miniatures take up less space.
  • Towel– in a dark colour and not one of your best ones!
  • Going home outfit – something comfy and loose. I wore leggings with a vest and dress over the top. Easy for breastfeeding.

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packing your hospital bag

Hospital Bag For Baby

I put all baby’s things in a small changing bag and then I put it inside my suitcase.

  • Nappies – I took a small pack of pampers size 1. You never know how many nappies a baby can get through.
  • Baby wipes/cotton wool balls – with my first baby I followed the advice that recommended using cotton wool and water to clean the baby’s bottom. I found this really impractical in the hospital. So the second time I decided to go straight for water wipes.
  • Nappy bags – great for if you’re not near a bin as newborn nappies are pretty messy! Also really good for putting dirty baby clothes in.
  • Hand sanitiser – I used this a lot in hospital after I’d touched any surfaces, just to make sure my hands were germ free before picking up the baby.
  • Sleepsuits – I spent a lot of time with my first baby debating sizes. Eventually I took a whole range from tiny baby to 3 months. With my second I took three sleepsuits, two pink ones that were new baby size and a white new baby just in case she turned out to be a boy. I still didn’t quite believe I was having a girl.
  • Vests – I took three of these in new baby.  She wore a vest with a sleepsuit over the top.
  • Cardigan/jacket – I took one white cardigan for an extra layer for coming home.
  • Hat – I took two hats with me a new baby and a 0-3 months. When my son was born he had a big head and a new baby hat was a bit small.
  • Muslins – these have a million uses! I used it to wrap my daughter in, place underneath her in the cot, put on my hospital bed when I lay her down to dress her, dry her bottom after cleaning, clean up spillages and sick.
  • Bib – This would have been more useful if I had needed to bottle feed.
  • Blanket – I  put one in the car seat to cover baby with when we came home.
  • Car seat – I set the ISOFIX and car seat up in the car a few weeks before my due date so it wouldn’t get forgotten. Also we knew it was set up safely rather than rushing when I was in labour.
Packing your birthing bag
Packing your hospital bag for labour

My New Baby Printable contains a hospital bag checklist and a new baby essentials checklist.

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