Updated July 2019
I remember packing my hospital bag for my first pregnancy and taking too much with me. I packed two bags – one for me and one for the baby with everything I might possibly need. This was really hard to carry back out of the hospital. I also had a baby in a car seat and all the other extra bits I couldn’t fit back in the bags.
Fast forward a few years and it was time to have a second go at it. This time I was determined to only take one bag. Both on going into hospital and more importantly on the way back out! I decided 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 new baby home.
When should I Pack my Hospital Bag?
It is important to pack your hospital bag when you are around 36 weeks pregnant. This means it is ready to go if you start labour early. It is one less thing for you to worry about in your last few weeks of pregnancy. It also gives you time to plan what you want to take and make any of those last minute purchases.
Hospital Bag For You
- Maternity notes – I kept mine in a pink plastic wallet that was easy to spot. I could take it to midwife appointments and then just drop it into the top of my hospital suitcase
- Top for a water birth – bikini top or t-shirt
- TENS machine – I used one during both of my labours and it really helped with the pain.
- Plastic bag – to put dirty clothes from the labour in
- Essential oil – I used lavender oil to keep me calm during labour.
- Socks/slippers – great for walking around the hospital in or if your feet get cold during labour.
- Sweets/snacks – take snacks that will give you energy and make sure to pack enough for your birthing partner too.
- Phone and charger – to keep everyone updated 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. Also, you will need money for the car park.
- 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, but I took one pair just in case. Lansinoh breast pads are really absorbent and soft to wear.
- Maternity pants – these can be the special mesh 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– a dark colour is best
- Going home outfit – something comfy and loose. I wore leggings with a vest and dress over the top. Easy for breastfeeding.
Hospital Bag For Baby
I put all of the baby’s things in a baby changing bag. I found it useful to keep them separate from my things to make everything easier to find. It is also handy to put baby’s first outfit together in a ziplock bag. If you are unable to dress baby after labour then your birth partner can easily find the baby’s first outfit. You can also do this with a second outfit if you have something special for them to wear when they are coming home.
- 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 used 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 the 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 the new baby size. She wore a vest with a sleepsuit over the top as it was cold.
- Cardigan/jacket – I bought a starter set like in the images below which included a sleepsuit, vests, little jacket, some trouser, a hat, and a bib.
- Hat – I took two hats with me a new baby and 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 spit-up. You can grab a pack of these from anywhere and I have lots of cheap ones, but I do love the matching aden +anais set to go with the swaddle blankets. They are lovely quality and wash really well.
- Bib – The Tommee Tippee dribble catcher bibs are so soft around the neck. I have used with both of my children because they didn’t rub their neck and stopped any liquid from lying on their skin.
- Blanket – I put one in the car seat to cover the baby with when we came home. I love the aden +anais swaddle blankets, I have used the jungle jam set since my son was born and they are still being used 5 years later. They wash really well and are so soft.
- 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. I love the Maxi-cosi car seats I think they are reliable and excellent quality. I have bought 3 different stages of car seat from Maxi-Cosi and still love them 5 years on.
If you have found this useful then click on Childbirth the Essential Guide to find out all you need to know about labour, delivery and postpartum care.