Are you ready for the big day? Your new-born might arrive earlier than what you expected, so it’s definitely worth having your baby hospital bag packed during the third trimester – at about week 36 − just in case.
Our checklist will help you pack your pregnancy hospital bag so you’ll have everything you need for yourself and your new baby. Plus there’s a mini-checklist for birth partners as well. Maybe pack your bags together so you can double-check that you’ll each have everything you might need.
Hospital bag for mum: labour and delivery
Hospital files – Have your medical records, so that your doctors can easily see your medical history.
Birth plan (if you have one) – You might have discussed your birth plan with your medical team, but having a few copies printed and available for doctors and nurses means that everyone can refer to it, in case last-minute questions arise.
Socks – Fluffy socks are a must in case your feet get cold!
Lip balm – Your lips can get chapped during labour. Having some lip balm on hand will help hydrate your lips and stop them from cracking.
Slippers or flip-flops – You’ll want slippers that are comfortable and easy to slip in and out of to wear as you walk around the hospital ward. Pack some flip-flops for using in the shower as well.
Dressing gown – A soft dressing gown is useful for pacing around during labour, or afterward, if you spend some time in the hospital.
Comfortable pillow – Your hospital will provide you with pillows, but they might not be the right kind for you. If you have a favourite pillow, then take it with you. You’ll want to be comfortable during labour.
Body lotion – Some mums-to-be find a little massage during labour relaxing.
Water spray and sponge – During labour you might get a little hot and bothered. It could help to spray some water on your face and neck, or to sponge some cool water on your forehead.
Eye mask and earplugs – To help you get rest in a busy and bright maternity ward, an eye mask or earplugs could be just what you need during the downtimes of labour, or for your well-deserved rest after delivery.
Relaxing pass-times – Pack some things to help you pass the time like a book, magazines, a tablet with movies or series downloaded on it, or a music player.
Hospital bag for mum: After delivery
Nightdresses – You’ll need something comfortable to sleep in during your hospital stay. Pack at least one soft, loose nightdress. Choose a front-opening one if you plan to breastfeed.
Bras – Be prepared with a few nursing bras or other comfortable, well-fitting bras.
Toiletries – Don’t forget towels, tissues, hairbrush, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, hairdryer, hair clips, and hair ties. Pack a plastic bag to pop dirty clothes in.
Heavy-duty maternity pads – Although the hospital may provide some, pack plenty of pads, just in case. It’s normal to bleed a lot after the birth, and maternity pads are softer and more absorbent than standard ones. Initially you may need to change pads every one to two hours, but within a few days the flow will start to decrease. Also pack breast pads for when your milk comes through.
Underwear – Pack several pairs of comfortable underwear that you won’t mind getting messy, and that are large enough to comfortably fit a maternity pad in.
Cosmetics and skin care products – If makeup is part of your usual routine, then don’t forget your cosmetics. Plus, make sure you pack some moisturisers as your skin may feel drier than usual.
Phone and charger – Unless you opt for a little digital detox during this special time, don’t forget your phone and charger. That way you can stay in touch with loved ones, you can use it to take those first few pictures, and post your special news on social media.
Clothes – Aside from your nightdress, you might choose to take some comfortable clothes to wear during your stay in hospital. Pack an extra outfit to wear home. Choose something loose-fitting, ideally with a drawstring or an elastic waist.
Snacks and drinks – Labour can sometimes be very long, so you could consider packing some snacks and drinks. However, speak to your medical team about whether or not you will be allowed to eat or drink anything during labour. Also, consider packing some of your favourite snacks for after labour as you may feel like some comfort food during your hospital stay.
Glasses and contact lenses (if you need them) – It may seem obvious but sometimes it’s these little things that can escape your attention when packing your hospital bag. Don’t forget contact lens solution if you use contacts.
Hospital bag essentials for your birth partner
Snacks and water – Labour can be thirsty work even for supportive partners. Pack some snacks and water, as well as change for the hospital vending machines.
Phone, camera and/or video camera, and chargers and batteries – Don’t forget to pack a phone to stay in contact with loved ones, and for some entertainment during downtimes. The camera will come in handy to take some happy snaps. (Make sure the camera’s memory card has plenty of free space on it.)
An extra jumper or lounge outfit- Labour is an unpredictable process, so a change of clothes is always a good idea, as you never know how long the stay will be.
Hospital bag for baby
Baby grows – Hospital policies can vary on what new-borns can be dressed in so consult with your doctor in advance about what to pack. You may need to add to what the hospital provides in terms of accessories and layers. Remember, with baby grows it’s a good idea to choose those that fasten up at the front.
Blanket – While the hospital will likely provide blankets, a blanket of your own is always good to have on hand to use during skin-to-skin contact. It can also be used to keep your baby warm in the car seat on the way home.
Nappies – About 20 to 30 nappies made especially for new-borns. Your new-born might get through 10-12 nappies each day.
Wipes – New-borns’ skin is particularly sensitive, so it’s best to use only cotton wool balls and water or sensitive baby wipes in the first weeks.
Muslin squares – These can be draped on your shoulder or placed underneath the baby to prevent dribbles from getting on your clothes. You could also pack some bibs for this purpose too.
Going-home outfit – Consider the weather conditions: a bodysuit, booties and hat could be fine during the warmer months, but in winter pack mittens and a jacket or snowsuit as well. But remember, thick coats, jackets or snow suits should always be removed before putting your baby in the car seat for optimum safety.
Car seat – This obviously isn’t for the hospital bag, but the right car seat should be installed in your car around the same time you pack your baby bag so it’s ready for the hospital.
If you’ve checked off everything on our hospital bag checklist then you should be prepared for labour! Don’t forget any other essentials you may need or would like to take with you, write these down so you don’t forget!
I am a housewife with 4 'children' in their 30's. As a mother I feel strongly about empowering other mothers with information that can help them with the different stages of motherhood. No mother should ever feel alone on the motherhood journey and we can all do our bit to help.