As the big day draws closer, here’s what you should be packing in your hospital bag.
What may seem to be a rather therapeutic task can soon become quite the opposite. Packing your hospital bag can be tricky because you don’t want to pack things you won’t use and end up with a bag that’s too heavy to carry, but at the same time you want to have the peace of mind that anything you might need will be easy to get hold of.
Just remember – if all goes well, you won’t be in hospital for very long, and if you do have to stay longer, you can always ask your partner or a family member to bring you anything you may have overlooked.
First off, it is advisable to call your hospital to find out what they will be providing so you can tick those bits off your list. Be sure to pack two bags – one for you and one for baby. Inside your baby’s bag make sure you have a small easily accessible compartment which can contain all the items you need straight after birth. Make sure to show your partner where everything is and explain your packing process to them.
In your bag, pack everything you would take for a short weekend away. Buy all your daily essentials fresh – like your toothbrush, toothpaste and soap – so you can put them in your bag in advance rather than having to remember them when labour has set in. And don’t forget to pack any personal notes too.
Getting your bits and pieces ready for delivery day may be an essential job but that doesn’t mean it has to weigh you down. Find a bag you love, perhaps treat yourself to a new one. After all, who doesn’t love a spot of bag shopping. Be sure to make a list and try and find a few items each day. Then before you know it you will have packed your hospital bags. Next stop, delivery.
Don’t know where to start? Print out our hospital bag checklist below…
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
For some hospital bag must-haves, midwife and founder of Natural Birthing Company, Jane Mason has compiled a handy list of her essentials.
What to pack for labour:
- Birth plan and preferences (don’t forget your handheld pregnancy notes)
- Whatever you plan to wear in labour – thin nightie/large t-shirt
- Bed socks to keep your feet warm
- Slippers – ones that are easy to slip on
- Hair accessories to help keep it out of the way & keep you cooler
- Lip balm – all that breathing, especially on gas & air, gives you dry lips
- Something to wear in the pool (if you prefer not to be totally naked)
- Cooling spray & flannel to keep you cool and refreshed.
- Massage oil – massage in labour is known to reduce pain & anxiety.
- Phone charger – you know you’ll forget this unless it’s mentioned!
- Energy boosting snacks & drinks for both of you
- Music – relaxing – you’ve seen those dancing women in labour right?!
- Drinking straw – makes it easier to drink in labour
Having your maternity notes and birth plan to hand is essential when preparing your hospital bag. Why not use a folder to keep them all safely together. If you are still writing yours, read our guide to alternative birthing options.
Labour can be exhausting so be sure to have plenty of snacks and water on hand to top up your energy levels.
Having some cooling water spray or hand held fan can help you feel cool during labour. This is particularly important in the summer when your hospital room can quickly become hot.
Labour can be a long experience so taking your own pillow with your favourite pillow case provides a home comfort on your hospital bed.
What to Pack for After the Birth
- Plastic bag for any dirty/wet clothing (unless you just want to ditch it!)
- Small bath towel for you to shower after labour
- Overnight toiletries – body wash, face wash, toothpaste & brush etc
- 1 pack of Maternity pads – (the soft thick ones are best)
- Few pairs of big Bridget Jones style knickers (buy a cheap pack of 3) (helps to hold your pad in place & covers over your wound if you have a c-section) – avoid paper pants they’re just not comfy at all!
- Nursing bra or comfortable non-wired supportive bra
- Thin nightwear with easy access if breastfeeding – bear in mind you may have to walk to the bathroom in view of other women’s visitors so you might like to throw in a thin dressing gown.
- Earplugs & sleep mask – hospital wards can be noisy and bright! 9. Something to soothe the aftermath of labour – try either our “Pure Bliss” or “Bottoms up”
In Your Hospital Bag: Clothing
After birth you will want to stay comfortable, so we advise taking relaxed nightwear for you to change into. Ones with buttons down the front will make it easier for you to breastfeed and be monitored. It is likely for you to want your dressing gown to wear around the hospital to keep warm. To help you relax and get some rest during the daytime pack an eye mask.
We love shopping at Bumpkyn the poppers are a great feature.
Make sure you have some slipper or bed socks in your bag as these are perfect for walking around the hospital in. You could also have some flip-flops for shared bathrooms.
Comfy clothes are a must after delivery, so pack some to wear home. It is advisable to wear maternity briefs with pads inside.
Hospital Bag Toiletries
Buy some new toiletries to help you feel refreshed. Brushing your teeth with a new toothbrush and some toothpaste can help you feel human again after labour. Be sure to pack a hairbrush, hairbands and deodorant for a quick refresh. Have a flannel and towel alongside some miniature shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in your bag so when you feel able to you can wash properly.
A lip balm is useful for hydrating dry lips and anti-bacterial hand gel will help keep your hands clean and moisturised.
If you are prone to bruising or are delivering via C-section be sure to pack some arnica cream or tablets to lessen their effect. Nipple cream can help to ease the initial pain of breast feeding too. We find Medela’s Purelan to be an effective solution, check out our lactation top tips.
What to pack for baby: vests, babygrows and blankets
Pack some comfortable clothes for your newborn baby to wear including vests, babygrows and bodysuits. Be sure to have some spares with you too.
Muslins or swaddles will be the most versatile item in your hospital bag. They are great for mopping up spills, cot blankets and cuddles.
Hospital blankets can lose their gentle touch so be sure to pack your own to give your baby something soft. We love the 100% cotton Abeille blanket.
Nappies, wet wipes and new born baby products
Stock up on plenty of newborn sized nappies. In the first couple of days your baby will get through a lot of these. Pack some cotton wool and wet wipes to clean up after your baby too.
If you are struggling to prepare then an alternative is to purchase a pre-packed hospital bag. Babynizer sells suitcases and changing bags (like this one below) ready with all the essentials you will need inside. You can also buy small bundles of fillings for you own bag instead.