Many expectant parents will pack their hospital bag a couple of months ahead of the due date – around 32 to 35 weeks. Preparation is key so that you can have everything ticked off your list and save yourself the stress later down the line. But you may be wondering what to pack in your hospital bag. Are you having twins? Are you unsure of what to pack if you’re having a c-section? Does dad need help packing his hospital bag? Whatever you worry – don’t fret because we’ve got all the answers!
In the hustle and bustle of packing your hospital bag essentials, make sure you don’t skip past things that benefit mummy herself! From pillows to nappies – and of course your favourite snacks – you’ll want to have these at hand as the big day nears.
We’ve pulled together a comprehensive list of all the must-haves, whether it’s for you, dad or baby, as well as a few little extra home comforts to treat yourself with.
Hospital Bag Checklist
You’ve ticked baby clothes off your shopping list, decorated the nursery and maybe you’ve even cracked how to properly install a car seat. But one of the most important things on your to do list is packing your hospital bag essentials – timing is everything! Trust us – when you need to get to the hospital ASAP, you’ll be grateful for having your maternity hospital bag ready to go.
Mum’s hospital bag for labour
You may have heard people discuss different hospital bags like a hospital bag for labour and a hospital bag for after birth. But let’s get rid of the confusion here – you can use one bag for both.
Here’s what you’ll need packed for labour:
Pack anything you need for an overnight stay, including your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shower gel, shampoo, towels and any other toiletries that you may want.
And don’t forget super absorbent maternity pads – you’ll definitely want to keep those handy! You’ll be surprised at how many you go through during labour itself, so make sure to pack some extra ones to get you home as well.
Prior to your little one’s birth, it’s hard to estimate how long you’ll be needing to stay at the hospital. Although, it’s generally safe to say that you’ll probably be there for at least one night. In this case, you’ll want clothing that’s loose, comfortable and clean to change into, for example, a cotton nightdress or loose-fitting pyjamas.
Mum needs her beauty sleep, and we know hospital wards can get noisy, so earplugs are the way forward.
Additional things we recommend packing include:
- Birth plan and hospital notes
- Medicines you’re currently taking
- Slippers – to keep your feet nice and toasty from the hospital ward floors.
- Extra pack of wipes
- TENS machine – used for pain relief (optional).
- Handheld fan – to keep you cool during labour.
Mum’s hospital bag for after birth
Here’s what you’ll need packed for after you’ve given birth:
- Open front nightwear
Always pack clothing that’s going to make you feel nice and cosy, but also make sure it’s something that has a loose waistband and easy access (if planning to breastfeed). Dark colours are recommended – this isn’t the time to get out your nice, flowery white garments, as baby spillages are on the horizon! You may also keep going from hot to cold, so pack something that’s going to be easy to take on/off.
- Nipple cream
If you’re planning to breastfeed, make sure to have nipple cream at hand. You may not feel sore when you first start breastfeeding if your babe takes to it like a pro. However, in the instance that they don’t – it’ll be a life saver.
Additional things we recommend packing include:
- 2 or 3 nursing or everyday bras – keep in mind that your breasts will be much bigger than usual.
- Nursing pads – to keep you dry and comfy after a feed, and you may even need these even if you’re not planning to breastfeed.
- Nursing pillow
- Maternity pads
- Big, comfortable knickers
Hospital bag for c-section
If you’re having a caesarean, you may be wondering if you need different hospital bag essentials than if you were to have a vaginal birth. However, you’ll pretty much need all the same things, and a couple of extras:
- High-waisted cotton knickers – a couple of pairs of these will work wonders as normal knickers may rub your wound. Don’t buy nylon or lacy fabric knickers, as these may catch on your wound.
- Bendy straws – as you’ll find it hard to sit up and drink after a c-section.
- Backless slip-on slippers or flip-flops – these are ideal as you won’t have to bend down to put them on, which could be a little uncomfortable at first.
- Fibre-rich snacks – to help relieve constipation, pack snacks like dried prunes or apricots.
- Arnica cream/tablets – arnica cream (don’t apply directly to wound) can sometimes help reduce bruising and promote healing.
Baby hospital bag
Mum’s hospital bag is also baby’s hospital bag! So, all your own things as well as your baby’s things can go in the same pre-packed hospital bag.
The number one item that should be top of your list – nappies. And believe us, you’ll need a lot, even if you’re only in the hospital for a short amount of time. You can choose either disposable nappies or reusable ones – the choice is yours!
- Newborn clothes
You’ll need to have a selection of clothes. And depending on the length of your stay in the hospital, you may need to change your cutie a number of times, so make sure to pack a couple of each. Onesies and vests are the most practical as they’re easy to pop on and remove. You’ll also need to make sure you have a baby hat, as this will help to keep your little one warm if the hospital is chilly – plus they’ll also look super cute in it. The hat will also come handy when you’re taking them home – don’t forget the scratch mittens, socks and booties too!
- Car seat
This one’s not so much for the hospital overnight bag but more one that you’ll need to have prepared. Most hospitals will require that you have a suitable car seat for your new teeny tot. This will ensure their safe journey back to their new, loving home, whether that’s via car or taxi. Best of all, there are hundreds of car seats on the market, but for your newborn you’ll need a Group 0+ car seat, which will then change once your babe has grown. However, we understand it can be tricky to get your head around all the different types of car seats. Thankfully, we’ve got all the answers to help you make sense of it all.
Additional things we recommend packing for your babe include:
- Baby blanket – for when you’re going back home.
- Muslins/bibs – useful for those messy mishaps.
- Baby wipes – to clean up those little accidents.
- Sudocrem – super soft cream for your cutie’s delicate skin, to protect against the causes of nappy rash.
Hospital bag for twins
Generally, you’ll need double of everything if you’re giving birth to two bundles of joy. However, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
- Take two bags – we recommend splitting your hospital bag essentials into two bags when there’s two on the way as you’ll have double of everything.
- Be mindful – after giving birth to twins, you’re most likely to be the size you were when you were around six months pregnant. Keep this in mind when packing clothes and underwear for after you’ve given birth to your angels.
- Extra car seat – don’t forget to put two car seats in your vehicle as you’ll be taking an extra little one home.
Hospital bag for dad
Let’s not forget dad too! Yes, even he may need a hospital bag, especially if he’s your birthing partner.
- Change of clothes – if home isn’t around the corner, dad will need an extra pair of fresh clothes, for example pants and a T-shirt.
- Comfortable shoes – expect a lot of pacing up and down the ward, as well as the hospital room, so comfy shoes are essential.
- Pillow – dad may be able to catch some shut eye in a chair so having his own pillow will make all the difference.
- Toiletries – take a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and anything else that will help dad feel fresh as mummy may be in hospital for a while. And if he’s the birthing partner, he won’t be allowed to shower at the hospital so deodorant is a must.
- Plenty of change – if you’re driving, money will be needed for the hospital car park, and plus it’ll also come handy for the vending machine too.
- Entertainment – when mum to be is getting her beauty sleep, it’s good to have a distraction, for example books, magazines, podcasts or some sudoku.
- Music – if you want to feel at home, get dad to make a playlist so that the hospital or birth centre feels more relaxing.
- Camera/smartphone – of course you’ll want to commemorate the big day, so make sure you’ve got some form of a camera at hand to snap some gorgeous shots of your little miracle.
- Anything on mum’s hospital bag checklist – once you go into labour, your needs become dad’s responsibility! So, it’s a good idea for him to be mindful of any last-minute things that need to go in your pregnancy hospital bag.
You’ve just been through a beautiful journey, but it’ll also have been a little bit of an ordeal from time to time. Therefore, those extra home comforts will make all the difference.
- Lightweight dressing gown
A lightweight dressing gown is essential. You’ll need something you can throw on quickly if you’re birthing in a pool, or if you’re staying in hospital for a few days and going back and forth to the toilet a lot. Plus, once your angel is here, wearing your dressing gown will introduce them to mummy’s comforting smell, as well as friendly bacteria.
- Phone and charger
You’ll want to make sure you have your phone on you to keep friends and family up to date, as well as announce the arrival of your babe. Don’t forget your charger too, you don’t want to run out of battery when snapping pictures of your cutie!
Cravings will well and truly be underway, and they come at the most unexpected times, so pack a good mix of snacks that you enjoy. And remember, this isn’t the time to battle cravings, so if all you want is a Cadbury’s chocolate bar – go for it. And if you need some ideas for labour snacks, you’re in luck!
- Delivery survival kit
This should include little bits and bobs that you may want to help get you through labour. For example, you may want your phone to listen to music, essential oils for relaxation or distractions like a book or magazine.
Lavender oil is particularly good as it has multiple uses. Get your birthing partner to massage your lower back or neck using lavender oil, and revel in its comforting fragrance which can help calm you down during labour. Plus, it’s also an antiseptic, so a couple of drops on your maternity pad can help to soothe your perineum post-birth.
- Feel good toiletries
After giving birth, the last thing you’ll want to do is put on a face of makeup. However, you may want to be able to freshen up for visitors or give yourself a little pampering. Plus, you deserve it! So, make sure to pack little things like facial spray, moisturiser, lip balm and body spray.
Sometimes the gas and air given to you during labour can leave a horrible aftertaste in your mouth. So, a pack of polos could be a good idea to pack in your hospital bag, for when you need a refreshing uplift!
Small touches like packing your own pillow can be a good way to remind yourself of those special home comforts. It’ll allow you to soften into labour as well as feel more relaxed in an unfamiliar setting. Before you know it, you’ll be so snug and comfy that you’ll think it feels just like home!
Remember – packing your hospital bag shouldn’t be stressful – think of it as an exciting milestone! And with our hospital bag checklist, you won’t have to worry about forgetting the essentials. After you’ve got your packing done and dusted, you can kick back and relax knowing you’re more than prepared. If you want to be even more on the ball, pop your hospital bag ready in the car or by the front door. That way you’ll be ready and raring to go for the big day. Before you know it, you can cradle your pride and joy to your heart’s content and smother them with snuggles!