It’s time to get ready for the big day and we’re here to help take the stress out of it! If there’s one thing guaranteed to make your experience more enjoyable: it’s preparation! That means making sure you have everything you could possibly need in your hospital bag ready to go.
Our handy hospital bag checklist will ensure you pack everything you need for labour, your post-birth stay, and baby’s first days.
When To Pack Your Hospital Bag
When it comes to packing your hospital bag, the sooner the better.
Sure, you can wait until the last minute—but then you’ll probably end up rushing around in a panic and forgetting something essential.
Instead, we recommend getting organised at least three weeks before your due date. This way, if your baby arrives early, you won’t be caught off guard.
What Type Of Hospital Bag Do You Need?
A lot of people like to buy a special hospital bag. But really, you can use whatever bag you have that’s big enough for all your things. The most important thing is that you feel confident and prepared for your birth!
To avoid chaos, it’s wise to separate your things into three different bags or compartments. One for labour, one for afterward, and one for all your baby’s stuff. This tip will help you find things quickly and without any unnecessary hassle. It also makes sense to show your partner where everything is so they can help out when you’re working hard on bringing a baby into the world.
Remember to keep your bag/s by the door or in the car you plan to take so you don’t forget them in all the excitement.
Hospital Bag Checklist
Packing an overnight hospital bag for two (or more) can be a daunting prospect. The list of things to think about can make your head spin, especially if this is your first time.
But before you go into full-blown panic mode, we’ve broken down everything you’ll need to pack in your hospital bag into 10 easy steps.
So practice that all-important deep breathing and let’s get started!
Packing Your Hospital Bag For Birth
Step 1: Pack your paperwork
Make sure to pack all of the necessary paperwork, including your hospital notes with medical information and your birth plan if you have one so that everything runs smoothly once you arrive at the hospital.
If you have a hospital appointment after packing your hospital bag, don’t forget to put the paperwork back in the bag when you get home.
- Hospital Notes
- Birth Plan
Step 2: Pick Your Labour Look
You might want to look cute, but you also need to be comfortable. So pack a nightie or oversized t-shirt for labour- something you don’t mind getting ruined. Giving birth is an exciting time, but it can be messy.
It’s also a good idea to pack a dressing gown. It’s easy to get cold during labour, and hospitals are often colder than you’d expect. On that note, be sure to pack some warm socks too.
And don’t forget your footwear! Backless slippers or sliders are handy as they’ll be easy to slip on and off as needed.
- T-shirt or nightie
- Dressing Gown
Step 3: Prepare Your Pain Relief
Hospitals may supply strong pain relief, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your own stash at home! Here’s what we recommend packing in your hospital bag for pain relief, however, they are all optional.
-A birthing ball: Some hospitals supply birthing balls for their patients, but others don’t. If yours doesn’t, it’s a good idea to bring one with you. They can help relieve back pain during early labour, and positioning during birth.
-A tens machine. These are great for helping with contractions and back pain during labour. They’re easy to use, but make sure you’re familiar with how it works before using it at the hospital
-Extra pillows for support during labour and delivery (and postpartum recovery)
-Face spray. You’ll be glad you have it on hand when you’re in labour, because a spritz or two will keep you feeling refreshed and boost your mood and energy levels. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, both a cold flannel or a handheld fan would work wonders to cool you down too!
-Body lotion or massage oil: Some women find that having their partner rub their backs while they’re in labour helps them relax and eases some of the pain.
Step 4: Toiletries Time
We’ll get to most of the toiletries you need for your stay later, but in this section of your bag you’ll want to pack a couple of essential bits for during labour:
Hairbands or clips are important because, in the hours leading up to birth, your hair may become very sweaty and tangled. Keeping your hair out of your face and off your shoulders will help you focus on the work at hand.
And you probably wouldn’t think about this one, but labour makes lips super dry—so don’t forget to pack some lip balm in your hospital bag.
- Lip Balm
Step 5: Pick Your Entertainment
No one can predict how long labour will last.
While many labours only last a few hours, this isn’t always the case. And there may be more time spent just waiting than you think. So make sure that you’ve got things in your hospital bag to help you pass the time and relax such as;
-A Film or Podcast Downloaded; so you can pass the time while you’re waiting for things to start moving along.
-Things to help you relax and distract yourself from the pain – such as a personalised labour playlist; full of tracks to keep you motivated!
- Labour Playlist
Step 6: Sort Out Your Snacks
Labour can be physically demanding, so it’s important to keep snacks on hand so you have the energy to push through.
Your labour snacks should be:
-Healthy: You’ll be working hard, so you need to fuel up with healthy foods that will keep your energy levels up. Think cereal/protein bars, rice cakes, nuts, seeds or crackers.
– Non-Perishable: You’ll probably have time to throw in some fruit or make up a sandwich before you head off to the hospital, but it goes without saying don’t pack anything perishable weeks beforehand.
-Things You’ve Wanted To Eat Throughout Pregnancy. It is common to feel nauseous during labour, so don’t choose anything too out there! Stick to what you’ve been craving for the past 9 months.
– Drinks: Make sure your electrolytes are kept up during labour by packing some kind of caffeine-free sports drink or coconut water.
- Healthy Snacks
Packing Your Hospital Bag For After Delivery
Step 7: Your Shower Stuff
One of the first things you’re going to want to do post-giving birth, apart from meeting your new family member of course, is clean up.
A nice hot shower, some soothing lotion, and being wrapped in your favourite towel can help you feel like yourself again.
- Shower Gel/Lotion
Step 8: Pack Pads And Plenty Of Them
We know, this isn’t exactly the most fun topic to talk about. But trust us: you won’t want to forget these.
Maternity pads are definitely one of the most important things to pack in your hospital bag. You’ll need them after birth to soak up all those… fluids. (Sorry.)
- 2 Packs of Maternity Pads/Super Absorbent Sanitary Towels
Step 9: Think Morning Routine
Your hospital room is going to be your home away from home while you’re there. So, when you’re packing your hospital bag, it’s helpful to think about all the things you need in your morning and night-time routines. Like; your toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup, hairbrush, contact lenses—you get the picture. Also any medication you might need.
- Face Wash/Wipes
- Beauty Essentials
- Glasses/Contact Lenses
- Any Medication You’re Taking
- Eye Mask/Ear Plugs (maternity wards can get noisy)
Step 10: Your New Mum Wardrobe
It’s always better to over-prepare than under-prepare when it comes to being comfortable in the hospital. That being said, here’s our recommended checklist for post-delivery clothing essentials.
- 3 changes of clothing. The more comfortable the better (Don’t forget socks).
- 2 Nighties: Front-opening if you’re going to breastfeed
- 5 or 6 pairs of knickers – you may want to consider opting for some disposable ones
- Breast pads (if planning to breastfeed)
- 2 or 3 comfortable and supportive bras; nursing bras if you’re going to breastfeed
And that’s all you need for your labour and post-delivery stay! But, it’s not the end of your hospital bag packing.
You also need to make sure you have everything packed for your new baby too! And, make sure your partner knows what they are responsible for.
What Should My Birth Partner Pack?
If you’ve got a birth partner, they are responsible for grabbing the important last-minute things you won’t have time to think about or can’t pack before (unless you have spares) such as; phone chargers, phones, cameras, and money. If you want photos or videos of the birth process; make sure the electricals are kept charged.
- Important Electricals – Chargers, Cameras, Phones
- Food & Drink
- Change Of Clothes
What You’ll Need To Pack For Baby
Now, on to the fun part! Packing your baby’s hospital bag. Your little one may be small, but they will certainly need a lot of things for their first couple of days. Here is a checklist of everything you’ll need to pack:
- 3 Bodysuits or Vests
- 3 Sleepsuits
- A Going-Home Outfit
- A Hat
- Scratch Mitts
- Socks or Booties
- A Pack of Nappies, Nappy Sacks + Cotton Wool Balls, or Pads
- Muslin Squares
- Bottles & Formula if Bottle-Feeding (unless provided)
- Soother/Dummy (if planning to use)
2 Things You Really Don’t Want To Forget
These two things can’t be packed in your hospital bag, but they definitely need to come with you:
- Baby’s car seat: You literally can’t leave the hospital without it!
- Important Phone Numbers
Save the hospital and/or midwife’s number in your phone so you don’t have to worry about it when you need it most.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of our hospital bag checklist.
You are now ready for whenever that little bundle of joy decides to make its appearance!
If there’s anything we’ve missed, feel free to let us know in the comments below and we wish you all the best in the upcoming journey of parenthood!