Going to hospital your baby bag checklist

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Going to hospital: your baby bag checklist

Make sure you have everything you need for delivery day

Going to hospital: your baby bag checklist

Ideas for things to pack in your hospital bag for giving birth and bringing home baby

Our Mums say

"Having Mozart playing during my baby's birth made the operation a very calm and beautiful experience."
Sarah, mum to Catherine

Don't leave it until the last minute to pack your hospital baby bag! If you go into labour early the last thing you're going to want to do is to scrabble around to get everything together that you need to take with you to hospital.

The NHS says you should have your bag ready at least two weeks before your due date, but many mums on internet chatrooms say how glad they were that their bag was ready at least eight weeks before their due date. When your baby does decide it's time to make their debut, you want to be able to devote all your thoughts to giving birth.

How much should I take?

How much to take can be a tricky balance - space for bags in hospital is limited, but you don't really know how long your labour will last and therefore how long you'll be there.

Once your baby is born, most first time mums stay in hospital for at least one night, but you might be home with baby in your arms on the same day, or you may even have to stay several days.

If you're concerned about a longer stay, you could pack a second bag to leave at home. Fill it with spares of everything, so that if you run out your birthing partner can easily find what you need and bring it along to hospital for you.


Baby bag essentials

There are some things that you won't be able to put into your hospital bag until the last minute, so when the time comes, remember to also take:

Tick them off

Your birth plan and maternity notes

Your phone

For labour:

Important phone numbers written on paper - just in case your mobile battery is flat

An old nightie or t-shirt - giving birth is messy, so be prepared to throw it away afterwards

Lightweight dressing gown and slippers - choose a dark colour to hide any stains, and keep it thin - hospitals can be hot

Socks - your feet can get cold during labour

Hairbands or grips - if you've got long hair you may be glad to have your hair tied back off your face during labour

Snacks and drinks - don't be at the mercy of the vending machines. Pack some for your birth partner too.

Lip balm - hospitals are warm and the salt in your sweat during birth can dry your lips out

Tens machine - if you have decided to use one

Water spray - for a cooling spray on your face during labour

For after the birth:

Nursing bras, nipple cream - if you have chosen to breastfeed

Breast pads - whether or not you plan to breastfeed, you will need pads to stop leakage

Nightie or t-shirt - front opening if you will be breastfeeding

Old comfy knickers - forget the pretty panties and take lots of cotton briefs. You'll be glad - especially if you have a caesarean, as the elastic will be right up by your waist and not near your scar.

Toiletries - decant anything you need into travel-sized bottles. Keep to the basics - such as deodorant, toothbrush and paste, face wipes (or cleanser) and moisturiser

Maternity pads - maternity pads are bigger, more absorbent and softer than sanitary towels. You will probably need to change your pad every couple of hours

Shower gel and a towel - a shower or a wash after labour will feel like an amazing luxury. It might be best to choose an unperfumed shower gel - as you are likely to be sensitive if it has been a vaginal birth

Going home clothes - keep them comfy and loose and try and find waistbands that don't sit low on your tummy, just in case you have had a caesarean. Remember, you won't fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes just yet

Cotton wool balls - for changing baby's nappy. Baby wipes are not recommended for premature babies. There are wipes available that are suitable for newborns, but many hospitals may still advise against using them until baby is two to four weeks old. Speak to your midwife if you are unsure

Tissues and wet wipes - there's always something to mop up!

Nappies and nappy cream - count on changing baby's nappy about 10 times a day. Make sure you buy nappies for newborns

Scratch mittens - baby skin is delicate, so prevent your little one from scratching themselves

Cardigans for baby - pack two for extra warmth, even in spring or summer

Socks or booties - socks tend to stay on baby's feet far better than old-fashioned booties

Sleepsuits - pack at least 3 or 4 in a range of sizes, but have more available which your birthing partner can bring in for you

Baby vests - take at least 3 or 4

Baby hat - for the ride home

Baby blanket - keep baby snug on the way home

Baby car seat - if you're travelling home by car make sure that you and your birth partner have already practised how to use a car seat

A few extras to consider:

  • Giving birth can have long periods of down-time until the contractions build, so you might want to take something to entertain yourself with in hospital such as magazines/books/MP3 player
  • You might also want to put in a hairbrush, to give yourself a spruce up for photos, or when family and friends visit
  • Are you planning to take your camera, or will your birthing partner have theirs? Make sure the battery is fully charged
  • Consider throwing in a few old plastic bags to put any dirty clothes in
  • Do you have a watch, or does your phone have a clock application so you can time the contractions?
  • Most NHS hospitals allow use of mobile phones in certain areas, but it is unlikely you will be allowed to charge your phone there. You may want to buy a phonecard in advance, or take some loose change

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Going to hospital:Your baby bag checklist
Don't leave it until the last minute to pack your hospital baby bag! If you go into labour early the last thing you're going to want to do is to scrabble around to get everything together that you need to take with you to hospital.

The NHS says you should have your bag ready at least two weeks before your due date, but many mums on internet chatrooms say how glad they were that their bag was ready at least eight weeks before their due date. When your baby does decide it's time to make their debut, you want to be able to devote all your thoughts to giving birth.
How much should I take?
How much to take can be a tricky balance - space for bags in hospital is limited, but you don't really know how long your labour will last and therefore how long you'll be there. Once your baby is born, most first time mums stay in hospital for at least one night, but you might be home with baby in your arms on the same day, or you may even have to stay several days. If you're concerned about a longer stay, you could pack a second bag to leave at home. Fill it with spares of everything, so that if you run out your birthing partner can easily find what you need and bring it along to hospital for you.
Baby bag essentials
There are some things that you won't be able to put into your hospital bag until the last minute, so when the time comes, remember to also take:
  • Your birth Plan and maternity notes
  • Your phone
For labour
  • Important phone numbers written on paper - just in case your mobile battery is flat
  • An old nightie or T-shirt - giving birth is messy, so be prepared to throw it away afterwards
  • Lightweight dressing gown and slippers - choose a dark colour to hide any stains and keep it thin - hospitals can be hot.
  • Socks - your feet can get cold during labour
  • Hairbands and grips - if you've got long hair you may be glad to have your hair tied back off your face during labour
  • Snacks and drinks - don't be at the mercy of the vending machines. Pack some for your birth partner too.
  • Lip Balm - hospitals are warm and the salt in your sweat during birth can dry your lips out
  • Tens machine - if you have decided to use one
  • Water spray - for a cooling spray on your face during labour
For after the birth
  • Nursing bras, nipple cream - if you have chosen to breastfeed
  • Breast pads - whether or not you plan to breastfeed, you will need pads to stop leakage
  • Nightie or T-shirt - front opening if you will be breastfeeding
  • Old comfy knickers - forget the pretty panties and take lots of cotton briefs. You'll be glad - especially if you have a caesarean, as the elastic will be right up by your waist and not near your scar.
  • Toileteries - decant anything you need into travel-sized bottles. Keep to the basics - such as deodorant, toothbrush and paste, face wipes (or cleanser) and moisturiser
  • Maternity pads - maternity pads are bigger, more absorbent and softer than sanitary towels. You will probably need to change your pad every couple of hours
  • Shower gel and a towel - a shower or a wash after labour will feel like an amazing luxury. It might be best to choose an unperfumed shower gel - as you are likely to be sensitive if it has been a vaginal birth
  • Going home clothes - keep them comfy and loose and try and find waistbands that don't sit low on your tummy, just in case you have had a caesarean. Remember, you won't fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes just yet
  • Cotton wool balls - for changing baby's nappy. Baby wipes are not recommended for premature babies. There are wipes available that are suitable for newborns, but many hospitals may still advise against using them until baby is two to four weeks old. Speak to your midwife if you are unsure
  • Tissues and wet wipes - there's always something to mop up!
  • Nappies - count on changing baby's nappy about 10 times a day. Make sure you buy nappies for newborns
  • Scratch mittens - baby skin is delicate, so prevent your little one from scratching themselves
  • Cardigans for baby - pack two for extra warmth, even in spring or summer
  • Socks or booties - socks tend to stay on baby's feet far better than old-fashioned booties
  • Sleepsuits - pack at least 3 or 4 in a range of sizes, but have more available which your birthing partner can bring in for you
  • Baby vests - take at least 3 or 4
  • Baby hat - for the ride home
  • Baby blanket - keep baby snug on the way home
  • Baby car seat - if you're travelling home by car make sure that you and your birth partner have already practised how to use a car seat


A few extras to consider
  • Giving birth can have long periods of down-time until the contractions build, so you might want to take something to entertain yourself with in hospital such as magazines/books/MP3 player
  • You might also want to put in a hairbrush, to give yourself a spruce up for photos, or when family and friends visit
  • Are you planning to take your camera, or will your birthing partner have theirs? Make sure the battery is fully charged
  • Consider throwing in a few old plastic bags to put any dirty clothes in
  • Do you have a watch, or does your phone have a clock application so you can time the contractions?
  • Most NHS hospitals allow use of mobile phones in certain areas, but it is unlikely you will be allowed to charge your phone there. You may want to buy a phonecard in advance, or take some loose change
You can also try soothing and cooling your legs with these products.
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