A handy guide to all you need to pack in your maternity hospital bag
Welcoming a new baby into this world is wonderful, but it can be more than a little overwhelming. Here, we hope to help you feel more at ease with our guide on how to pack your hospital bag.
With a rundown of all the essentials you need to take you through labour to birth and beyond, our handy checklist ensures you arrive at the hospital prepared, with one or two added luxuries included…
When should I pack my hospital bag?
There’s no set rule on when you should pack your hospital bag, but being prepared never hurt anyone! It can be a good idea to get a few things ready at least three weeks before your due date in case your baby arrives a little sooner than expected, and then adding snacks and perishable items just before you leave.
What type of hospital bag do I need?
Any style of bag will do, as long as it fits everything you need – and yes, a mini suitcase will also do the trick. You might find that packing two separate bags is more efficient; one for during labour and one for afterwards, so you can easily locate items when you need them.
Once you’ve got everything together, leave your bags by the door or any other accessible place so they’re easy to grab and go when the time comes. Let your birth partner or whoever is driving you to the hospital know where they are, too.
What else should I prepare outside of my hospital bag?
It’s important to plan how you will get to the hospital or midwifery unit, as you won’t be able to predict when you might need to make this journey. Talk to your birth partner or whoever is driving you to ensure they know what to do when the time comes. If you’re planning to go by car, make sure you have plenty of fuel in the tank, too.
The first few weeks as a mother are precious, and you’ll want to spend as much time with your newborn as you can. If you’re able to, in the weeks leading up to your due date, gather items you’ll be regularly using, so you don’t feel caught out. Consider buying basic items, such as toilet roll, sanitary towels and nappies, and stocking up your freezer with leftovers.
Getting your hospital bag ready
Include everything you’ll need for your baby, plus a few little luxuries for yourself. And don’t forget the car seat! You won’t be allowed to leave the hospital without it.
Now that’s out the way, here’s our ultimate hospital bag checklist for mum, baby and partners!
What you’ll need to pack
Medical notes and birth plan (if you have one)
Having these at hand and ready to share with your labour team will help keep things running smoothly. Top tip: it’s worth having a few extra copies.
We recommend packing mini deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, your skincare routine, shower gel and shampoo and conditioner. These are must-haves for freshening up and for feeling vaguely human when the visitors start popping by to congratulate you.
Maternity pads and disposable maternity briefs
While not the most glamorous of additions, ensuring you’ve got plenty of maternity pads and briefs is a necessity to help with bleeding after birth (which is totally normal btw). The good news? They’re super comfortable.
You’ll be grateful for a nourishing balm if your pout is feeling parched. Look for ones containing petroleum jelly or beeswax as these ingredients help form a layer of hydrating protection.
Have a book or a film downloaded for any moments of down time – when it comes to the unpredictability of the labour ward, there may be more time spent waiting than you think.
The not-so-humble face flannel is ideal for dipping in water and cooling off a hot forehead.
A baby changing bag full of compartments is a great way to keep all your baby’s items in one organised place.
At times like these, comfort really is key. Choose natural fibres and soft textures. And, if you’re planning to breastfeed, you might benefit from something that buttons down at the front.
Slippers or flip flops
Comfy, easily accessible footwear is a must. You’ll not want to be fussing with laces and your feet will thank you.
Hair clips, scrunchies and a hairbrush
We predict there’ll be more than just a few occasions where you’ll want your hair kept out of your face… trust us.
Your charger is one of the most important things to pack. Ensure your phone is full of juice for when those lovely congratulatory messages start pouring in.
What you’ll need to pack for baby
Outfits and accessories
Nothing is more adorable than packing for your new arrival. Here are the must-haves:
3 baby vests (newborn/0-3 months)
Opt for cotton vests to keep your bubba warm and comfortable.
3 sleepsuits (newborn/0-3 months)
When it comes to your newborn, you’ll be surprised at the amount of clothes they get through! Packing three sleepsuits is a good starting point.
Soft baby hat (newborn)
Perfect for keeping their little head warm.
Pair of baby socks (newborn)
Perfect for keeping their little tootsies toasty!
A coming home outfit (newborn)
This is your opportunity to pack something seriously adorable (and snug) so your new baby looks their best and feels their most cosy coming home. Too cute.
Pair of scratch mitts
Newborns can have surprisingly sharp nails. Ensure there are no nicks with a soft pair of mitts.
For keeping your bundle of joy warm and comfy.
Keep the dribbles at bay with some easily washable bibs.
Help keep things mess-free with these baby-changing necessities.
Cotton wool balls or pads
Soft and comfortable on delicate little newborn bottoms.
We’ve never seen anything cuter!
A must for easy (and smell proof) nappy disposal.
Help keep those first few feeds as mess-free as possible with these useful products to hand.
Perfect for draping over your shoulder, muslin squares are ideal for wiping up any spillages – of which there will be many!
Breast pads are a great option for protecting your clothing from any breast milk leakage. We suggest stocking up on these.
If you’re hoping to breastfeed, consider bringing a breastfeeding pillow – they’re excellent for helping keep things comfortable.
Keep sore nipples at bay by regularly applying a nourishing nipple cream. We can assure you, you’ll be glad you did!
Your breasts are likely to feel tender and trading up to a maternity bra can be a good idea. A great one should be unwired and soft that doesn’t scrimp on the support.
Non-essentials… but nice to have
Because if anyone deserves a little luxury, it’s you.
Your own pillow
Let’s be honest, nothing beats the feel of your own pillow. If you know you’ll appreciate it? Bring it!
Sometimes that precious first bath happens at the hospital. You might want to consider packing your own soft baby towel for optimum comfort.
Set the scene and aid zen with a relaxing room mist or pillow spray. Lavender is one of our favourites for its calming, relaxing aroma.
A birthing playlist
A birthing playlist (or even downloading a free meditation app) can be a great way to help create the atmosphere you want on a busy maternity ward. Don’t forget your headphones!
Eye mask and earplugs
If the hustle and bustle of the hospital gets too much, it can be handy to pack an eye mask and ear plugs to ensure some uninterrupted (and well-deserved) shut-eye.
Make-up and cosmetics
Whether it’s a slick of mascara or a wash of blush, if your cosmetics give you a confidence boost then pack them. We’re all about a bit of self-care.
Snacks and drinks
That first snack after labour? It just hits differently. And don’t forget your favourite drinks – giving birth can be long, so you’ll appreciate a delicious reward.
Hospital bag must-haves for your partner
In the dash to the hospital, it can be easy to forget the little things that can make a huge difference. Send this list to your partner, so the practicalities are taken care of.
Lightweight, comfortable clothes
Chances are there’s going to be lots of waiting around, so pack comfortable clothes that can be easily layered.
Loose change and chargers
Whether it’s a trip to the vending machines or paying for the car park, loose change always comes in handy at the hospital. Asking partners to keep a track of chargers will give you one less thing to worry about, too.
While they can (maybe) share some of your toiletries, their own washbag could be helpful too.
List of family and friends
Put your partner in charge of a list of people to contact with the baby news. This will ensure you remember to tell everyone you need to – big smiles all round!
If you’re reading this, then chances are your due date is fast approaching and your little bundle of joy is on their way. Hooray! We hope this hospital bag checklist was helpful.
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