Hospital Bag Essentials Checklist
Packing your hospital bag for labour can feel like a mammoth task. Perhaps you’re dreading it almost as much as the labour itself! But fear not, because we’ve put together this handy checklist of everything you’ll need in your hospital bag to ensure that the big day goes as smoothly as possible.
It’s often a good idea to pack multiple hospital bags. You might want to pack one bag for the labour itself and another for afterwards, as this helps with organisation. Some mums-to-be also like to pack a separate bag for their birth partner and another for their baby. How you divide up the packing is up to you, but we’ve split this post up into four lists to make things extra easy.
Ideally, you should have your hospital bag packed by 36 weeks, or at least two weeks before your due date. That being said, it never hurts to start the process early. Once the bag is packed, keep it somewhere easily accessible and close to the door so you can grab it in a hurry.
As for the bag itself, changing bags work perfectly - especially as you’ll be needing one right after the birth anyway!
What To Pack for Labour
- Your birth plan if you’ve chosen to create one.
- Your phone and charger - You wouldn’t go to the shop without your phone, so make sure you’ve got it for when you go into labour! Double check that you’ve got plenty of data available, too.
- A wash bag with your toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash and other toiletries.
- Medication if you’re prescribed to any.
- Spare glasses and/or contact lenses if you wear them.
- Large t-shirt or nightie to wear during labour. Obviously, don’t pack your brand new designer gear. Choose something light, loose, super comfortable and preferably old.
- Dressing gown - You might find it helpful to pace up and down the corridors during the early stages of labour and want a dressing gown to cover up with. Choose a fairly thin one as hospitals tend to be warm.
- Entertainment - Reading a guilty pleasure magazine or doing a sudoku can help you to relax and take your mind off of things. You could also download episodes of your favourite comedy series onto your phone or tablet, or bring a comforting, easy-to-read book.
- Socks - Funnily enough, your feet can get cold during labour so make sure to pack a decent pair of socks in your hospital bag.
- Birth ball and pump - It’s a good idea to double check whether or not your chosen hospital has a birth ball for you to use before taking up space in the bag.
- Hair bands and clips - Again, not something you might immediately think of but it’s more than likely that you’ll want your hair out of your face during labour.
- Flip-flops or slippers for walking around the hospital.
- Pillows - Some women find hospital pillows uncomfortable so you might prefer to take your own for extra support.
- Food and drink - Perhaps not a full-on picnic, but many women are able to eat and drink during labour. Your favourite healthy snacks and sports drinks may help you to stay refreshed and keep your strength up.
- Lip balm - Gas and air can dry your lips out, so it’s a good idea to pop a tube of lip balm in your hospital bag.
For After the Birth
- Maternity pads to absorb post-natal bleeding.
- Going-home outfit - This should be the same size as your maternity clothes, and equally loose and comfortable.
- Nursing bras and breast pads - Even if you decide not to breastfeed, you’ll need a few of these at first.
- Front-opening nightwear - A front-opening nightie or button-down pyjamas are much more convenient for breastfeeding.
- Underwear - Leave the fancy stuff at home and bring a few pairs of old and/or cheap underwear that you don’t mind being ruined.
- Eye mask and earplugs - These can help you sleep in a bright and noisy hospital. Every moment of shut-eye is precious!
Birth Partner Packing List
- Plenty of change - Hospital parking metres are notoriously greedy and the mum-to-be might require extra drinks and snacks from the vending machine. Trust us, the last thing you want is to run out of change at the crucial moment!
- Phone and charger - Always essential, but even more so when it comes to labour.
- Copy of the birth plan - It never hurts to have a backup.
- Water spray, essential oils and a handheld fan - These things can prove soothing and offer mum a little relief.
- Massage oils and lotions - Your hands might get tired after a while, and complaining won’t go down well…
- Painkillers - On that note, pack some painkillers in case the process starts to make you feel unwell. Sure, you’ll be in a hospital, but no-one will be too worried about your headache on the maternity ward.
- Drinks and snacks - Having a ready-prepared stash saves you from having to leave the room.
- Change of clothes - There’s no telling how long you’ll be at the hospital and it’s a long and sweaty process. You’ll be very glad of a change of clothes.
- Toiletries - You’ll definitely want to freshen up at one point or another, so make sure you’ve got all of your essential toiletries with you.
- Spare contact lenses/glasses, if necessary.
- A push present - We all love getting gifts and “push presents” have become increasingly popular in recent years. If you’d like to do something nice for mum to be, we think that a decorative nursery item makes a beautiful gift.
- Nappies - Newborn babies need changing up to 12 times per day so make sure you have plenty of nappies in your hospital bag.
- Blankets - Is there anything more adorable than the sight of a baby swaddled in a soft blanket? You’ll need a high-quality blanket to wrap up your precious bundle of joy.
- Socks and booties
- Cotton wool tends to be kinder than baby wipes on a newborn’s soft skin, so pack plenty of this for changing.
- Car seat - This doesn’t go in your hospital bag per se but it’s crucial that you’re able to get your bundle of joy home safely.
- Sleepsuits and vests
- Muslin squares to wipe away sick and excess milk from baby’s mouth
- Scratch mitts - Newborn babies can accidentally scratch themselves, so scratch mitts protect their delicate skin.
- A hat and jacket if it’s cold outside. Remember to take the baby's jacket off before putting them in the car seat.
Find Your Perfect Hospital Bag
Now that you know exactly what to pack in your hospital bag, check out our range of beautiful and functional changing bags. If you’ve got any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re here to help, and we'd be glad to help you find the right accessories and equipment for you and your growing family.