Packing for your hospital bag should be carefully planned so you have all that you need for a night or two in the hospital. As you never know when your birthing day will arrive, aim to have your hospital bag packed at around 36 weeks pregnant.
This list will help you to pack everything you will need for yourself, baby and even for a partner. Once you are all packed, keep your bag somewhere in reach, perhaps by the door or even in the car so that when it’s time, it’s one less thing to think about.
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Hospital Bag Checklist for Mum During Labour
The most important item to add to your bag is your maternity notes. This way, the midwives or doctors will have instant access to your notes, and have an understanding on how your pregnancy has been and anything they need to be made aware of.
While your birth plan may not go to plan, there will be information to help your birthing team know your wishes during your birthing time. Whether you would like a water birth, pain relief, or skin to skin, they will keep an eye on this to ensure you can have (where possible) all your wishes in your birth plan.
Dry Snacks and Energy Drinks
Think of items that you can pack ahead in your bag that won’t go bad. Crackers, pretzels, dried fruits, cereal bars and flapjacks are all great for your hospital bag. Think of foods that will give you an energy boost, you’ll need the calories and energy to keep you going throughout labour and also once your baby is born.
A drink that comes up often if you can’t eat during your labour is still Lucozade. It will give you some much needed energy and hydrate you at the same time.
If this is something that you think will bring you comfort during your birthing day, pack a small bottle so your partner can massage you when needed.
Swim Wear Top
Especially useful for a water birth. If not a sports bra or the like can also be comfortable.
Many women have cold feet during labour, so keep some to pop on to keep your feet warm.
A dressing gown is also a good idea for walking around during labour or when walking anywhere in the hospital afterwards.
Phone, Speaker & Chargers
You might have birthing day soundtracks or even a Hypnobabies playlist (see my Hypnobabies birth here). Phone calls to make after you deliver and photos you want to take. Don’t forget your chargers!
Hairbrush & Hairbands
Always useful to have to keep your hair tied back during labour and to have your hair brush for the days afterwards.
Checklist for Mum After Delivery
Dark Coloured Nightwear
Due to bleeding after birth, dark coloured clothing is recommended. Choose nightwear that is comfortable and if you plan to breastfeed you can buy nursing nightwear or front opening nightwear.
Slippers /Flip Flops
Useful for walking around the ward in after delivery and flip flops are good to wear in the shower too.
If you’re planning to breastfeed, make sure you pack a few nursing bras. It’s useful to be measured specifically for your nursing bra in the weeks leading up to your due date as professionals will know what size will be best for you once your milk comes in as it will be larger than your maternity bras.
Disposable Knickers / Cotton Knickers
With all the bleeding you’ll have after delivery, it’s sometimes easier to buy disposable knickers that you can simply throw away. These can be purchased in packs. Enough for a couple of days to a week is more than enough. Alternatively, grab some dark coloured cotton knickers which are soft and comfortable with enough space for maternity pads. Bear in mind you will still have postpartum bump while your uterus shrinks so make sure they are still large enough to be comfortable while you are healing.
Maternity pads are thicker, more absorbent and softer than sanitary pads. Be sure to buy pads specifically for maternity as if you end up having stitches, they can catch on the material of sanitary pads. You’ll be more comfortable and will have to worry less about leaking with maternity specific pads.
Once your milk starts coming in, you’ll likely leak here and there. If you are breastfeeding, you will leak even more while feeding. It’s useful to pack a box in your hospital bag. I would suggest investing in some good breast pads as it really makes a difference to how much milk they will hold. Especially over night as when sleeping, you won’t notice the leaking until you wake up and you have milk all over your nightwear and bedding. I would suggest some reusable pads or disposable breast pads. Both are great!
Water Spray Bottle
Grab yourself a water spray bottle to use after delivery for a vaginal birth. If you end up with any tears the acid in your urine can sting. Spraying water on your vagina while you wee, will help to dilute your urine and lessen any pain. The water spray can also come in handy during labour, to cool you down if you’re hot.
Dark Towels & Washcloth
Due to the amount of bleeding, it’s likely you will bleed while showering so it’s really useful to have some dark towels and wash cloths.
Make sure to add all of your usual toiletries to your hospital bag such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, any creams you usually use, deodorant, contact lenses, etc.
Dirty Clothes Bag
A good idea is to pack a couple of bags, one for you and baby and separate bag for yourself for any clothes that have blood or your waters on them.
In these current times, you’ll likely need to pack yourself some face masks to keep you and everyone around you safe.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby
A newborn can get through approximately 20 – 30 nappies in the first couple of days so be sure to pack enough newborn nappies to get you through the first couple of days.
Vests & Babygrows
Pack enough vests and babygrows for your baby’s first couple of days, 3 – 4 of each should be enough. Don’t forget a going home outfit!
Even if it is warm where you live, a cardigan may be a good idea for the journey home as babies body temperature’s don’t regulate the same way ours do. Go with your hospitals recommendation for where you live.
Baby’s nails are often long when born and as their nails are so thin, it’s easy for them to scratch themselves. Pack a few pairs of scratch mitts to prevent scratching until you get a chance to cut their nails down.
Although maternity wards are very warm, babies need to keep warm. A lot of heat is lost from the head so pack a couple of hats for them to wear while in hospital.
Keep your baby’s feet warm during their stay. As said before, baby’s temperatures don’t regulate the way ours do, so even though the ward will be warm they will need some socks.
Newborn’s skin is very sensitive and therefore using cotton wool and water for nappy changes is best in those first few weeks.
Muslin (Burp) Cloths
To help with milk spills, dribble and spit up, pack 3 or 4 to keep you going while in hospital.
If it’s cold when your baby is born, ensure you pack a snowsuit to keep them warm on the journey home.
A blanket for the journey home will keep your baby nice and warm.
Where I live, and I assume in most places, your baby cannot leave the hospital unless they are in a car seat. Do your research and find a car seat that will suit your needs such as fitting onto your pushchair etc, whilst being safe for your baby.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Dad
Change of Clothes
If you are staying over night, it’s useful to have a change or two of clothing. Labour can get a bit messy, so even if not staying, it’s a good idea to have something you can change into, just in case.
Dry Snacks & Drinks
As like Mum above, have some dry snacks to keep your energy up. Hospitals will usually feed Mum, but not their partners. You might find yourself hungry at a time when Mum needs you by her side so disappearing to the canteen will be a no no. Having dry snacks will also ensure they have very little odour which can be off putting for Mum with anything with a strong smell, such as hot meals.
If you plan on joining Mum in the birthing pool, pack some swimwear.
As like above for Mum, pack all of your usual toiletries.
Phone and Charger
Great for keeping loved ones up to date and taking photos after the birth.
Change for Parking
Although many parking machines now accept card, there are still some out there that will only accept cash. The last thing you want, is a parking ticket arriving a few days after you take home Mum and baby!
It’s likely you will be required to wear a face mask in the hospital, so be well prepared and pack a few to keep you for a couple of days.
This list should help to keep you going during a night or two in hospital. If you would like a copy of my FREE Printable Newborn Essentials Checklist bundle which includes a hospital checklist for Mum, baby and partner, PLUS checklists for feeding, going out, clothes, nursery and bath time, please complete the subscription form below! Make sure to click on the link in the email you receive to complete the process!