Knowing what to pack in your hospital bag when you’re having a baby is both very exciting and a little overwhelming! I could not wait to pack my hospital bag when I was pregnant. I made lists and packed, unpacked and repacked. I did this pretty much on repeat. But do you know what? I didn’t actually need a lot of the stuff that I packed! So, to help other parents to be, I have created a printable hospital bag checklist.
I have included all of the hospital bag essentials you’ll need for mum, dad/birthing partner and baby for both labour and delivery.
To make it even easier, I have made this a Printable Hospital Bag Checklist so that you can print it off and check it off as you pack. You have enough to be getting on with without worrying about making a list of things to pack!
When To Pack
Generally, people have their bags ready between 32 and 35 weeks, but you can pack your bag whenever you want! There is no set in stone time, but it does need to be done at least two weeks before your due date.
However, do bear in mind that if you are pregnant with twins, you may go into labour early, so it’s a good idea to have the bags packed and ready.
Hospital Bag For Mum
Birth Plan/Hospital Notes
Obviously, you’ll still need these for your midwife appointments, so I started to make a habit of resting my notes just on top of my hospital bag.
If you have mid to long hair, make sure you pack a million hair bands and clips. Put them in every pocket so that they are easy to find. You never know if one will break, so it’s always best to have too many than not enough.
Also, make sure that you have easy to use hair clips. When I was in labour, some of my wispy bits of hair were coming out of my hairband, and I only had one of those thin sweat headbands, and it kept pinging off of my head. It’s an annoyance that you don’t need during labour!
Loose Fitting/Front Opening Nighties
Or oversized t-shirts. Make sure that you pack more than one. Depending on how long you’re in labour and when your waters break, you’ll probably want to get changed.
If you decide to breastfeed after you’ve given birth, you’ll want to get some easy access front opening nighties. Babies don’t like to be kept waiting, you know!
You might want to take your dressing gown as you may spend time pacing up and down the corridors. Personally, I didn’t use one. It was about 3,000ºc in the hospital, and I didn’t like feeling constricted.
You’re going to want footwear that is easy to slip on and off. You don’t want to be faffing around when you’re in labour. Flip flops are also handy as you can wear them in the shower if you don’t want to go barefoot.
Fans/Spray Water Bottle
Being in labour is hard work, and you will get hot. Make sure you take a fan with you or a spray water bottle to help keep you cool.
Take things to keep you occupied. Sometimes things move slowly, so you may have some waiting around to do so at the beginning, so it’s worth having things to keep you occupied. Just make sure you pack your charger!
Glasses or Contacts
Personally, I did not fancy wearing my lenses during labour because it was just too much hassle! Each to their own, though. Don’t forget to pack lens solution and your glasses, just in case you change your mind.
Take some good snacks with you! I opted for energy bars and anything easy to break into bite-sized chunks. Make sure you include some energy drinks too and lots of water.
You’ll need the usual shower gel, sponge, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, moisturiser, lip balm, toothbrush, toothpaste (you could purchase a new toothbrush and toothpaste if you are worried about forgetting them), deodorant, hairbrush, and towel.
Unless you are really dedicated, I probably wouldn’t pack your 5 step cleansing routine. You’ve just had a baby; give yourself a little break. Same with makeup. You’ve just had a baby; you’re going to look tired! Also, your baby really won’t care if you have winged eyeliner and contoured cheekbones.
Some mums pack some massage oil or essential oils so that their birthing partner can give them a little massage during labour. Personally, I would hate it, but I thought I would include the option for you.
Little side note – go easy with the perfume or body spray. You’ll be cuddling that little babe in close, so you don’t want to overpower them with fragrance; they want to smell you. Also, unless you have a private room, the smell will travel and interfere with the other babies trying to connect with their own mummy’s scents.
Oh, don’t forget to pack any medication that you are on!
Pants. Big Pants
I picked the biggest black pants I could find from Primark, and I am so glad that I did. They were so comfy. I also took some disposable underwear with me. I would not recommend picking up the cheapest ones that you can find. They were thin, too small and uncomfortable, so always double-check what you are getting first. You don’t want to leave it too late like I did.
Make sure you pack a decent amount of maternity pads in your bag. You’ll need maternity pads, not just ordinary sanitary towels. Maternity pads are specially designed to be longer, thicker, more absorbent, and less likely to irritate any stitches.
Bras And Breast Pads
You will need some good quality bras. Those boobies will get big, so you’ll probably need to go up a size or two! Don’t forget your breast pads too!
If you decide to breastfeed, you’ll need to pack some quality nursing bras, at least two. At first, I purchased mine from Primark, but they just were not good enough. You will also need to pack a good quality nipple cream, such as Lansinoh cream and a nursing pillow unless you are happy to use pillows like I did.
If you need any breastfeeding advice, make sure you check out my Ultimate Guide of Breastfeeding Advice.
Going Home Outfit
Pack something comfortable and loose-fitting for going home. You don’t have to look stylish; you need to make sure you’re comfortable!
Hospital Bag For Baby
Babies poop a lot. We took a whole pack to the hospital with us. We didn’t use them all, but you never know how long you’ll be in the hospital, so it’s better to safe than sorry.
Take a couple of packets – again – you have no idea how long you’re going to be in the hospital. Make sure that they are sensitive and suitable for use on a newborn.
Just like babies poop a lot, they’ll also be sick a lot. You’ll need a few of these at the hospital!
Baby Grows And Vests
Pack a couple of both of these. Due to the poop and the sick, there may be a few outfit changes!
Milk and Bottles
If you’re not planning on breastfeeding, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got some pre-prepared milk that comes in the ready-made bottles.
Although the hospital usually does provide a blanket, still take your own for when you leave the hospital.
Hats, Socks, Scratch Mittens
Take a couple of hats, as the first one they wear usually is soon after birth, and it tends to get covered in goop. Scratch mittens will CONSTANTLY fall off, and you’ll probably lose one here and there, so take a couple with you.
Going Home Outfit
There is so much pressure to find the perfect outfit to take your baby home in! I actually took a couple of outfits because I wasn’t sure what the weather was going to be like (it was July, what was I thinking?! Of course it was going to be hot!) In the end, it was so hot that my little one went home in a vest.
If you’re having a winter baby, make sure you pack something snuggly and warm. Don’t forget – if you have put your baby in a snowsuit or anything with fluffy or puffy padding, this will need to be removed before they go in the car seat.
Make sure you know how it goes in and out of the car before going to the hospital!
Hospital Bag For Dad/Birthing Partner
Change Of Clothes
There is no way of telling how long you’ll be at the hospital. There’s nothing worse than being in 3-day old pants now, is there?
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Stuff To Freshen Up
All of the focus is on the mum during labour, and all of the showers are typically reserved for mums only. You may have to do a quick strip wash in a sink, so be prepared for that.
Again, you have no idea how long you’re going to be in the hospital. But please, for the love of God, DO NOT just read your book or play a game on your phone the whole time. Mum needs looking after.
Glasses Or Contacts
Like I said above, I would probably opt for glasses as no one wants to be wearing contacts for 72 hours!
Snacks And Drinks
Food is only supplied to Mums so make sure you take food that will sustain you or have money for the canteen. Energy drinks will also be very handy.
You’ll likely have to sleep in a chair. If you’re lucky, you might get a fold-out chair. So take a pillow with you so at least have a little bit of comfort.
And there we have it! Your complete Printable Hospital Bag Checklist. I hope you have found this helpful. Now you’re ready to have your baby. Before you go, make sure you have a read of What Happens To Your Body After Giving Birth so that you are fully prepared!