What to pack in your hospital bag: Our comprehensive list of everything you may need for the birth of your baby.
This list is full of everything you could possibly need to bring your new baby into the world. We find it is much better to regret bringing too much, than to regret the things you didn’t bring.
If you’ve had a baby before or have a distinct family history you may be expecting a swift delivery and plan to go home quickly and would prefer not to prepare for a long stay and if so that is perfect, you can use this as a guide and omit what you don’t need 😊 We have based this roughly on a one night stay, if you want to plan for longer we recommend adding more clothes & underwear.
Firstly, a small tip before you start packing:
Bring three separate bags, yes you read that correctly – but hear us out!
You’ll want a labour bag, a ward bag for the birthing parent and a ward bag for baby – they can all be packed in one large bag for ease of carrying but you’ll want to be able to have them separate. I found having baby’s stuff in the nappy bag and then a large duffel for the parent’s ward bag with a small labour and birth bag inside worked really well and wasn't too bulky.
When you are in labour and are directing your birthing partner to go get that annoyingly small item from your massive bag it will be 1000x easier for all involved if the partner knows all labour essentials are in the black bag as an example.
Then once on the ward, parent and baby essentials are best split so it’s easier to direct others again and for yourself – you don’t want to have to sift through and pull out everything just to find baby’s tiny little beanies.
Anything you’ll need for labour and the ward we recommend keeping in your labour bag because A. you’ll need that first and B. that is where the most frustration will come from if you can’t find something.
So for what you’ll need I’ll break down in 3 categories for each bag:
Labour & Birth:
- TENS Machine
- Birth plan
- Hair ties
- Bobby pins, clips or a headband - to keep hair off your face
- Chapstick or Pawpaw cream – your lips tend to get very dry in labour, especially in hospital
- Lollies and savoury foods like chips – for you and your birth partner, this is recommended to keep sugars up, you likely won’t want to eat much
- Long phone charger – one for you and your partner if you have different phones
- Thongs – for the shower and to easily slip on an off around the hospital
- Paracetamol and Ibuprofen - for your birthing partner
- Cooling eye mask
- Wheat heat pack
- Labour roller blends
- Mini diffuser – check your hospital policy on this
- Pure clary sage oil – for diffusing
- Spiky massage ball
- Entertainment for the early hours - charged iPad or tablet/word puzzles/card games/magazines
- Bathers/button front nightie/crop top – depending on what you plan to wear in labour
- Birth affirmation cards
- A comb (for pain relief)
- A small Bluetooth speaker or headphones if you plan to listen to music
- A waterproof camera - handier than having to give people your phone when the moment for a photo comes up
- Peanut birthing ball (your hospital may have these)
- A spare change of clothes for your birthing partner (they may get wet)
Parents on the Ward:
- Dressing gown
- 2- 3 packs of Disposable underwear for post-partum bleeding or;
- 5 x High waisted underwear + 2-3 packs of maternity pads
- 3x Button front nighties OR 2x nursing singlets and 3x pyjama pants – it might seem excessive, but you’ll likely leak breastmilk on shirts and bleed on pants and they don’t have washing facilities
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Body wash - something with low or no scent
- Peri bottle
- Outfit to go home in
- Gel breast icepacks
- Gel perineum icepacks
- Nipple cream
- Nipple shield
- 2x Maternity bras
- SRC recovery shorts
- Roll on deodorant
- 1x 3ply Toilet paper roll
+ if your partner is staying on the ward with you, add general toiletries and enough clothes for an overnight stay for them too
Baby on the Ward:
- Small pack of newborn nappies
- 1x Pack of wipes
- 2x Dummies - if using
- 1x Blanket
- 2x Newborn swaddles
- 3x Baby onesies
- 2x Baby beanies
- 3x Baby singlet onesies
- Announcement cards
- Announcement swaddle and beanie set
Okay, I warned you it was going to be long. Some of this might not apply to you, but if you are hoping to go in prepared and not have to send anyone home for anything this list should help with that.
Something we have forgotten? Let us know and we'll add it in!
We recommend having your bag packed around the 36 week mark unless you have been given a heads up that you may go earlier.