What should I pack? // Hospital bag checklist

hospital bag

When you’re pregnant and expecting to have your baby in hospital, you should ideally get your hospital bag packed between 4-6 weeks before your due date. Babies can come early so it’s important to gather all your essentials together and keep it in a safe place where your birthing partner knows where it is to grab at a moments notice.

hospital bag

Some people have a hospital bag with essentials for both Mum and a changing bag for baby and this is what worked well for me previously. Dependant on the length of your stay in hospital, you may need to ask your partner to bring in extra supplies but for a regular birth / hospital stay this checklist should serve you well.

You need a large travel / overnight bag or small suitcase but anything too big will just get in the way. Delivery suites and labour wards aren’t particularly big so something your partner can carry will work well.

Essentials for Mum

  • oversize nightie / t-shirt (comfortable enough to birth in)
  • birth plan and pregnancy notes
  • water bottle / water
  • lip balm (if you have ‘Etonox’ aka gas and air, it can make your lips really dry)
  • water spray / fan (to help keep you cool in labour)
  • slipper socks / slippers / flip flops
  • hair bobbles to keep hair out of your face
  • phone and charger
  • energy boosting snacks
  • any medication you take daily

Post-birth essentials for Mum

  • maternity towels
  • maternity knickers / disposable knickers
  • nursing bra
  • breast pads (your breasts will leak post birth)
  • nipple cream
  • loose comfortable clothing to change into (leggings, baggy t-shirts or vests)
  • fresh nightie
  • towel (for that magical post-labour shower)
  • toiletries, hairbrush and make up* (not essential but can make Mums feel better)
  • flannel – to assist with the first wee or shower

Essentials for Baby

I packed these essentials for baby in my changing bag as it kept everything separate. One of the top tips I picked up in my previous pregnancy was to pack a set of baby clothes (sleep suit, vest, hat, mittens, bib and nappy) all in a zip-lock sandwich bag. This was to help my husband know exactly what items of clothing we needed for baby in an instant. It worked well for us last time so we’ll do the same again in the future.

  • nappies
  • nappy sacks
  • nappy cream
  • wipes or cotton wool balls
  • hat, mittens and socks
  • baby clothes – 4 vests / 4 sleepsuits
  • going home outfit
  • pramsuit / snowsuit* (if baby is born in Autumn / Winter)
  • carseat (Group 0+ it’s illegal not to have one if taking baby home in a car)
  • muslin squares
  • bibs
  • blanket
  • readymade formula if not breastfeeding

Essentials for Dad / birthing partner

  • phone charger and phone
  • magazines / book
  • essential phone numbers
  • spare change for car parking or snacks
  • snacks
  • camera

hospital bag

In my previous delivery, I was induced so took in my own pillow and my dressing gown for comfort but you really don’t need those things initially. You can always ask family members to bring in any additional items that you need once you’re at the hospital.

Good luck!


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