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What Should I Pack In My Hospital Bag?

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

Ideally your hospital bag for your labour should be the size of a large gym bag as there can be limited space on the wards after the birth. Squishy bags are better than suitcases as they can be squashed into small cupboards next to your bed if you need more space. You can have multiple bags packed for labour which you can swap when you need to. This can be a refreshing job for your birth partner, they can have a change of scene and feel like they are helping, if you have been there a while.


Packing your hospital bag as early as possible helps you to feel calm and ready for the birth and helps in case of any surprises.

You can pack a bag for labour, bag for after the birth, bag for baby and an extra bag for baby in case you have to stay in hospital for longer than 1 or 2 days. These you could keep in your car or labelled in a cupboard for someone to pop home and collect after the birth.


If you aren't planning on breastfeeding then take some formula with you and some breast pads in case your milk comes in while you are in hospital. It will take a while for your body to stop producing milk.


Essentials for Labour

· Maternity notes & birth plan

· Long nightie/comfy dress/big t-shirt (handy to have a spare)

· Dressing gown (patterned) & warm socks

· Slide on slippers (patterned) and/or flip flops for shower

· Cool water spray/wash cloths for cooling

· Hair band/clips

· Change for parking

· Maternity pads (if break water)

· Snacks, water, Ribena, Lucozade

· Treats, veg and fruit

· Heavy duty lip balm

· Music system/cd/plan how will listen to music

· Tens machine

· Phone charger


Essentials for baby after birth

It is best to take clothes that might be a little big as you can always roll up the sleeves and put socks on their feet.

· 3 baby-grows

· 3 vests

· Baby blanket (can have photo shoot in hospital)

· Baby scratch mitts

· Baby hats

· 1 pair of baby socks

· 12-15 Nappies

· Nappy bags

· 2-4 Muslins

· Wet wipes/cotton wool

· Car seat



Essentials for Mummy after Birth

· Change of clothes (soft material, comfy waistline, e.g. leggings and baggy dress, front opening shirts, tops for feeding, breastfeeding bras, easy socks)

· Comfortable shoes

· Towel

· Flannel

· Maternity pants (paper or big cheap cotton ones)

· Maternity pads

· Glasses/contact lenses

· Tissues

· Wash bag – deodorant wipes, dry shampoo, natural smelling wash, soft flannel, tooth brush and paste

· Hair brush

· Eye mask and ear plugs

· Water bottle


The eye mask and ear plugs can be useful to help you sleep on a noisy ward full of hungry babies. The water bottle is for post birth soreness. Find a sports cap bottle and use it to rinse after using the toilet it cleans any small grazes or stitches and the cool water can soothe any bruising. Continue this at home to enhance your healing after birth. Also keep changing your pad about every hour after birth this will help prevent any infections and keep you feeling fresh.


Essentials for Breastfeeding after Birth

· Nipple cream

· Nursing bra (2-3 bras and larger than normal size)

· Some nursing pads just in case

· Breastfeeding advice leaflets


Nipple cream is best used as a prevention for any problems rather than a cure. It doesn't harm babies and they will keep happily drinking while you have it on. Try to put some on before and after every feed from birth to help your nipples cope with the constant friction from breastfeeding. After a while you can gradually decrease how often you use it as your body gets used to it. You can also try rubbing some breastmilk on and leaving them to dry in the air after a feed.


Generally useful

· Plastic bags

· Antiseptic wipes

· List of numbers if you can’t use mobiles

· Bendy straws for drinks in labour

· Any medications you are taking

· Camera


Extra nice things if space

· Smelly oils for labour

· Massage oils for early labour

· Ipad/tablet

· Magazines/books

· Your own pillow

· Water spray

· Your birthing ball

· Make up

· Hot water bottle

· Sleep nursing bras

· Arnica cream for bruising on unbroken skin (no proof but some people swear by it)



Your partner might need

· Blanket

· Toiletries

· Money

· Camera

· Snacks

· Book/magazines




NHS recommend for home births:

If you're planning to give birth at home, discuss your plans and what you need to prepare with your midwife. Think about where in your home you want to give birth. You're likely to need:

- clean bed clothes and towels, clothes (including a hat) and nappies for the baby, a couple of packets of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads.

Even if you are planning to have your baby at home, you should pack some things in case you need to go into hospital at any point.


Swaddling To Toddling Antenatal Course

To find out the advantages and disadvantages of each pain relief option join a Swaddling To Toddling antenatal class in Bristol. Discover what to expect in your birth, know your options and feel prepared. Book online now to enjoy your pregnancy knowing you're organised and ready.

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