Checklist – What to pack for your hospital bag?

  • Ergobaby
  • Sep 8, 2023
Pregnant mum packing hospital bag

You’ve probably spent the past several months eagerly awaiting the day you finally get to meet your baby and you’ve spent lots of time planning. You’ve stocked up on all the baby gear you’ll need, decorated the nursery, and figured out how to properly install your newborn car seat. But don’t forget one of the most important remaining third trimester to-dos: Deciding what to pack in your hospital bag, for baby, you, and your birthing partner.

Wondering where to start? While you don’t want to leave out any essentials, there’s also no reason to overdo things. This is where our checklist comes in handy. Read on for when to pack your bag depending on your birth plan and what to put in it.

When should you pack your hospital bag for birth?

Babies do things in their own time, according to the NHS, only 1 in 20 will arrive on their due date.

It might be a good idea to get your bag packed at least 4 weeks ahead of the due date, so that you’re all ready to go if your baby decides to make an early appearance.

Your baby might arrive earlier than expected, so it’s worth having everything you need packed during the third trimester – at about week 36 − just in case. In the case of a high-risk pregnancy, multiple pregnancies, or planned C-section you may choose to pack your bag from the 30th week.

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. It may be worth packing a hospital bag.  Not only so that you don’t have to worry if you do need to go into hospital for any reason, but it is a good idea to have all the things you may need or want during labour in one place.

While timing is important, you do have some flexibility in deciding when to pack your bag. But, like so many other things, this will vary from person to person based on their individual circumstances.

It is important to listen to your gut feeling. All the above information is just a recommendation.

Hospital bag checklist for mum, baby, and birthing partner.

There are a couple of ways of organising your bag.  You may want to have one that has all the things you and your birth partner may use and another with all of baby’s things in.  Or you could pack one bag for use during your time on labour ward and the other for when you are on the postnatal ward. 

Handy Tip: Unless you do not have transportation for when you leave the hospital, you don’t need to take your car seat into the hospital until it is time to take your baby home.

Hospital Bag: Active Labour and Delivery.

Make sure to pack for Mum:

  • Your birth plan and hospital notes. Remember to remove any baby scan pictures from your notes before you come into hospital.
  • Any medicines you’re taking.
  • Purse with ID.
  • Loose, comfortable clothing to wear during active labour.
  • Dressing gown.
  • Slippers.
  • Flip-flops (for wearing to the shower).
  • Nightwear – front-opening or loose-fitting if you’re going to breast/chest feed.
  • 2-3 pairs of loose fitting pj’s/loungewear.
  • 3 pairs of non-slip socks.
  • 5 or 6 pairs of knickers, disposable ones may be useful.
  • 2 or 3 comfortable bras, including nursing bras if you’re planning on breast/chest feeding.
  • Going home outfit.
  • 1x pair of shoes to go home.
  • Spare bag for any washing.
  • Breast pads.
  • Nipple cream (if you are planning to breast/chest feed).
  • 2 packets of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads.
  • Wash bag – with toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, shower gel, shampoo, lip balm, deodorant, dry shampoo, hair bands, hand sanitiser, body lotion and anything else you need.
  • Makeup bag (optional).
  • A mirror (optional).
  • Hair dryer, straightener (optional).
  • An eye mask may help you sleep on the brightly lit ward.
  • Ear plugs.
  • Towels.
  • Your own pillow.
  • Reading glasses or contact lenses and solution if you wear them.
  • Mobile phone with your favourite playlist, Podcasts etc.. to pass the time.
  • Headphones.
  • Extra long phone charger.
  • Healthy/light snacks, drinks, and a re-usable water bottle.
  • A fan or water spray to keep you cool.
  • Diffuser and essential oils (if part of your birth plan).
  • A TENS machine (you can rent one) if you have decided to use one for pain relief (with spare batteries).
Newborn with parent in hospital

Items for baby.

  • Harvested Colostrum – Remember to ask your midwife to place this in the freezer on arrival.
  • Feeding bottles (if you are planning to breast/chest feed).
  • Breast pump (if you are planning to breast/chest feed).
  • Burp cloth.
  • Nappies.
  • Wipes.
  • 1x woolen baby hat- hospital wards can be cold.
  • 2-3 onesies and bodysuits.
  • 3 pairs of socks.
  • 1x pair of mittens.
  • 1x Swaddlers.
  • 1x Sleeping bag.
  • 1x Blanket.
  • Going home outfit.
  • Ergonomic nursing pillow.
  • Newborn baby carrier.
  • Car Seat (ready for going home day).

For partner/ birthing partner/support person.

  • Wallet with ID and health insurance.
  • Cash for the car park.
  • Wash bag with toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, shower gel, shampoo, deodorant, hand sanitiser and anything else you need.
  • Bonding top.
  • Comfortable clothes.
  • Underwear.
  • PJ’s.
  • Socks.
  • Towel.
  • Pillow.
  • Blanket.
  • Snacks
  • Refillable water bottle.
  • Mobile phone/i-pad with your favourite playlist, Podcasts etc.. to pass the time.
  • Headphones.
  • Phone charger

Where to store your bag ready for the big day?

When you’ve gone through the hospital bag checklist and are satisfied you and your partner have packed what everyone will need, stash your hospital bag in your car or by the front door if you plan on taking a taxi to the hospital—and get ready for baby’s arrival!