Packing your Hospital Bag

The time to meet your new family member is getting nearer and the time has arrived to collect all the essential items you need for the labour and birth and after your baby has arrived. Even if you’re planning a home birth, it’s still a good idea to have a bag packed in case you need to be taken to hospital during labour. The best time to pack your bag for the hospital is around 34 weeks pregnant, just incase little one makes an early entrance.

It’s best to pack two bags, one for the labour and another one for afterwards on the postnatal ward. Keep the second bag in the car until you’re admitted to the postnatal ward as labour rooms can be short on space. It’s also worthwhile packing a separate bag for your birth partner as they may be at the hospital with you for some time.

What should I pack in my labour bag?

  • Green pregnancy notes and birth plan
  • Dressing gown – be sure to pick a dark colour to hide any stains
  • Slippers – useful for pacing the corridors in early labour
  • Socks – it’s very common for your feet to feel cold during labour
  • T-shirt/Nightdress – something comfortable and cheap to wear in labour
  • Massage oil – so your partner can massage your back during labour
  • Birthing Ball – you might want to take your own from home
  • Hair Elastic – so you can tie your hair back in labour
  • Lip Balm – Its very common to have dry lips during labour
  • Mouth Wash – To help freshen your mouth
  • Snacks/Drinks – Isotonic sports drinks, light snacks and glucose tablets to keep you going
  • Handheld Fan – To help cool you down during labour
  • Water Spray – To spritz your face
  • Straws – To help you drink easily in labour
  • Music – You might want to do a playlist for labour
  • Facecloth – To rest on your brow
  • Magazines/Books/iPad – Something to help pass the time
  • Pillows – A V-shaped pillows can be great both during labour and on the postnatal ward
  • TENS Machine – If you’re planning on using one

What should my birth partner pack?

  • Change of Clothes – They may be there with you for a long time
  • Toiletry Bag – Basic toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant
  • Comfy Shoes – For pacing the corridors with you in early labour
  • Swimwear – Incase they want to get into the birthing pool with you
  • Mobile and Charger – To make those important phone calls.
  • Camera or Camera Phone – To take photos or a short film straight after birth
  • Snacks and Drinks – To keep them hydrated and prevents them having to leave the room!

What shall I pack for the postnatal ward?

  • Pyjamas – Something comfortable and easy to breastfeed (if you intend on breastfeeding)
  • Dressing Gown – To preserve your modesty
  • Going Home Outfit – Comfortable clothes to travel home in
  • Nursing Bras – 2-3 should be sufficient
  • Maternity Pads – You’re going to need lots of these, bring roughly 2 packs
  • Breast Pads – One pack should be enough
  • Toiletries – Treat yourself to some nice travel size toiletries
  • Make Up – Incase you have visitors
  • Hairbrush and Hair Elastic
  • Towels – Bring a towel from home as they can be in short supply in hospital
  • Old, Cheap or Disposable Knickers – Big cotton knickers are ideal, but don’t bring your best
  • Arnica Cream – Helps to reduce the bruising down below
  • Eye Mask and Ear Plugs – To help you sleep on the noisy postnatal ward
  • Mobile Phone and Charger – To ensure you can contact family and friends

What should I pack for my baby?

  • Birth Outfit – A cheap outfit for after the birth
  • Vests – 3-4 will be enough
  • Sleepsuits – 3-4 to wear with the vests
  • Swaddle Blanket – The Love to Swaddle Up from Love to Dream would be ideal
  • Nappies – Your baby will go through roughly 12 each day
  • Cotton Wool – For cleaning at change time
  • Muslins/Bibs – For mopping up any dribbles
  • Socks/Booties – 1-2 pairs
  • Hat – 1-2 will be enough
  • Going Home Outfit – A specially picked outfit for the journey home
  • Jacket/Snowsuit – Pick something suitable for the season
  • Car Seat – Be sure to have the base fixed in the car and learn how to use beforehand


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