Packing a Hospital Bag

baby yawning in a suitcase

Where and how you plan to birth, will determine what you need in your hospital bag. If you’re planning to birth in Hospital what you need to bring with you will vary. Below is just a list of suggestions. Often hospital  provide you with a list of what you may need to bring with you, so it’s a good idea to look at their list also.

It might be helpful to pack two or three bags. One specifically for labouring and what you might want immediately after birth, and another for the rest of you stay in hospital – that could be left in the car and brought up to you once you’re settled in the maternity ward with your brand new baby, and even a separate “Nappy Bag” for baby.

  • Birth Plan
  • Maternity Notes (Hospital pregnancy book/appointment card/whatever you may need to bring along with regards to your own medical records)
  • Camera
  • Phone
  • Music. CDs/portable media player.
  • Chargers . For both phone and camera, and any other devices you might bring)
  • Clothes. You may want a spare top and underwear in case you get wet or want to change into something fresh. For birthing some women are happy to birth totally nude, while you may want to consider a long t-shirt, nightdress etc Be mindful anything you wear while birthing may get stained or ruined.
  • Socks or Slippers. In case you get cold feet walking on a hospital floor.
  • Swimmers. Again, depends on your own comfort, if you’re planning to use a shower or bath for labouring in and you don’t want to be completely naked.
  • Medication. If you take an asthma puffer – for example – don’t forget to pack one.
  • Snacks. If there’s anything you specifically feel like eating during labour.
  • Drink Bottle. Also Juice Boxes are good, with a straw for easy drinking in any position, and a quick fluid and sugar hit.
  • Massage oil or massage tools.
  • Ultrasound pictures, baby’s outfit or teddy for encouragement during labour.
  • Toiletries. Including lip balm, hair ties, hair brush, tooth brush and tooth paste.

After Baby is Born.

  • Pillow. It can be nice to have your own pillow, especially sleeping in an unfamiliar place.
  • More Clothes.  Consider that you may be in hospital for a couple of days, more if you have a csection, so pack a few changes of clothes. Keep in mind that before and after birth can be a bit mess, so pack plenty of spare pairs of underwear. As unflattering as they are high-topped underwear may be more comfort after baby is born for wearing maternity pads. Also consider tops that open or are low at the front for breastfeeding, if you plan to, and maternity bras. You may also want to pack a dressing gown.
  • Maternity Pads.
  • Breast Pads.
  • Books and magazines.
  • Towels. Most hospitals provide towels, though not often full sized bath towels.

For baby 

  • Nappies and wipes. Depending on the hospital – you may need to supply your own.
  • Nappy cream. A barrier cream can be helpful to apply to baby’s bottom so when he or she passes meconium, which is their first poos that are thick and tar-like, that get stuck to babies skin, if they have a barrier cream on it can reduce the amount of wiping you need to do to get their tender skin clean.
  • Clothes. A couple of baby singlets and coveralls, size 0000-000. You might also want a special “going home outfit” but consider the weather when choosing this outfit.
  • Blankets and wraps. A couple of warm blankets, and a couple of light wraps.
  • Bottles and formula. If you intend on bottle feeding from birth, though some hospitals supply their own – ask your health care provider.

Birth Support Person. They may want to consider packing their own bag – change of clothes in case they get soiled, swimmers if they need to support you in water, their own snacks and drinks, and phone etc. Also they may want to consider a book or magazine, as some times labours can be very long and have periods where there’s nothing for them to do but wait in silence. (also see “Dad’s Checklist“)


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Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central Australia. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner.She has a background in early childhood education, but right now is content to be a stay at home mum.She is passionate about birthing rights, breastfeeding and mental health. She enjoys crafting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

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