Packing your hospital bag is an exciting time with only a few weeks left until you meet your tiny new arrival. Whatever type of labour you’ve opted for, it’s best to be packed up and ready for hospital from 36 weeks. There are plenty of hospital bag checklists out there – I’m now adding mine based on my own experiences during childbirth; the things we took, the things we didn’t need, and the things I wish I had taken! I hope you find it useful.

What to pack in hospital bag for dad or your birthing partner?

  • It’s not really a ‘packing’ item, but make sure your car has plenty of fuel in the lead up to due date
  • Make sure the car seat is ready and installed (if you bought it from a shop they will usually help you install it)
  • Take lots of loose change for parking and refreshments
  • Phones and tablets plus chargers
  • (If you’re planning on taking cameras or docking stations for music you’ll need to check with the hospital as they’re not always allowed)
  • Entertainment – newspapers, crosswords, magazines…you might be there a while!
  • Snacks and drinks and a refillable water bottle for the water machines
  • A pillow and a blanket for sleeping bedside, and some ear plugs (it can be noisy on the ward!)
  • Toiletries and glasses if you wear contacts
  • A change of clothes and some clean underwear
  • Swimwear if she’s hoping for a water birth
  • A little gift to make mum feel special once the baby arrives

What to pack in hospital bag for mum?

  • Birthing plan and notes
  • Comfortable shoes/slippers
  • Dressing gown
  • Ear plugs/eye mask to help you sleep 
  • Toiletries, make up and a towel (and glasses if you wear contacts)
  • LARGE pants (lots of!) and maternity pads
  • Loose fitting shirt with a button up front for breastfeeding or a maternity night dress
  • Nursing bras and breast pads
  • Hair ties for putting your hair up during labour
  • Antiseptic wipes for keeping clean
  • Phone and charger
  • Comfortable clothes to come home in (include some comfy socks as some mums find their feet get cold during labour)
  • TENS machine if you’re using one
  • Breastfeeding pillow (I never used one but people swear by them)
  • An extra pillow to sleep with in case the ones at hospital aren’t comfortable
  • A water bottle for aches and pains
  • If this isn’t your first baby, pack a few little gifts for siblings when they visit
  • Gifts for nurses/thank you cards (and a pen)…you’ll want to show your appreciation to everyone who helps you

What to pack in hospital bag for baby?

  • Baby sleepsuits x 3
  • Baby vests x 3
  • Hats and socks – to use during skin to skin time so baby doesn’t get cold
  • Cellular blanket – if you’re not sure what this is read our blog post about baby blankets here
  • Muslin squares for feeding x 2 or 3
  • Pack of nappies – newborns can get through around 12 every day..
  • Cotton wool for bathing/nappy changing with water (baby wipes are not recommended until baby is 2-4 weeks old)
  • Water wipes for general mess
  • Going home outfit
  • Knit cardigan
  • Car seat for going home

A note on hospital bags..

There is a lot on this list but try to pack light! You’ll probably be moved around a bit and losing items is extra stress you can do without. There are plenty of great changing bags and hospital bags out there with handy and practical compartments. You may also want to split your hospital bag packing out into separate bags –one for mum and baby and one for your birthing partner – so it’s easier to keep track.

Sending lots of best wishes for your exciting new adventure,
Pippa x

Founder, The Little Art Collection

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What do I need for a new baby

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Different types of baby blankets and what they are commonly used for

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