I obsessed over what to pack in my hospital bag for the birth. I didn’t want to be one of those ladies you watch on The Midwife trailing six full suitcases for a two night stay, but at the same time I didn’t want to be at my most vulnerable and not have something I needed in my hospital bag. In the end I hounded every woman I’ve known – and then a whole bunch on the internet too – to figure out my essential hospital bag packing list. Being a little bit of a worrier, I made a hospital bag checklist, which you can download at the end of the post!
I packed two small hospital bags, one for me and one for the baby.
- Comfortable nightwear. I went with a nightshirt for giving birth in and two pairs of pyjamas.
- Lots and lots of knickers. Big comfortable ones with a high and slightly loose waistband.
- Dressing gown.
- Slippers or flip flops – flip flops can be worn into the shower!
- Something comfortable to wear home.
- Bath Towel (this may be provided, ask your midwife. My hospital only provided very small and rough towels).
- Small set of shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion etc. A shower with your usual products will really make you feel like yourself again after the birth.
- Toothpaste and toothbrush.
- Hairbrush & hair ties.
- Moisturizer (hospitals can be quite warm and dry).
- Lip salve.
- Maternity Pads.
- Lanolin Cream. You’ll regret it if you don’t pack it!
- A comfortable nursing bra.
- Nursing tops if you want. I just used loose pyjamas.
- Breastfeeding pads to stop leakage.
- Mobile Phone
- Laptop or Tablet
- Chargers for your laptop, iPad or Phone.
- Water bottle
It’s worth noting that although the NHS will provide you with water, blankets, pillows, tea, coffee, food and basics – they won’t usually provide your partner with it. So make sure he has enough food and water to keep him going as he’s probably going to be up all night too!
Baby things can be a bit of a tough one as you won’t necessarily know what size your baby is going to be. I would recommend taking a small selection of vests and onesies for both newborn baby and 0-3 months. My son actually didn’t wear any of the newborn stuff once he’d left the hospital and he was born at 8lbs 2oz.
- Sleeveless Vests
- Sleepsuits / Onesies
- Muslin for Swaddling
- Lightweight blanket
- Scratch Mittens
- Nappies (if you run out, they usually have them available also)
- Wet Wipes
- Cotton Wool
- Burp Cloths
- Dummy / Pacifier
- Going home / Photo Outfit
No one wants to think about being stuck in hospital if something goes wrong, but some women do end up having a longer stay than they anticipated. I ended up having to try to instruct my husband where to find the knickers I wanted and which bath towel to bring in, and actually ended up ordering a bunch of pyjamas next day delivery because I was getting through one pair a day and he didn’t have time to do that sort of laundry whilst in the hospital with me as well.
I was in the hospital for 10 days total and had packed only for 2-3 nights. Now it’s not worth packing for 10 days and taking way too much, but it might be worth thinking about laying some things out or having a spare bag at home just in case your partner or a family member needs to grab you some extras. On the plus side after rooting through every drawer in the bedroom, my husband now knows where all my clothes go so he has no excuse for not putting away the laundry!
Whatever you’ve forgotten, don’t panic. There is a comradarie on the wards and you may be able to find what you’re looking for anyway. The woman in the bed next to me gave me a spare pair of hand mittens when he scratched his face, and I gave her use of my lanolin cream whilst she ordered some online! Get your mum or your husband or whoever is visiting to pick something up if you need it and larger hospitals will have shops on site. Worst case scenario, you can always order something next day off Amazon so if you realize you’ve forgotten something, there’s sure to be an easy solution.
Here’s a printable PDF checklist for those of you who want to get organized. Knowing I’d packed my bag and was ready really lifted a little bit of weight from my mind. We went in for a routine checkup and I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsyia and admitted immediately for induction! Luckily, I’d be carting my bag around in the car for weeks, just in case!