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A few weeks ago I had a mild panic one evening when I thought I might be going into labour 6 weeks early… thankfully it was just an evening of painful Braxton Hicks – something that I’m now experiencing daily, but that mild panic gave me a kick up the backside to get my hospital bag packed! So I’m sharing my hospital bag checklist, it’s fairly minimal and includes mainly the essentials but I’ve also tried to include recommendations that repeatedly came up from fellow mummies. Some people will say you need less, some will say you need more but even if you pick and choose from this list what you pack, I hope it helps you even if just a little. Of course, if you have any helpful suggestions please do leave a comment below – it would be wonderful for both me and other mummies reading this!
I was given the advice to pack three bags. Mummy’s Labour Bag, with everything you need for during labour. Daddy’s/Birth Partner’s Bag – they don’t need much but it’s best to be organised to save rushing around getting things at the last hour! After Birth Bag – everything you need to freshen up after labour and of course baby’s things. When you rush into the hospital all you need to worry about taking in is Mummy’s Labour Bag. Daddy’s/Birth Partner’s Bag and the After Birth Bag can be left in the car (if you are travelling by car that is) until after labour. It also means that if you have to go into the hospital by yourself via ambulance then you just need to take your labour bag, your birth partner can bring the rest in. You don’t want to have to carry everything by yourself!
I’m using my Jem + Bea Jamie Black Leather Backpack** for my labour bag – small enough for me to carry with ease but big enough to fit everything in that I need for labour. It is actually designed to be used as a changing bag and includes a travel changing mat as well as straps that unclip to attach to your pram handle. Matt, my husband and birth partner is taking a holdall which contains his belongings and separate bag inside his holdall which is our after birth bag.
MUMMY’S LABOUR BAG
- Birth plan and maternity notes
- Multiple nighties or large t-shirts – including some old ones for labour, I have packed a couple of old t-shirts and some new black nursing/ or strappy nighties suitable for breastfeeding, breast milk can stain which is why I’ve gone for black
- Slippers or flip flops if you prefer – apparently flip flops are good to have for showering in whilst in hospital
- Socks – I get very cold feet!
- Lightweight dressing gown. I have one from The White Company but I’ve linked some others further down.
- Lip Balm. I’ve packed my Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream* as it can be used as lip balm, face cream, hand cream and so on! So it saves packing multiple products in my toiletry bag!
- Refreshing spray or a small fan or flannel to help you keep cool
- Water bottle with a straw – I’ve packed my favourite water bottle* and I’ve also packed some of the Robinsons Squash’d, small enough to take with you
- Snacks. Gotta keep your energy up! I’ll be taking cereal bars, biscuits, a sandwich, apples, bananas and raisins! I’ve actually packed snacks in a separate bag so we can easily add the fresh food last minute.
- Maternity pads
- Hand sanitiser
- Hair ties/scrunchie
- Lavender spray/Oil – smells that relax you, for me its Lush “Sleepy” body lotion & Neom sleep spray and hand cream.
- Depending on where you are giving birth and the facilities and equipment they have available, you may want to take your exercise ball, extra pillows, a towel, formula milk etc. You can call up your hospital to find out what they have as standard, my hospital provides these so it saves us taking them in!
My favourite water bottle* – with a straw!
I’ve packed all my non-perishable snacks in my Stasher Bags* and then fresh fruit and sandwiches we will add last minute.
DADDY’S/BIRTH PARTNER’S BAG
- A change of clothes
- Fully charged phone, phone charger and a list of all the people to contact when the baby has arrived
- Important numbers – Hospital/Midwife
- Snacks. No excuse to leave you to go and get anything!
- Change for the car park
- Toiletries if staying over (unlikely during Covid19)
- Daddy/Birth Partner also needs to make sure that the car fuel is full and that any pets are sorted before leaving for the hospital. Whilst I’m on pets, if your birth partner has to return home before you are released, I read that if you take some clothes that the baby has worn it can help introduce the new smell to your pets, so that’s what we will do with our dogs!
AFTER BIRTH BAG
- Going home clothes. Comfy, loose clothing!
- Nursing bras
- Breast pads*
- Maternity pads
- Pants – I’ve packed one pair of Modi Body briefs** and these black cotton briefs*. I know a lot of people use disposable pants but I personally prefer a more sustainable option.
- Nursing/ open-fronted nightie – a clean one for after labour.
- Plastic bags to put your dirty clothes in
- Paracetamol & Ibuprofen
- Toiletries including toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, travel shampoo, conditioner and shower gel.
- Nipple cream**
- Spritz for bitz**
- Portable charger – some hospital plug sockets are quite far away from the bed.
- Eye mask & ear plugs – useful if you need to stay over
- Headphones, i-Pad, Book
- Femme Pads* – for as soon as you get home!
For Baby – sizing assuming you are going into the hospital around your due date. Anything that is going to touch the baby’s skin should be washed in advance with non-biological detergent. Unless you are still waiting for little one to arrive after your due date, it might be a good idea to pack a set of tiny baby/premature baby clothes too in case newborn clothes drown their little bodies!
- Newborn vests x 3
- Newborn sleepsuits x 3
- Newborn cardigans x 3
- Nappies – Size 0
- Nappy sacks
- Water wipes & cotton wool
- Baby blanket
- Comforter – like me you might want your baby to have a comforter or toy from day one. I’ve packed her Lotte Bunny.**
- Car Seat
Like a lot of people do these days, I’ve organised and bagged all the baby clothes that I’ve packed and labelled them clearly to make life easier for Dad or the midwife to find what they are looking for. I’ve bagged them in freezer bags or Stasher bags* – which by the way are so useful for so many things.
For clothing for Mummy, I’ve linked some suggestions below including some that I’ve already packed in my hospital bag! H&M* has been my go-to shop for all things maternity and nursing!
LIGHTWEIGHT DRESSING GOWN
LEAVING HOSPITAL OUTFIT*
From left to right, Daddy’s bag with Daddy’s things and with after birth bag inside (split into baby’s things and my things), Labour bag and Snack bag. We are ready for you baby girl!