What the heck do I need in my Hospital Bag?

I have decided to pack a bag properly for the hospital. I started to do this as I progressed in pregnancy, but as with most things in my life, I lose interest quickly, so it is currently full of lots of things but I'm not sure how useful.

A quick search on Google for hospital bag returns a staggering 46,400,000 results! Wow!
Most of the pregnancy sites have a (downloadable) checklist for what to take.

Ok, at this point, I have three options:
1) Print of all the checklists and cross reference what I need, stressful & time consuming
2) Say sod it! and buy one pre-packed - expensive and probably missing something vital
3) Breathe and ask people (i.e. new mums) who know what I actually need.

The current list I have:

Before you go:
Do a supermarket shop before your due date so you have all the essentials.
If you can, make and freeze a few meals for when you come home.
As do not have a car, I could call a taxi. Alternatively, arrange for an ambulance to pick you up. 
Birthing Partner - A pillow, blanket, and change of clothes for your birthing partner in case s/he’s in for an overnight stay. Ask them to pack their own bag, one less thing for you to do.

Mum’s bag:
  • Mobile Phone (with music & portable speakers) and charger 
  • Address book (contained in mobile). Make sure you have hospital number (phone number and reference number) somewhere accessible!
  • Watch with a second hand or digital timer to time contractions (if using mobile phone one or app, make sure you know how to use it. Practice beforehand). 
  • Pen & paper (notes in mobile if forget or it has this capability, most do)
  • Contact details for your partner/birthing partner 
  • Birth plan and maternity notes, Picture ID, insurance card and any other hospital paperwork you might need. 
  • Money in change / coins about £10 for parking, snacks, drinks {although check parking costs online, they’re bloody expensive!} 
  • Books/magazines/games
  • Nightie or pyjama’s (Choose an old nightie or long t-shirt for labour you'll feel comfy walking around the delivery room or ward in) 
  • Cardigan or sweatshirt (you may feel chilly in strong labour) 
  • Dressing gown - Hospitals can be very warm, so a lightweight one is better
  • Slippers 
  • Socks (you may feel chilly in strong labour) 
  • Underwear - (7-10 pairs). Either disposable or old, cheap knickers. If your waters break, no matter where you are, you'll want a change of underwear to help make you feel more comfortable. 
  • Hot water bottle, cool pack or Massage oil (unscented) for pain relief. 
  • TENS pain relief machine, if you are planning to use one.
  • Your own birth ball – although your hospital may provide them 
  • Facial sponge, for dabbing and sucking on or water spray / fan. Keep a water spray in the fridge until you leave for hospital. It's great for gentle cool-downs during labour.  
  • Drinks and sandwiches or snacks in a cool-bag with (for you and birth partner) to keep you well hydrated throughout labour. Pop a flexible ice pack in the cool-bag before you leave to keep the drinks cool. It can double as a cool-pack for your forehead whilst in labour. Take bendy straws too, they will make drinking easier if you are lying down. It is a good idea to take some food in case you feel hungry; you will need to keep your energy levels up. Bananas, cereal bars, and glucose tablets. 
After birth: 
  • Birth announcement cards, pen (if you are staying in overnight) 
  •  Your favourite treat - you deserve it! 
  • A mini bottle of bubbly and some chocolates to celebrate 
  • Antibacterial wipes or hand solution to help protect from bacteria 
  •  Camera & memory card, extra batteries 
  • Arnica tablets to help with bruising after the birth. Although there is no conclusive evidence that they work (NHS 2007), many women report that taking arnica helps reduce bruising and helps the healing process. 
  • Nursing bra (at least two, as you can get sweaty in hospital and if your milk comes early, your bra may get wet). A well-fitting ordinary bra if not, just remember your breasts may be larger than usual. 
  • Breast pads you’ll need these even if you don’t plan to breastfeed (to absorb leaks of colostrum and milk).
  • Lansinoh lanolin cream for breastfeeding to aid sore or cracked nipples. 
  • Maternity pads - for before the birth if your waters break, and for afterwards when you'll bleed quite heavily (24)
  • Toiletries - pack a sponge bag with a:
    • Body cream
    • Cleanser, toner and moisturiser
    • Contact lenses and spare glasses (even if you wear contacts)
    • Deodorant
    • Ear plugs, in case you end up on a noisy ward!
    • Eye mask, If you have trouble sleeping with the lights on
    • Face wipes
    • Flannel
    • Hairbrush, a hair band or scrunchie to tie back your hair or keep it off your face
    • Lip balm (gas and air can make your lips very dry)
    • Make-up and remover
    • Medications (check suitable if breastfeeding)
    • Mirror
    • Shampoo
    • Shower gel
    • Soap
    • Tissues
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
  • Towels (preferably dark coloured so won’t get mixed up with hospital laundry). 
  • Flip flops for the shower. The best hot shower you will ever take is after giving birth 
  • Going home clothes - Bring something loose and easy to get into - preferably a selection from your maternity wardrobe - along with a pair of flat shoes. 
  • Laundry bag for dirty clothes 
  • Front opening nightdress or pyjamas for after the birth for easy breastfeeding (if you've made the breastfeeding decision) 
  • Pillows - It is comforting. Just make sure you have a colourful cover on it to distinguish it from the hospitals. Also a v-shaped pillow (can help make baby feeding more comfortable)

Baby’s bag: 
  • Sleepsuits / babygrows x 2 /3 - 6 
  • Vests x 2/3 – 6 
  • Scratch mittens 
  • Hat 
  • Socks – that can fit over babygro’s
  • Going home outfit
  • Outdoor clothes suitable for the time of year (cardigan, jacket, snowsuit) 
  • Baby bottles - if you are bottle-feeding. Some maternity units may have sterilising equipment, so check with them and bring your own formula milk and sterilising equipment if needed
  • Muslin squares 
  • A pack of newborn nappies, nappy bags and nappy rash cream (if you're using terry towelling, include your own nappy pins) 
  • Top and tail bowl (in case the hospital does not provide one - check with your midwife in advance)
  • Cotton wool balls / unperfumed baby wipes / baby sponge - for bathing. 
  • Hooded baby towels 
  • Baby nail clippers 
  • Colic drops may be useful as many newborns suffer
  • Blankets 
  • Pushchair or car seat - babies travelling home by car must be strapped into properly fitted car seats
  • Soft toy suitable for newborns

How much of this is necessary? Anything I have forgotten? Or any extra nice to haves?  
Please leave me a comment if there is.
I am at hospital numerous times shortly, so I will check with them.


  1. Wow your list is fantastic! Sorry can't provide any more insight as I'm expecting my first baby in July, so not sure what to pack myself. Would love to hear what you end up packing!

    1. Thanks Cheryl, but I have no idea if I actually need most of it! Hopefully, someone will point us both in the right direction.
      Congratulations on the pregnancy.
      Nikki x

  2. The most useful things I had were for after the birth. My son was born 45 mins after arrival. So, nappies, clothes (more than one set), magazines and chocolate. If you chose to breastfeed, those long first few nights of breastfeeding are tough. You need calories and reading material, the trashier the better. Oh and loads of maternity pads.

    After the first day if you stay in longer than a few hours (I stayed in for 4 days in a birthing centre out of choice), get your partner to bring in more trashy reading material, clean clothes, more pads, more nappies, more clothes, oh and more chocolate...

    1. Thanks Mamacook, I must make sure chocolate is stocked up on during pre-baby shop!
      I think because I don't know how long I will be there, hoping not long!, it's a NHS hospital and think a few luxuries would be nice, but I'm under the impression(maybe mistakenly) they want the bed back quickly.
      Because of depression my concerntration suffers badly, so I'm thinking a few audiobooks maybe the answer...

      Nikki x


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