Top tips on how when and what to pack in your hospital bag for childbirth.
You can pack your birth bag whenever you like but ideally would like to have it ready at least 3 weeks before your due date.
If you have a birth partner, get them involved in packing the hospital bag. That way they know where things are for the birth!
Use one large bag as your hospital bag which will contain your ‘overnight stuff’. Then pack three smaller bags to fit into you large hospital bag for childbirth!
Bag for mum/birthing person
- Your birth plan and maternity notes
- Comfy, lose-fit dressing gown
- Nighties (ideally ones that opens at the front for breastfeeding access)
- Comfy loose clothes – big baggy jogging bottoms, zip-up hoodie, tops that undo down the front for skin-to-skin/feeding
- Slippers that you can slide your feet into rather than pulling on – if you have a Caesarean Birth bending over is tricky.
- Socks – often women get cold feet during labour
- Slip-on shoes
- Flip-flops to wear in the shower
- Hand Sanitiser
- Wash bag including shower gel with a hook, so you don’t have to bend over in the shower, hand cream as constant hand gel use makes hands very sore,
- lip balm as air is dry
- Packs of waisted Bridget Jones massive cotton knickers in case you have a Caesarean Birth – dark colours are best and a couple of sizes up from your usual
- Arnica and/or witch hazel for piles and bruising relief
- Maternity pads packs
- Nursing bras
- Large pack Breast pads in case of boob leakage or washable ones
- Pillow and/or pillowcase from home
- Towel – hospital ones are scratchy
- Eye mask (it’s never dark!)
- Face mask (if you’d like your washable ones)
- Earplugs (it’s never quiet!)
- Phone with labour playlist downloaded (you’re usually allowed to take your phone into theatre and can play music via Bluetooth)
- Small tripod to prop up your phone/camera
- Phone charger
- Phone Power Bank
- Snacks. If having a Caesarean Birth maybe apricots/prunes to ease constipation – you may not have a bowel movement for several days, and it can be a strain
- Peppermint Tea Bags. In the case of a Caesarean Birth, it helps to get rid of wind caused by the operation.
- Sports drink
- Books/magazines/puzzles – in case you have to stay in hospital beforehand, or after.
- Tissues for all the crying
- Photo of your partner for times when they cannot be with you or maybe something that they have given you i.e. love notes
- Photo of older children
- Photo of you pet(s)
Bag for baby
- Nappies – newborn size 1 fits most babies – newborns go through approx 12 nappies a day
- Cotton wool pads/balls
- Baby clothes – at least vests, sleepsuits/babygrows, jumpers/cardigans, hat including a going home outfit
- Baby blankets (cotton or cellular or wool)
Bag for partner
- Change of clothes
- Phone & Chargers or power bank
- Change for vending machines (shops may not be open for as long) and car park
- Phone list (if you’d like to tell people right away)
- Car seat to take your baby home. Practice putting in/out car beforehand!
- Maybe keep a book/magazine in the car in case you have to wait in the car until after mother’s initial assessment (This is a ‘new’ thing which started during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not all hospital trusts will still operate that way. Ask your midwife/trust to check).
I hope this list is useful for some of you and please if you have anything to add or adapt contact me and I’ll add it to the list!