Preparing Your Hospital Bag For The Maternity Ward

My pal Holly is having her baby very soon and asked me for some tips about packing her hospital bag and funnily enough, during a bit of a clear out the other day, I came across the list I used when it came to packing my own a year ago! I thought it might help some of you who are expecting too and have started thinking about yours. I probably did take too much, but I’d take it all again— I’m a “just in case” and “what if” person, so I like to have (almost) everything covered (and I love to be surrounded by my own things— even my handbag is jam-packed with everything but the kitchen sink!) This is essentially a big, long checklist; but don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as it looks!

The Bag
I took a big holdall on wheels (above) for everything for me and baby. I was a bit hesitant at first, as I didn’t want the midwives to think I was coming for a holiday, but a friend of mine who’d given birth in the same hospital nine months before, said she only took a small bag and wished she took more; so I ran with that! And no one batted an eyelid, might I add!

When To Pack
I had my hospital bag (mostly) packed and sitting by the front door from around 36 weeks. Some might say this is too early and tempting fate, but I call it being organised!

For Baby
I kept all the baby bits separate in a change bag, but inside my holdall. I packed the amount I thought (and hoped) I’d need and then added a little extra, as unfortunately you never know how long you’ll have to stay in hospital for! As for clothes sizes, we knew Byron was going to be big (9lb12!) and long (60cm!) so we took a mixture of two sizes just in case. You can adjust accordingly, but if you’re unsure, I’d go for the bigger size as it’s better for their clothes to be a little baggy, than try and squeeze them into something that’s too small!

Nappies | Newborn Size 1 x 1 pack (usually around 30 nappies)
Nappy Cream
Baby Wipes | Look out for wipes that are suitable from birth, as these are better for their sensitive skin
Cotton Wool | Can be used with a little water instead of wipes. Particularly good for that first sticky poo…
Nappy Bags
Vests | Newborn size x 3, 0-3 months x 3
Onesies | Newborn size x 3, 0-3 months x 3
Hats | Newborn size x 2
Cardigan / Jacket | Newborn size x 2
Scratch Mitts | 2 pairs
Socks | 2 pairs
Muslins | 4 pack
Blanket, Teddy Bear etc | Non-essentials, but if there’s something you want them to have from birth then remember it!
Carton of formula & bottle | Even if you’re going to breastfeed, you just never know.
Dummy | Even if you’re a dummy snob now, you might not be when your baby has been crying for 3 hours…
Baby Car Seat | If you’re leaving the hospital by car, make sure this is in that vehicle!
Money | For vending machines and the car park!

For Mum— Before & During Birth
Your hospital notes!
Long Pillow | This is a total luxury, but I found it really useful for getting comfy before birth and also supporting Byron’s head afterwards, when feeding him
Loose Fitting Nightie | I wore mine right up until my epidural, when I had to wear a hospital gown as it has an open back. You might want to bring a spare, in case your waters break on it!
Dressing Gown & Slippers
Lip Balm | All that gas and air can really dry your lips out!
Snacks | Ok, so your hospital will feed you, but it’s important to keep your energy up, so pack some Lucozade and a sweet, sugary snack
iPod | Music can be a good distraction from the pain and help you zone out, as well as cure boredom if you’re in for the long haul! You might also want magazines or books, but to be honest, despite being in for three days, with all the contractions, walking up and down the corridor, visitors and examinations and then a crying little baby, there wasn’t much time to be bored.
Hairbands | If you have long hair
Swimwear | If you’re planning a waterbirth

For Mum— After Birth
Camera! | Or make sure you have your phone charger!
A Button-Up Shirt / Dress / Nightie | Ideal for breastfeeding
Maternity Bras
Maternity Pads | Very unattractive, but very necessary! Your hospital will provide these, but it’s nice to have some of your own if you feel you need to change it, before you’re checked. Thick, night-time sanitary towels are just as good as maternity towels.
Breast Pads | Leaky nips is not a good look.
Knickers, Knickers and More Knickers | The big, granny kind. Don’t bring anything you’ll want to wear again! It’s also an idea to buy them high-waisted, as should you have a c-section, they’ll be much comfier!
Things To Make You Feel Human Again | Shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush and even make-up if you want to! I have never EVER felt so disgusting, so these bits are essential to making you feel human again! Unfortunately my epidural hadn’t worn enough for me to be allowed a shower, so I had to have a bed bath and it was HORRENDOUS.
Bath Towel | If you’re able to have a shower, you’ll want a dark colour!
Hand Sanitizer
Going Home Clothes | Think baggy, cosy and comfortable.

It looks like a lot doesn’t it? I promise you though, once you’ve packed it doesn’t look like quite as much and of course you can adjust it to your situation! I know some people like to keep the baby bag in their car until the baby is born.

If you’ve given birth before, do you have any hospital bag hints and tips?

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