How to pack your hospital bag
As with all things related to pregnancy and babies, advice on what to pack in your hospital bag can be overwhelming. The internet offers countless pregnancy hospital bag checklists and you are pretty much guaranteed to overpack for baby’s very first journey. We encourage you to enjoy this final milestone of getting ready for baby’s arrival rather than feeling stressed and worried about forgetting an important item. As long as you have something comfortable to wear during labour as well as your pregnancy notes you’ll be fine. Some hospitals now save your notes digitally, meaning you might not even need to worry about bringing a file. Your partner can always nip out and get any forgotten items once baby has arrived. The truth is that you will be so busy during labour, you might forget about that playlist you had lovingly put together or that lip balm you thought was so important.Some families prefer having separate bags to make finding specific items as easy as possible. These might be individual bags for baby and mum or for during and after labour. Consider that you might not be able to unpack yourself, so getting your partner involved in the packing process can help make things easier on the big day.
So, what do you really need in hospital during and after labour? We have aimed to give you the essentials, along with some nice-to-haves on a separate list. To make packing a breeze, please scroll all the way down for printable lists.
When to pack your hospital bag
It’s a good idea to have your hospital bag ready about a month before your due date, just in case your little passenger decides to make an early appearance. Have your hospital notes at the top of the bag or in a side pocket so you can grab them easily when going for check-ups during that final month. Remember to always put them straight back in the bag when you return home. Place your bag somewhere you are guaranteed to see it on your way out. This will make everything as easy as possible when it’s time to go.
What to pack in your hospital bag for yourself and your partner
- pregnancy notes with birth plan – The single most important item on any UK hospital bag checklist. Place them on the top of your packed hospital bag after every check-up. Some health trusts however have now gone digital. If your pregnancy notes are saved in the Badger App, you’re in luck! You won’t have to worry about bringing a file. Just remember to keep your phone charged!
- TENS machine - If you have decided to use it for pain relief. Consider bringing some spare batteries, just in case.
- drinks and snacks - for yourself and your birth partner. Cereal bars and glucose tablets work well. Bananas are also miracle workers and make a nice addition to your bag closer to the time. Keep in mind that during Covid-19, you will have to minimise the times you leave and re-enter the room, so bring enough food to last you a while.
- toiletry bag for yourself and your partner: toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrush, moisturiser, shower gel, deodorant, shampoo if you feel fancy.
- clothing for labour – Button up nightdresses are great because they keep you covered up and cosy during labour (remember you will not be wearing any bottoms and if you are hoping for a natural birth, you will be walking around a lot) while facilitating skin to skin and breastfeeding once baby has arrived. Don’t forget a pair of warm socks, as cold feet can stall labour.
- clothing for after labour – you will want some clean nightwear to put on once baby has arrived. Pyjamas work well now but try to find a pair with a button-up top. Socks and a dressing gown.
- spare clothing and nightwear for partner – check with your hospital, if you are staying in the home from home part of the maternity unit (the home from home is specifically for low risk, natural births), your partner might be able to sleep over
- underwear – cotton knickers (a few pairs that you are not too attached to), 2 nursing bras, breast pads (even if you are not planning to breastfeed, your breasts will be sensitive, bigger than usual and leaking).
- towels – some hospitals don’t provide them, so better safe than sorry.
- sanitary/maternity pads – bring plenty
- pair of glasses or contact lenses – if you need them
- hair ties
- going-home outfit – loose and comfortable
- change for the car park
- full petrol tank
- phones and chargers - with important numbers and contraction timing app.
face masks & optional hand sanitiser – Remember to bring face masks for yourself and your partner during Covid-19. Hospitals generally have plenty of hand sanitiser, but you might prefer bringing a personal bottle.
What to pack in the hospital bag for baby
10 – 20 new-born diapers – disposable & diaper bags or cloth & wet bag.
Ours are the most accredited eco diapers on the market and our handy subscription means you’ll never run out!
cotton wool or natural wipes - 1-2 packs.
Kit & Kin biodegradable wipes are suitable for newborns, 100% plant-based and 99% water.
Our chunky-knit blanket is made from 100% organic cotton.
baby clothes – 5x vests, onesies with feet.
Our 100% organic cotton onesies come with fold over feet and mitts.
going home outfit – baby’s cutest ensemble.
outerwear – booties, all in one, jacket or cardigan for going home.
Depending on the season. Preferably with adorable bear or bunny ears 🐰🐻
- hat - again, depending on season.
Have you seen our bunny and bear hats? Pssst: Our co-founder Emma Bunton is team bear.
1-2 muslin cloths.
- car seat.
- camera – you will never get another chance to capture these moments
- books/magazines/games for yourself and your birthing partner
- e-reader - They are great for 1-handed-reading during feeds, but most likely you will want to simply stare at your new arrival.
- playlist and speakers for labour
- make up
- breast balm – if you have a preferred brand you would like to use
- lip balm – pro tip: nipple balm is wonderful for mama’s lips
- ear plugs & eye mask – in case you should struggle sleeping in a shared room
- pillow – to feel more at home and comfortable
- water-spray – to keep you cool during labour
- massage oil – for baby but also for yourself during labour
- lavender oil or spray – many women find these relaxing during a natural birth
- notebook – to jot down these precious memories
All of us here at Kit & Kin wish you the very best for the next few weeks and for the birth of your little miracle! If you have any questions, we are just an e-mail away! We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Download your FREE printable checklist