What to include

Babies can be unpredictable, so having your bags packed early will mean that you’ll be ready for whenever your baby does decide to make an appearance! Anything from 36 weeks onwards is considered average for getting your bag ready and even if you’ve decided to have your baby at home it’s still a good idea to have your hospital bag prepared just in case plans change at the last minute. Having everything ready and in one place also means that should you have to go into hospital for any reason, no one will need to rush around pulling together an emergency bag for you.

Your hospital bag should contain all the items you’ll need during labour and immediately after birth for both you and your baby. Any type of bag is suitable, one with extra pockets may be best as there will be lots of items that need to be kept in a safe place.

A hospital stay can vary in length and anything from a few hours to 1½ days is considered normal for an uncomplicated birth. If you have a caesarean birth this could increase to 3-5 days but sometimes this can be reduced if you and your baby are both doing well.

hospital bag checklist

Hospital Bag Checklist

Items for labour and birth:


Essentials:

  • Birth plan and maternity notes
  • 2-3 front opening nightshirts or t-shirts (you may want to avoid pyjama bottoms)
  • A lightweight dressing gown
  • Slippers or slip resistant socks
  • 2 comfortable bras, or maternity bras – don’t forget your breasts may increase in size after the birth
  • A loose and comfortable outfit for when you leave the hospital
  • 5-6 pairs of pants – you may even find disposable ones are a good idea
  • 2 packs (at least) of Lil-Lets Maternity Pads with wings (10 pack)
  • Lil-Lets maternity pads with wings
  • 2 packs of breast pads – even if you don’t plan on breastfeeding you may still need these
  • A washbag to include:
    • Toothpaste
    • Toothbrush
    • Shower gel – a PH balanced or fragrance free one for the intimate area is ideal!
    • Shampoo/conditioner/dry shampoo – travel sizes would be ideal
    • Intimate wipes
    • Antiperspirant/deodorant
    • Hairbrush and hair ties (if you use them)
    • Body spray or perfume
    • Lip balm
    • Moisturiser for the body and face
  • A towel
  • Water spray or sponge – to help keep you cool
  • Light snacks and a bottle of water – to keep your energy levels up
  • Tissues
  • Any medications you are currently taking
  • A plastic bag for used clothing items


hospital bag list

You may also want:

  • Oil or lotion - if you want to be massaged
  • Birth ball – can be a useful aid during labour
  • TENS machine – used for pain relief
  • Favourite music
  • Book, magazine or a tablet – to help pass the time
  • Your mobile phone & charger

For your baby:

  • Baby clothes – vests, sleep suits, cardigans – at least three of each (but more vests and sleepsuits are always handy) – and a hat and mittens plus an all-in-one snow suit if it’s cold
  • Muslins or bibs – useful for mop ups
  • Nappies – babies can get through a lot during the first few days
  • Baby toiletries and cotton wool
  • Baby blanket or shawl – for when you go home

Don’t forget your baby car seat too which is essential if you are driving home after the birth!

Read our other advice articles:

Pregnancy and what happens to your body What To Expect After Birth Stress Incontinence Looking After You Getting Back To Normal Contact Us