Hospital Bag Checklist

Our suggestions on what to pack in your bag if you’re planning to give birth at a hospital or birth centre.

Rather than having all of your things squeezed into one hospital bag, it can be helpful to have two – one for labour and one for after birth.

Labour bag

  • Phone and wallet
  • Loose comfortable clothes to labour in – like a baggy t-shirt
  • Outfit to change into afterwards
  • Jandals or slides
  • Cardigan, in case you get cold
  • Warm socks
  • Underwear
  • Bikini, if you’re planning for a water birth
  • Hair ties
  • Charger cord
  • Face cloth
  • Snacks – nuts, dried or fresh fruit, muesli bars
  • Water bottle
  • Reusable straw – makes it easy for your birthing partner to give you water
  • Camera – make sure it’s charged!
  • Portable speaker
  • Lip balm
  • Facial spray
  • Massage oil – make sure it’s unscented so baby can smell you when they’re born
  • Wheat pack – it’s easier to heat up in the microwave, rather than having a hot water bottle
  • Your own pillow or pillow slip – it can be so much more comfortable having yours which is familiar
  • Diffuser and essential oils, if you’d like to use them
  • Any medications you’re taking
  • Glasses and/or contact lenses
  • Paperwork you’ve been asked to bring
  • A copy of your birth plan/preferences
  • Book/tablet/headphones for entertainment – especially if you’re induced and have time in early labour

A couple of weeks before your due date, put some old towels and a rubbish bag in your car in case your waters break on the way to the birthing unit. Some birthing people also vomit in labour so it’s a good idea to have a paper bag handy too.

Birth partner’s bag

  • Phone and wallet
  • Change of clothes
  • Togs, if you’d like to have a water birth or use the shower
  • Jandals
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Snacks
  • Phone charger
  • Book/tablet/headphones for entertainment
  • Jumper, in case it’s cold

Even if you’re planning to have a home birth, you should pack a bag for you and your baby just in case you need to transfer to the hospital.

Your postnatal bag

  • Comfortable clothing – like maternity leggings and tops for easy breastfeeding
  • Button-up nighties or pyjamas
  • Nursing bras
  • Black cotton underwear – high-waisted ones are most comfortable
  • Light robe
  • Slippers
  • Travel-sized toiletries – skincare, soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, dry shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Hairbrush and hair ties
  • Maternity pads/disposable underwear
  • Nursing pads
  • Laundry bag for dirty clothes
  • Book/tablet/headphones for entertainment, just in case you have the chance!
  • Antenatally-expressed colostrum in a cooler bag with ice, if you have it

For baby

  • 4-5 outfits, including socks and hat
  • Swaddles/wraps
  • Baby blanket
  • Nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • Car seat
  • Going home outfit
  • Baby oil – it can help to remove the sticky meconium (baby’s first poo)

It’s a good idea to pack your hospital bags no later than two weeks before your due date.

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