Are you getting closer to your due date? Feeling a little unsure about what to pack in your hospital bag? We've got you, here are some helpful ideas and suggestions our friends have shared over the years.
There is nothing more important than being packed and ready to go by the front door or in the car from mid way through your third trimester, because guess what lady...babies are ready to come any day now!
What to pack for a hospital or birthing centre
The ultimate hospital bag checklist
When arriving at your hospital or birthing centre you should have quick access to your Medicare and/or your Private Health Care Cards for administrative purposes. Best to make sure they are in a side pocket nearby printed copies of the hospital paperwork and your birth plan (that can be shared with hospital staff).
It is often advised to pack a couple of different bags. One for during labour and one for your hospital stay after birth. Some even recommend bringing an extra small bag for gifts or dirty clothes.
So, what should I pack for labour at hospitals or birth centres?
When it comes to this exciting, yet often daunting time, being prepared with a well-packed overnight bag can make all the difference. From comfort items to essential supplies, this guide it to help you feel supported and ready. Let's explore what things you might like to include on your checklist and pack for this wonderful experience.
Having multiple printed copies of your birth plan means that this can be shared with the important people involved in your delivery experience - including your support person.
Room ambiance features
Things like an electric burner (oil diffuser) aromatherapy oils, essential oils, electric candles, fairy lights, salt lamp, aromatherapy room spray with a natural scent, bluetooth speaker, positive birthing affirmations (all nice to haves for creating the calming environment you desire). Something to be aware of is that these are going to be mostly useful at home during early labour or if you're going to have an induction or planned c-section at the hospital. Most women by the time they arrive at hospital six centimetres dilated, may not want these things. But they're also really useful for post birth, so having these prepared either way is a great idea.
With a straw or pop top so having a drink is easy whilst labouring. Think about having coconut water drinks to keep you hydrated.
Muesli bars, dried fruits, fresh veggie sticks and something sweet. Not all women feel like eating during labour but it's good to be prepared!
Dressing gown or comfortable day clothes
Comfortable clothing includes some nice warm socks also! Babies often have their own plan and labour can go for longer than you expect and you may want to move around the floor while you do it.
Big loose t-shirt
Or something comfortable to wrap around you if you'd prefer not to wear a hospital gown whilst labouring
To help relieve and relax a tired body
For if there is a birthing pool or bath
Hair ties, headband or scrunchies
You'd be surprised how annoying your hair can become in the throws of labour. Remember to leave jewellery and other valuables at home. Also, don't forget to pack your own pillow since hospital pillows might not be as comfy as yours.
An interesting one that I'd not heard of until recently from a friend was of her glasses fogging up during labour (note - leave those in your bag). Usually the hospital will provide blankets if you need them, but if you prefer your own blankets they're always worth bringing! And don't forget to ask your own doctor what they might recommend you bring with you too. Asking your doctor about any medications you may be provided by the hospital team is also well worth the effort.
Hospital bag checklist for birthing partner
Hey there, birthing partner we see you. We know you play a crucial role in this birth experience, so here's a checklist just for you. Remember, staying calm and comfortable is key to providing the best support possible.
mobile phone, a standard phone charger or a long cord charger (these can be useful as you never know where the powerpoint plugs are going to be!)
A change of clothes (fresh underwear and t shirt, labour can go for a long time)
Book, iPad, music or something for general entertainment
Spare change (for the hospital vending machine or hospital parking)
Cutlery for when you order uber eats (if you're at a hospital that doesn't provide food)
And please, please be sure you have everyone's contact details saved in your phone so that you're not having to ask an exhausted mother who is messaging.
What should I pack for after the birth?
Ok, new parents, let's talk about what you'll need in your bag for the post birth period. After all, once your little bundle of joy arrives, you'll want to focus on bonding and cherishing those precious moments. We've got you covered with some essential items to ensure you have a relaxed and enjoyable experience during your hospital stay.
- Maternity bras
Consider a nursing bra if you're planning to breastfeed. A breast pump is usually available at the hospital and may be recommended to help kick start your milk supply, but be careful about overdoing it and creating oversupply.
- Maternity underwear or disposable undies
When packing underwear always size up and best to always consider the where the waistband will be sitting in the case of caesarean
- Antenatal Expressed Colostrum
It is really important if you have been building up a small amount of expressed colostrum that you bring this, clearly labelled, into the hospital so they can store this for use after delivery. This can be a lifesaver if you don't wish the hospital to recommend that you feed your baby formula in the initial days post birth (especially at a private hospital where your stay will be longer). A little bit of jaundice is a normal part of what happens while the baby waits for your milk to come in between days three and five postpartum, however hospitals want to make sure the jaundice numbers stay within a range and so will often recommend formula. Bringing your own colostrum to feed your baby will ensure that even if the baby is struggling to latch, you will still be able to feed them with your milk.
If you are planning on formula feeding, or want to prepare incase you need to for some reason, then you may wish to do your own research and bring in formula that you feel comfortable with rather than relying on what the hospital has to offer.
- Breast pads
- Nipple cream
- Dressing gown
This is for ease of access for feeding and skin to skin with your newborn. Most mothers find that especially if staying in hospital for multiple days, they don't spend much of it with their clothes on!
- Comfortable clothes (including slip on shoes)
If you plan on using recovery, compression shorts for extra support make sure you pack a few pairs of these
Scent free body wash, shower gel & moisturiser, face wash, dry shampoo, lip balm, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush , scrunchies, headbands, deodorant)
- Maternity pads or sanitary pads / adult nappies
- Postpartum, you'll experience lochia which is the discharge of remaining products of birth. Often when babies feed, the stimulation of your nipple will trigger the release of further blood flow. This will happen on and off sometimes for up to eight weeks post birth. The initial week will be the heaviest and usually requires nice, thick soft maternity pads.
Glasses or contact lenses
If you wear contacts make sure you pack them in your bag with your case and solution.
- Belly oil
- Comfy going home outfit for your trip home
- Peri after care
- Peri bottle and peri spray
- Laundry bag
- Mobile phone with a charger and long charging cable
To create a more homely experience post birth you might think about bringing in your own pillow - perhaps even an extra pillow for your partner. To keep things homely, we also suggest bringing toilet paper, we know, of course your hospital will have this, however bringing your own toilet paper will ensure good quality paper for softness "down there" after birth. Nappy wipes and a water bottle are always good to have on hand too!
What should I pack for my baby?
From adorable new baby clothes to important items for baby's safety and comfort, let's make sure your little one have everything they need to feel cozy and loved in their first moments in this world. We suggest having a separate babies bag solely for your newborn and so you or your partner can have access to all baby needs in one space.
Baby grow suits: newborn 0000 or 00000 with zippers
Baby swaddle and Baby blanket
Your hospital will provide you with a blanket however it can be nice to have your own
Burp cloths or muslin squares
Baby's feeding sessions can become messy to begin with, it's great to have these on hand to wipe little spit ups
- Baby blankets
Zinc barrier cream , baby lotion
Newborn baby carrier fitted in your car
This one is so essential for being able to move around while still having your bub held safe and close snuggled up on you.
One outfit for newborn to wear on the car ride home
Something that may seem incredibly obvious, however can be forgotten in the excitement of baby's arrival is having your car seats or baby capsule installed correctly. Most second time parents or professionals in the birthing space will advise you to have your car seat or baby's capsule installed by a professional early on in the third trimester ready for the ride home.
Ways to get packing
Preparing for your newborn baby is one of the most exciting times, but please remember that packing your hospital bag is an essential part of this process. To ensure you, your birth partner and newborn baby have everything you need, using a checklist is a lifesaver.
It helps you to communicate important aspects of your birth plan, stay organised and ensures you don't forget any crucial items for you and your baby. So grab your checklist and get started! This magical moment is just around the corner.
Why is a hospital bag important?
Packing your hospital bag in advance ensures that you have all the essentials for you and your baby throughout your hospital stay and for your journey home. It enables you to bring more personal things for your own comfort while recovery after birth.
Why follow a hospital bag checklist?
Creating a handy checklist ensures that you are as prepared as possible and nothing important get's left behind when leaving the house at a moment's notice: hospital paperwork, baby gear, birth plan, medicare card all the essentials are packed safely and securely within reach.
Do hospitals provide baby wipes or should I bring my own?
We recommend you pack your whole nappy bag to be prepared for everything related to your new baby. Most hospitals will supply a few disposable nappies and baby wipes, but it is helpful to have your own supply on hand, especially if you have particular brands you would like to use on your baby. Hospitals tend to have nappies that show a green line when the baby has weed which makes it easier for new parents too.
How many weeks pregnant should I pack?
It's recommended that you be packed and ready by the time you reach 36 to 37 weeks of pregnancy. This way, you'll be prepared in case you go into early labour. While you can always throw in some last-minute essentials like your toothbrush, it's best to have most items packed and easily accessible by this stage of your pregnancy.
How many outfits to bring to the hospital in my baby bag?
When thinking about what outfits to pack in your hospital bag for baby we highly recommend thinking about the functionality of anything that is packed for after birth. Anything with zippers will be very best friend. Around 4 full outfits should suffice (each outfit containing: singlet, zipper suit and beanie or hat). A great tip one amazing mum shared with us - keep your "first outfit" separate, have it all in a bag together clearly identifiable to your birth partner. Four 0000 (newborn) and two 000 should be enough.