When should you pack your hospital bag?
If there was ever a time to be well prepared, giving birth to a new human is it. While it’s okay to add some small things to your maternity bag at the last minute like toiletries, it’s better to be prepared for everything else to avoid any unnecessary stress. Grab a large bag (a wheely suitcase works well), and pack early so you’re not rushing around during labour and tick things off the list as you pack them. Check with your healthcare professional about how many days you'll be in hospital, so you know how much to pack.
Hospital bag for mum:
Below are some essential items to put on your maternity hospital bag checklist:
☐ Any prescription items, such as medication and glasses.
☐ A cozy dressing gown. Ideal for wandering the ward.
☐ Slippers or thongs are an essential for the maternity bag for walking around the hospital or trips to the bathroom.
☐ Socks to keep your feet warm.
☐ A few options of comfortable clothing. For example dark coloured trackpants or your maternity clothes might come in handy.
☐ Open shirts that give easy access to baby, for skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding.
☐ A jumper, jacket or cardigan. It can get cold in the hospital.
☐ A few pairs of high-waisted and dark-coloured cotton underwear for comfort.
☐ A comfortable loose-fitting top and bra if you’re planning a water birth.
☐ A couple of breastfeeding bras and some breast pads are essential items for your maternity bag.
☐ Comfy going-home clothes (optional).
C-section hospital bag:
If you’re planning a c-section delivery, there are a few little extras that you may want to pack in your c-section hospital bag.
☐ Compression socks: packing compression socks can help improve circulation after your operation.
☐ Loose-fitting clothing: Choose loose-fitting clothing that won't put pressure on the incision area.
☐ Slip-on shoes: Opt for slip-on shoes that are easy to put on and take off, as bending over may be uncomfortable after the surgery.
☐ Stool softeners: ask your doctor about stool softeners which can help ease bowel movements after your operation, to reduce the strain of going to the toilet if needed.
☐ Extra pillows: Bring extra pillows to provide support and help find a comfortable position during recovery.
☐ Breastfeeding pillow: If planning to breastfeed, a breastfeeding pillow can provide support and make breastfeeding more comfortable.
☐ Supportive underwear: Consider packing supportive underwear that provides gentle compression to the abdominal area.
☐ Postpartum belly wrap: Some mums find post-delivery belly wraps helpful for providing support and reducing discomfort.
Baby’s hospital bag:
☐ A few baby outfits (with at least 5 singlets or bodysuits of different sizes)
☐ Socks and booties (optional)
☐ Muslin wraps or approved baby Sleeping Bags for safe sleep in the hospital. The midwives will be able to show you how to wrap baby snuggly and safely.
☐ 1-2 packs of newborn nappies and baby wipes if your hospital doesn’t provide them. Make sure to check in your pre-natal appointments.
☐ Burping cloths (terry towel nappies are a cheap alternative) are going to be a saviour for your clothes, don’t forget these in your hospital bag for baby.
☐ Mittens or baby socks for their hands, to protect baby’s face from their fingernails while they’re awake.
☐ Warm clothes and beanie for going home if it’s winter.
☐ Prepare for the trip home from hospital by having your baby car seat or capsule fitted correctly according to the Australian safety standards.
Hospital bag for partner:
☐ Snacks and drinks, you will need sustenance too. Bring your favourite snacks otherwise you’re relying on the hospital vending machine options.
☐ Change of clothes
☐ There may be times where you’re waiting around so pack some entertainment to help burn the time, like a book, magazine, music, or check out our partner hub articles here.
☐ Camera or video recorder: Capture the special moments by bringing a camera or video recorder. You may want to get permission from your partner first.
☐ Phone charger: Ensure you have a charger for your phone to stay connected and communicate with family and friends.
☐ Toiletries: Include items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and any other personal hygiene products.
Additional items to pack:
☐ Your birth plan and medical information.
☐ A few packs of maternity pads. There will be some bleeding after birth with both vaginal or C-section deliveries.
☐ Bring some healthy snacks to keep your energy up between meals.
☐ Essential toiletries. Don’t forget your toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant and some makeup if it makes you feel good.
☐ Dirty laundry bag for you and baby.
☐ Your own feeding cushion or pillow, a bright colored one that won’t get lost!
☐ An eye mask so you can rest comfortably.
☐ Your phone and/or camera (and don’t forget your charger). To tell all your friends and family the good news and capture those precious first moments together.
☐ An extra-long charging cable or a power bank, in case the power points are far away.
☐ Some people like to prepare a music playlist to play during labour. Check with your hospital if you need headphones or if you can bring a portable speaker.
☐ A notebook and pen, helpful for jotting down useful notes.
What not to bring to hospital:
It might seem silly to mention, but try to only bring the essential items with you to hospital. The below items are best left at home:
☐ Jewellery, including your watch, and other valuables,
☐ Large amounts of cash,
☐ Laptop, and other non-essential electronic devices,
☐ Some medications like multivitamins and over-the-counter pain relief.
With your bag on standby, you’ll need to know when you’re ready to go to the hospital. Go to our stages of labour checklist to find out.