Having a baby? Here’s everything you need to pack in your hospital bag

Sophie Davis,
Contributing editor

The nursery’s painted, the pram’s ready, but do you have everything you need for hospital? Our checklist is here to help 

Hospital bag checklist babygrows

After nine months of waiting to meet your baby, it’s time to start thinking about your hospital bag. But what do you really need? From dressing gowns to hats, here’s our definitive guide to all the essentials to pack – for you and your new arrival.

For you

Dressing gown 
A dressing gown is great for when you’re pacing those hospital corridors – go for a lightweight, waffle-knit option.

You’re in labour – you deserve something comfy on your feet! Choose a pair that are easy to slip on and off and don’t require much bending down – mules are a good option.

Phone, headphones and charger 
To play your favourite music, watch movies, and pass the time in the early stages of labour. Magazines or a book will also be good if you’re waiting around a while.

A comfy T-shirt or nightie to wear during labour
A loose, old one will be best.

TENS machine
Some women find this helps with labour pains by sending a mild electrical current through your skin.

Drinks and snacks 
Pack snacks that will stay fresh in your bag for a couple of days if needed – you never know when you might need a little something. Energy bars and protein balls are good options. Pack a refillable water bottle, so you can stay hydrated.

Birth plan and maternity notes 
It’s a good idea to have these with you whenever you leave the house in the weeks leading up to your due date. Don’t forget to slip them in your bag when you head to the hospital.

Nursing bra 
You’ll want a comfortable, non-wired nursing bra for afterwards.

Have a soft pair of pyjamas to change into while you bond with your baby and wait to go home. Front-opening tops are good for breastfeeding in.

Pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturiser, deodorant and shower gel. Treat yourself to some travel-sized minis to save space. You’ll also appreciate your own towel afterwards for freshening up – and don't forget breast pads and maternity pads.

Clothes to go home in  
Pack something loose that you’ll feel comfortable in. A sweatshirt with jogging bottoms is perfect.

For baby

Nappies and cotton wool
Take lots (and lots!) of nappies and cotton wool. You’ll be surprised how many you get through, so make sure you have a couple of packs.

A couple of thin, cellular blankets will be good for layering up, depending on the temperature. They’ll be useful for snuggling over the car seat when you head home, too. 

Cotton hat and scratch mittens
Hospitals can get chilly, so take a little hat. A pair of cotton mittens will be useful to stop your baby scratching – some sleepsuits have built-in ones.

Pack at least two or three sleepsuits, vests and a cardigan or two. You might want to choose a special outfit too, for a going-home photo.

Muslin squares 
A new parent’s best friend. Muslin squares are just the thing for mopping up milk and accidents (there will be many).

Car seat 
Strapping your baby into a car seat can be nerve-wracking at first – our Nursery Partners can show you how to fit yours, for peace of mind.

What next?

For more advice on all the equipment you’ll need for your baby, read our baby checklist – covering everything from clothing to cots to car seats. 

Packing your hospital bag before you are due to give birth can be daunting. Watch our easy-to-follow video guide to what to pack to take with you for birth and just after.