Video: Packing your hospital bag

Find out what to include in your hospital bag so you can be prepared just in case your baby arrives early.
Packing your hospital bag

Find out what to include in your hospital bag so you can be prepared just in case your baby arrives early.

 pregnant mum and dad baby clothes packing 

Your hospital bag checklist

Follow the checklist below to help pack your hospital bag. There’s no need to take too much, your stay should be quite short and, if you do need extra, friends or family can get things for you.

This checklist is also available for you to download and print- just click here so that you can start ticking off items as and when you pack them.

Cow & Gate Hospital Bag

Cow & Gate Hospital Bag What to pack for labour
  • Your birth plan
  • Hospital notes (if you have them)
  • Change for the car park
  • Nightie, dressing gown, cosy socks and slippers
  • Contact lenses and spare glasses (if you have them)
  • Magazines or iPod
  • A watch with a second hand to time your contractions
  • Hair tie/band (if you've got long hair)
  • Water spray (for cooling yourself down during labour)
  • Lip balm
  • Cereal bars or dried fruit for an energy boost
  • Frozen drinks - They'll defrost during a long labour
  • TENS Machine (if you're using one)
Cow & Gate Hospital Bag What to pack for after labour
  • Hot water bottle (for pain relief)
  • Unscented massage oil (for pain relief)
  • Eye mask, If you have trouble sleeping with the lights on
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and unscented toiletries
  • Maxi sanitary pads
  • Nursing bras and breast pads
  • A v-shaped pillow (can help make baby feeding more comfy)
  • Essentials for your baby, including nappies, blanket, socks, vest, hat, muslins and something goes on easily and doesn't need to to be tugged over the head
  • Phone numbers for friends and family
  • Camera (including batteries and/or memory card)
  • Lots of change or phone cards to make calls if they don't let you use mobiles in the hospital
  • Comfy clothes and flat shoes to go home in
  • Face wipes
  • Dark towels

Important notice - Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first few weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breastmilk, and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. The social and financial implications of using an infant milk should be considered. Improper use of an infant milk or inappropriate foods for feeding methods may present a health hazard. If you use an infant milk, you should follow manaufacturer's instructions for use carefully - failure to follow the instructions may make your baby ill. Always consult your doctor, midwife or health visitor for advice about feeding your baby.

Read what Christina and Kadi said in our video about packing your hospital bag.

Christina – Having a few essential items to take to hospital can make your stay there more comfortable. We’re here with Kadi who is 28 weeks pregnant. Hi Kadi!

Kadi – Hi Christina.

Christina – And how are you?

Kadi – I’m doing well, thanks.

Christina – That’s good. So, have you got your hospital bag packed already?

Kadi – I’ve started to buy some essential items for my hospital bag, but I haven’t quite finished packing yet.

Christina – Alright. Although you’ve still got a while to go yet Kadi, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got your hospital bag packed at least four weeks before your due date, just in case your baby comes early.

Kadi – Yeah, because I’ve got a tendency to over pack, especially when going on holiday! So, can you help me choose which items go into the hospital bag?

Christina – Definitely.

Kadi – Great.

Christina – So Kadi, I’ve made up a bag here which I prepared for you earlier, and I split it into two sections. One for labour and one for afterwards once your baby has been born.

Kadi – OK, so all this is for me?

Christina – Indeed. One of the things that’s really important is for you to feel nice and comfortable in hospital. We’ve got some nice lounge clothing for you, which will help you feel nice and comfy in your stay. And a toiletry bag as well, with all your essentials in there.

When you’re in hospital, it can get very hot during labour, so one of the things I found which is very handy is having a water bottle with water spritz in there. So your birthing partner can get involved and can just spritz you down and make you feel nice and cool. That’s really handy.

Also the lip balm, because your lips can get very dry during labour, so this will certainly help. And did you know that your feet can get quite cold during labour?

Kadi – Really? That’s a surprise!

Christina – So having some socks in there – that’s a great tip as well.

Kadi – OK, because I wouldn’t have thought of that.

Christina – And also, it’s important to remember some change for the car park. And for those important calls as well.

Kadi – Should I take any food with me?

Christina – Definitely, things like the high-energy fruit bars, they’re ideal for keeping you going. And don’t forget to take some for your partner too!

Kadi – So what items should I bring for the baby?

Christina – Babygrows, a baby vest, in fact anything with poppers on is ideal. And a baby blanket and some nappies too.

Kadi – Another thing I was going to ask you is when should I consider buying nursing bras?

Christina – I’m glad you asked that question, because at the moment Kadi, you’ve still got a bit of growing to do. So I think it’s probably best that you wait for a couple of weeks. And then think about buying a bra, and also some nursing pads too.

It’s good to be prepared with your essentials for your hospital stay, but if you forget something, don’t worry because your friends and family can always bring it in for you, or pass it to your birthing partner if it’s not the right time to visit.

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