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Pregnancy

      Your hospital bag checklist

      Packing your hospital bag can feel both exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. On one hand, you’re about to meet your baby for the first time. But on the other, things suddenly seem to be getting very real! However you’re feeling, packing the items that make you feel most comfortable and help you enjoy those precious first moments with your baby can only be a positive thing.

      Read on to discover when’s a good time to start packing your hospital bag, what you might want to think about packing, and extras you might need if you’re planning a C-section.

      When to pack your hospital bag

      Since only 4% of babies arrive on their actual due date, most parents-to-be pack their hospital bag a few weeks in advance. Of course, there’s no harm in packing sooner if you like to be organised.

      Planning a homebirth? You still might want to consider having a bag of essentials ready, just in case your plans change at the last minute.

      What to pack in your hospital bag for labour

      Here’s our list of hospital bag essentials, compiled by mums, experts and our favourite mummy bloggers. You won’t necessarily need everything on this list, but it’s a good starting point. You’ll probably want to add a few extra bits and pieces too – a few little home comforts to help you feel comfortable and relaxed can make a big difference.

      You might also prefer to pack a couple of smaller bags – one for labour and birth, and one for the postnatal ward.

      Remember to show your birth partner what you’ve packed, so they know where everything is.

      Birth plan and hospital notes

      You’ll need to keep these handy, so you might want to pack them in a side pocket or at the top of your bag.

      TENS machine

      Many mums-to-be use these for effective pain relief – especially during the early stages of labour.

      Snacks and drinks

      Labour can be thirsty (and hungry) work. Stay hydrated and pack a few of your favourite snacks to refuel on if you need to.

      Glucose tablets

      These can give you a quick and easy energy boost.

      Hair tie or band

      Keeping your hair off your face gives you one less thing to think about.

      Pants

      Plenty of pairs that you aren’t too precious about.

      Sanitary pads

      The thicker the better, especially for overnight.

      Nursing bras and breast pads

      To make breastfeeding easier and protect you from any leaks.

      Sleepwear and socks

      An old, comfy nightie or pair of PJs. If you get cold feet, pack a pair of warm socks too.

      Toothbrush and toothpaste

      It sounds obvious but they’re surprisingly easy to forget.

      Phone and phone charger

      For taking snaps and spreading the good news. Just remember to check your hospital’s mobile phone policy first.

      Laundry bag

      To keep your washing away from your clean clothes.

      A going-home outfit

      Most mums opt for something loose and comfy.

      Slippers

      Your favourite pair... yes, even the fluffy ones!

      A comfy pillow

      If you like a nice, fluffy pillow, it’s best to take your own.

      Deodorant and moisturiser

      Or any items you use to freshen up.

      Your favourite body wash

      To make you feel more at home.

      Lip balm

      Dry lips can be a real problem during labour - tackle them with moisturising lip balm.

      Music

      Some mums like to make playlists to help them stay energised; tune in and zone out.

      An eye mask

      Some mums rely on these to nod off under the bright hospital lights.

      A mini fan

      To keep you cool - even better, try one with a water spritzer!

      Sports-top water bottle

      The easiest way to stay hydrated without pouring water all over yourself!

      Flip-flops

      Perfect for wearing in shared hospital showers.

      Hand sanitiser

      For times when you can’t make it to the sink to wash your hands.

      Notebook and pen

      This can be handy for jotting down important info from the midwife.

      What to pack in your hospital bag for your baby

      Newborn nappies

      If they’re feeding, they’re pooing! Take plenty, plus nappy bags if you’re planning on using them.

      Cotton wool

      Baby wipes aren’t recommended for newborns – opt for cotton wool and water instead.

      Baby clothes

      A few of first outfits, including vests, babygrows and sleepwear.

      Muslin cloths

      Leaks and dribbles are easily mopped up with a muslin.

      Car seat

      You might not fit this in your bag, but if you’re getting to the hospital by car it’s an absolute essential! It’s a good idea to practise fitting it in your car before your baby arrives.

      Hat and booties

      To make your baby’s journey home warm and cosy.

      What your birth partner should pack for hospital

      Change for parking

      It’s a good idea to have some spare cash handy, just in case you can’t pay by card.

      Snacks and drinks

      You’ll need to keep your energy levels up in order to support your partner.

      Entertainment

      For both you and your partner – some babies are in no hurry to arrive!

      Toothbrush, toothpaste and a few toiletries

      So you can freshen up if you need to.

      A change of clothes

      In case you end up staying longer than expected.

      Painkillers

      Take your own stash in case a headache strikes.

      Your own pillow

      You’ll feel more at home in a bedside chair with a familiar pillow.

      Camera

      To capture those precious first moments.

      Money

      In case you need to nip to the shop for supplies.

      A written list of phone numbers

      It may seem a bit old-school, but if you can’t use (or charge) your mobile, this will come in handy.

      A full petrol tank

      Not strictly one for the bag, but very important prep for that quick dash to the hospital.

      Contraction timing app

      To help you keep track of contractions.

      Hospital bag checklist for mums having a C-section

      If you’re having a C-section, you’re likely to have a slightly longer stay in hospital, so you might want to pack a few extras.

      Entertainment

      Something to keep you occupied while you wait for your C-section.

      High-waisted pants

      You’ll need several pairs that will go over your scar.

      Comfortable clothes

      Tops that button down the front are useful if you’re planning on breastfeeding.

      Sippers or slip-on shoes

      You’ll probably find it hard to take your shoes on and off if you’ve had a C-section.

      Extra clothes and nappies for your baby

      A longer stay in hospital means you’ll need extra supplies for your baby. There’s often little space to store your belongings on hospital wards, so you might prefer to ask friends or family to bring extra supplies in as you need them.

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