The hospital bag: What you need & how to pack it

I lost count of the number of times I packed and repacked my hospital bag.

It’s lovely to look at the little clothes your newborn will wear and imagine them wearing them. It helps to take your mind off the marathon that is giving birth you’re about to experience.

When I packed my first hospital bag I included lots of stuff I didn’t need and didn’t pack enough of other things, like nappies! What a rookie mistake.

The excess stuff took up unnecessary space in my hospital bag.

I packed a load of nursing pads, not appreciating that leaking wouldn’t be an issue for a few days.

I didn’t pack enough maternity pads. I had no idea quite how much post-birth bleeding there would be. If you think you’ve packed enough, put in two more. It’s a good idea to change them frequently as it helps decrease the risk of infection.

When it came to the baby I didn’t know how much nappies can leak, particularly when you don’t realise how tightly you need to do them up.

I’ve produced a list of all the things I put in my hospital bag with my second baby. I stayed in hospital for one night and it was spot on. I also found a much easier way of organising everything.

My big secret for packing your hospital bag is, you actually need three bags. Two medium and one small.

It might sound like I’m overcomplicating things, but this will make your life easier. It saves you or your other half digging through a load of stuff to reach the thing you need right at the bottom.

The first medium bag is for when you’re in labour and immediately after labour. It contains your birth outfit, which should be a cheap or old nightie that protects your modesty when you need it to and provides easy access too. It also contains a fresh pair of pyjamas for after you’ve given birth and had a wash, stuff for having a wash, plus an outfit, blankets and a couple of nappies for the baby.

The second bag is for while you’re on the ward with the baby. It contains all the baby’s spare clothes, the rest of the nappies, muslin swaddles and maternity pads plus both of your going home outfits.

The giant muslin swaddles are one of my favourite baby products. They’re so useful; can be a blanket, swaddle, burping cover, breastfeeding cover and more. Because they are multi-purpose they are brilliant for a hospital bag. I used them as blankets as the hospital ward was swelteringly hot, the baby only needed something light.

Aden and Anais Muslin swaddles in blue

Aden + Anais giant muslin swaddles

The third smaller bag has emergency supplies and stays in the boot of your car, assuming it’s in the hospital car park, just in case.

In my experience hospital wards are not cold places, if anything they are too hot. Pop an emergency jumper in your third bag if you’re worried.

Here’s my list to be divided between bags one and two, assuming a one-night stay.

Hospital bag suggestions for pregnant mums

Just some of the items for your hospital bag

Maternity hospital bag essentials

For baby
Vests x3
Sleepsuits x3
Hats x2
Giant muslin swaddle x2
Nappies x20
Wipes 1 pack
Sudocrem Care and Protect
Going home outfit
Cellular blanket

For you
Maternity pads x25
Giving birth pyjamas
Post-birth pyjamas
Pants x4
Nursing bra
Lansinoh nipple cream
Comfy going home outfit for you
Small purse with change
Phone charger
Face wipes
Small bag of essential make-up items and travel size shampoo and shower gel
Dressing gown

Emergency bag
Vests x3
Sleepsuits x3
Nappies x15
Maternity pads x10
Muslins x2

I have a Pinterest board featuring my suggestions for what to put in the bag, please check it out.

When it comes to the bags I like these options. They all have big shoulder straps making them easy to carry and your other half shouldn’t object to carrying them too much (mine is a bit averse to super girly changing bags).

Cath Kidston foldaway travel bag in navy blue stripe

Cath Kidston double decker foldaway bag – lots of space for everything you need

Grey Storksak duffle changing bag

This Storksak duffle is a great size to get all your essentials in


Fun slogan shopping bag

Shoulder bag – perfect for your emergency supply of hospital stuff

For your going home outfit, comfort is your friend. Try leggings or any soft pair of trousers as you’re likely to be pretty battered and bruised.

Grey Gap maternity top

Gap maternity top

I think this top and these trousers would be a great combination for leaving the hospital. They’re comfy but look really nice, which will be a boost to your confidence when you’re feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus.

You will still need to be in maternity clothes for a little while longer, the bump takes a while to shrink down.

Green Gap maternity trousers

I love this colour. These Gap maternity trousers are perfect for heading home

I hope my hospital bag tips come in handy. Please share any of your own!




The hospital bag - what to pack and how to pack it | pregnancy


Essentials for your hospital bag and tips on how to pack it

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