Have you started packing your hospital bag yet? Worried about how you’re going to fit everything in, and if you’ve got everything you need for you and your newborn baby?

Don’t  worry, I’ve got you covered! After having two babies I now have an amazing system for packing my hospital bag and I’m going to share it with you!

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.

Want the printable list? Subscribe to my mailing list here! Or just scroll down to check it out.

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.

Hospital bag essentials for pregnant mamas

Here’s my list to be divided between bags one and two, assuming a one-night stay (this post contains affiliate links).

Before we get to the list, you may also want to check out my post about staying in hospital after having your baby and tips for the early weeks of breastfeeding.

Hospital bag suggestions for pregnant mums
Just some of the items for your hospital bag

Maternity hospital bag essentials

For baby

For mama

  • Maternity pads x25
  • Giving birth pyjamas
  • Post-birth pyjamas
  • Knickers x4
  • Nursing bra
  • Lansinoh nipple cream
  • Nipple shields
  • Comfy going home outfit for you
  • Small purse with change
  • Phone charger
  • Flannel
  • Face wipes
  • Small bag of essential make-up items and travel size shampoo and shower gel
  • Lip balm. The air is surprisingly dry in hospitals.
  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers
  • Towel
  • Snacks

Emergency bag

  • Vests x3
  • Sleepsuits x3
  • Hat
  • Cellular blanket
  • Blanket
  • Nappies x15
  • Maternity pads x10
  • Pyjamas
  • Pants
  • Muslins x2

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

Choosing a hospital bag

When it comes to the bags I like these options. They all have big shoulder straps or are backpacks, 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).

Pick something that’s easy to carry, and has plenty of pockets for stashing smaller items like lip balm and your phone charger.

One of the best ways to pick out a hospital bag is to get a good-sized changing bag you will use after the hospital and well into the baby’s toddler years. For my three-bag system I suggest a changing bag for immediately after the birth and a duffle bag for your hospital stay items.

Picking out a going home outfit

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.

When looking at tops, opt for ones that are breastfeeding-friendly and choose a bra along the same theme.

Remember to think about the weather. Although the hospital will be warm, it may be cold outside. You’re likely to feel the cold a little more once the baby has been born.

Also even though you will have had the baby, you won’t immediately fit back into your old trousers. That’s not because you’re overweight, never think that, it’s because your bump won’t go down for a few weeks. Stick with the elasticated waistbands for now, which will be especially important if you have a C-section scar to take care of.

I love this hooded top, which has access for nursing plus is comfy and has the long sleeves to keep away the chill. 

These trousers will be perfect for going home, as they will still fit over your bump and keep you comfy on the ride home. 

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 secret to packing your hospital bag - the items you really need to include
The hospital bag - what to pack and how to pack it | pregnancy
Essentials for your hospital bag and tips on how to pack it
Your hospital bag! What pregnant mamas really need in their hospital bag and how to keep it organised for a stress-free hospital stay