I’ve listed below all the products I feel are essential for your hospital bag and included them all in a handy downloadable checklist.
Pregnancy notes – An easy thing to forget.
Nappies – Some say you won’t need more than two or three nappies for a newborn but my daughter had no less than eight poos in the first 12 hours of her life. Yes, you heard right, EIGHT! Luckily I always tend to over-pack so had plenty of nappies and wipes to hand.
Biodegradable Nappies, Mama Bamboo
Eco Nappies, Kit and Kin
Cotton wool – Some hospitals will insist you use cotton wool and water to clean a newborn baby, so make sure you have some packed.
Extra Large Cotton Wool Balls from Boots
Wipes – We’re huge fans of Aqua Wipes and I love that you can buy these in bulk from pretty much anywhere. Mama Bamboo wipes are also worth checking out, they’re 100% biodegradable, made from the softest breathable bamboo fibres.
Many hospitals are happy for wipes to be used on baby in the first few days, especially as many wet wipe brands are made from natural plant based ingredients and are perfectly suitable for newborn skin.
Bamboo Wipes, Mama Bamboo
Vaseline – Some people say if you put a little Vaseline on your baby’s bottom it makes cleaning the meconium poo a lot easier and anyone who has had a baby will know anything that can help is a godsend!
Bodysuits and sleepsuits – You will need to take a range of sizes usually newborn and up to 1 month. These tend to cover from 5 to 10lb. Unless you give birth early or have been told you are having a large baby these sizes should have you covered. I would suggest taking two or three of each size in case they get messed on.
Bodysuits from Mothercare
Cotton Bodysuits, Marks and Spencer
Bodysuits, Mamas and Papas
Striped Babygrow, Emile et Rose
Smocked Footsie, Mini La Mode
Dinos Babygrow, Lola and Blake
Going home outfit – We all do it, put together the perfect outfit and just take the one, imagining them coming home in the same outfit. In reality they may go through two to three outfits in six+ hours so I would say keep your going home outfit until you’ve been discharged and know exactly when you’re on your way out of the door.
Cotton Playsuit, Il Gufo
Smocked Footsie, Mini-La-Mode
Smocked Bodysuit, Pepa and Co
Muslins – Muslins are great for mopping up milky chins and protecting your clothing when burping and feeding. I would suggest packing around four to five.
Muslins, Matchstick Monkey
Cotton Muslins, Childrensalon
Bamboo Muslins, AlexandAlexa
Bibs – Bibs are great for keeping an outfit free of spit up while feeding and burping, avoiding any unnecessary costume changes!
Smocked Bib, Lucy and Belle
Snap Bibs, aden + anais
Cotton Bib, Childrensalon
Cotton Hat– Babies should always be kept warm and depending on the time of year and the temperature of the ward hats are a must. If you do use the hat in the ward you will need one for coming home.
Baby Hat, AlexandAlexa
Pull on Hat, Emile et Rose
Cotton Hat, Harrods
Bottles & Formula – The World Health Organisation recommend exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Even if you are planning on breastfeeding it may be worth packing a bottle and some formula in case you have trouble. A fed baby is a happy baby. When I had my son the hospital gave him some formula through a syringe while I was waiting for my milk to come in.
SMA PRO From Birth- 200ml, Boots
Swaddles – Some say you shouldn’t swaddle anymore but sometimes it’s all that will settle a baby, and what’s more, swaddles can also double up as thin blankets too – so they’re super handy to have.
Cotton Swaddle, Matchstick Monkey
Swaddle, From Babies with Love
Classic Swaddle , aden + anais
Baby blanket– The hospital do have these to hand, but it’s nice for photo purposes to have your baby in a lovely blanket you’ve chosen.
Luxury Knitted Blanket, Shnuggle
Knit Baby Blanket, Emile et Rose
Fox Blanket, Nuby
Baby car seat – If you’re driving home from the hospital which is more than likely you will not be allowed home without a suitable car seat. Remember – always set these up rear facing!
Pants – You won’t really need them when you’re in labour at the hospital, but afterwards you’ll need quite a few. Think Bridget Jones, and opt for larger sizes or maternity pants as you will still have a bit of a belly straight after birth and will want something comfortable.
Mini Briefs, Mothercare
Maxi Briefs, Debenhams
Disposable Knickers– It’s safe to say during labour your knickers will get messy. After your waters have broken you are constantly passing water and blood (not nice) so disposable pants can be a life saver.
Hospital Knickers, JoJo Maman Bebe
Disposable Knickers, JoJo Maman Bebe
Maternity pads – The hospital do have these but they will expect you to bring your own too. I would suggest to include a whole pack in your hospital bag. You can pick these up at most supermarkets or chemists.
10 Maternity Pads, Boots
Bras – You won’t really need too many of these, one and maybe a spare will do. Best to go with a non-underwired nursing bra for comfort and easy access. We love the range available at Bravado.
Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra, Bravado Designs
Breast pads – You may find your milk doesn’t come in for a few days after birth so these may not be necessary, but it’s always best to be prepared and pack a few sets of two.
Reusable Pads, Mama Bamboo
Disposable Pads, Lansinoh
Nipple Cream – This was a total saviour for me. The Lansinoh cream seemed to heal within hours! Top tip – you only need to use a very small amount per nipple, or it will affect baby’s ability to latch – they’ll be slipping and sliding all over the shop! (Rest assured, it’s completely safe to use while breastfeeding).
Nighties – I would advise you to wear a nightie rather than pyjamas while you’re in hospital, not only for comfort, but if you get one with buttons down the front you’ll find feeding and skin to skin much easier.
Blue Button Down Nightie, Seraphine
Dressing gown – I would take an old one as it’s likely to get covered in all sorts. You might want to bin it afterwards.
Dressing Gown, Debenhams
Slippers – Again, worth taking in an old or inexpensive pair. I left mine behind at the hospital by mistake the first time round and would have been devastated if I had taken my favourite pair.
Flip Flops – If you are in a shared bathroom it’s nice to keep your feet covered, so you’re not barefoot when you want to have a shower. These can also double up as slippers if it’s summer.
Iquahion Ergonomic Flip-Flops, Fitflop
Waterproof mats – Depending on whether your waters have broken you may want to protect sofas and/or car seats by putting down a waterproof mat.
Viva Medi Bed Pad, Incontinence Choice
Favourite snacks, and drink – I found these were more for my hubby than me while I was in labour but afterwards I was so hungry I was so grateful for a nice sweet snack.
Lip-balm – If you are on Entonox (gas and air) it can make your lips very dry, so a little lip-balm is handy to have packed.
Flannel/water spray – You can get very hot during labour and it can be nice to cool off with a wet flannel or water spray to the face.
Way to Glow, Mama Mio
Wash bag – Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, make-up wipes, creams etc. It’s so nice to have a warm shower after hours of labour and no matter how much I tried to keep my hair in order, it just doesn’t happen. You will need to wash it. I found mine long hair became so matted I needed a whole mini bottle of conditioner to get to grips with the tangles.
Spritz your bits – This spritz by My Expert Midwife helps to provide instant relief for post-delivery discomfort caused by tearing and stretching. A must-pack!
Arnica tablets – It’s advised to start taking these a few weeks prior to the birth to reduce bruising. Please ALWAYS consult your midwife first.
Nelsons Arnica Pillules, Boots
Hair Brush – You will need one of these to get the tangles out post birth!
Hair bands / hair clips – Handy to have during and after labour to tie your hair back.
Make Up – You may think it will be the last thing on your mind after having a baby, but it is nice to put a little on for those pictures and if family come to visit.
Charger – A definite must. I forgot to pack one with during my first labour and my phone died just after visiting hours ended. I spent a whole night and following morning with no connection to the outside world. I couldn’t even tell when the time was so had no idea when my hubby was going to be coming through the door.
Camera – It’s nice to get some decent early pictures, most people use their camera phones these days, but if you do have a decent camera, get it charged and packed!
iPod/Tablet – Some hospital rooms have speakers you can use, so if you have a set playlist or intend on doing hypnotherapy while you’re there make sure you remember to take the device it’s loaded onto – and again, charge it fully before hand!
Portable speaker – Some hospitals may not have speakers in all the rooms so it may be worth packing a mini portable speaker just in case.
Cash – For parking or the shop for snacks, magazines, newspapers.
Pillow – It can make your rest after birth a little more comfortable but I found it an extra large thing to remember. Don’t forget to pack a coloured pillow slip, so your white pillow doesn’t get absorbed straight into hospital laundry!
TENS machine – If you have decided to try out a TENS machine just make sure you have packed it!
Going home outfit – Try to pack something loose and comfortable, you wont be able to fit into your pre pregnancy clothing straight away.
Teddy bear – last but not least, your hospital bag wouldn’t be complete without a teddy bear. Check out these gorgeous bears from Grin & Bear.