Are you counting down the weeks (or days!) until your little love will arrive? Have you started packing your maternity hospital bag yet? Preparing for the birth of a child can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience, and packing a hospital bag is one of the most important things to do before the big day. Having everything you need in your hospital bag will help you feel prepared and confident for your hospital stay.
As my little girl is only a few months old, my packing list is still fresh in my mind, and I’d like to think I did a better job at packing the second time around than with my son three years ago! In this article, I will guide you through what I found particularly useful to take and share my 10 must haves in your maternity hospital bag for birth. I hope you find a few useful items in it for your own maternity hospital bag!
What week is best to pack my hospital bag?
There is no right or wrong time but you might like to have everything ready around 36 weeks just to be prepared and not stress last minute, as your baby is considered full term at 37 weeks. It’s also a good idea to keep your hospital bag in a convenient location and easily accessible, in case you need to leave for the hospital in a hurry. By packing your bag early and being prepared, you can help ensure a smoother, less stressful birth experience for both you and your baby.
Essentials in maternity hospital bag for mum
- Hospital notes: your folder with all information including your birth plan. Also any antenatal class notes you might like to take
- Personal care items: it’s comforting to have a few nice toiletries with you such as your favourite shower gel, shampoo, body lotion, lip balm etc., in addition to your toothbrush, toothpaste and usual care items
- Clothes: a few different nighties including a practical, dark one for labour and a few pretty ones for taking your first family and newborn photographs together whilst you’re still in hospital. Also nursing bras, slippers and warm socks in case you get a little chilly in bed. For moving around, a dressing gown or even a tracksuit can come in handy.
- Going home clothes: it’s lovely to have a nice “going home outfit” but do prioritise comfort over style, e.g. a loose fitting dress or your maternity jeans.
- Pillow: again, something to make you feel more comfortable, it’s nice to take your own pillow (in a coloured pillow case so you know it’s yours). Also helpful for the car journey home in case you have a C-Section, to hold against your tummy for cushioning.
- Snacks, water bottle and isotonic drinks: to keep your energy levels up. Most women are able to drink / eat in the time leading up to giving birth.
- The less glamorous stuff: TENS machine for pain relief (optional), maternity pads, cooling pads, Tena lady pants, breast pads, big comfy knickers. Eye mask and earplugs to help you sleep on a brightly lit, noisy ward.
- Your phone and extra long charging cable as plugs tend to be quite far from the bed
- Your camera! If you have a camera in addition to your mobile phone, this is the moment to take it and capture the first few baby photographs together. Don’t worry about how you look or that everything needs to be perfect – you’ll be grateful for every single photo and video in the years to come, promise!
- Gifts for midwives: something small, maybe a little card to say thank you for being there and helping deliver the most precious little baby for you as it’s nice to give back.
Essentials in maternity hospital bag for baby
- Clothing: 2x vests, 2x sleepsuit per night at least. A little hat (they lose heat quickly). A cute going home outfit, again for those first few newborn photographs.
- Blankets and muslins: to keep baby warm and for swaddling
- Nappies & changing items: check with your hospital if they provide these. Otherwise newborn size nappies, cotton wool (baby’s skin is particularly sensitive) and/or wet wipes. Nappy rash cream.
- Formula: regardless of how you decide to feed, you might like to take a few bottles of “first” formula with you (extra small bottles / teat)
- A snowsuit for winter babies to take them home in
- Baby car seat: essential if you are driving / taking a taxi home
You might also like to take something to pass the time before giving birth, e.g. an iPad with your favourite movies, a book or some magazines. Your partner may also want to pack their own belongings to make the experience more comfortable, including their clothes, eye mask / ear plugs, toiletries, snacks / drinks and iPhone / charger. Definitely ask your partner to take a few photos and videos of you at the hospital and ask a midwife to take your first family photos! We always look back at our first few snaps and are so grateful to have them.
In conclusion, packing your hospital bag for birth can initially seem overwhelming, but it’s important to have everything you need to feel comfortable and prepared during your hospital stay. Hopefully this has given you a few ideas for everything you need for a smooth and stress-free birth experience.
Your antenatal journey
Have you already packed your bag or recently returned from hospital and had a fabulous list for your maternity hospital bag? Drop me a message or a comment below, I would love to be able to expand my list to help other mothers to be.
I hope this post has helped you with your own checklist of what to pack in your maternity hospital bag.
I am a West London maternity photographer specialising in timeless and natural lifestyle images throughout motherhood, including maternity and newborn photographs. I am based in Chelsea and am available across Central and West London. If you’d like to capture your motherhood journey through photography, please don’t hesitate to contact me here. Not quite ready to book? Follow me on Instagram and let’s stay in touch.