Pregnancy & Birth

A complete hospital bag checklist for new mums

Make sure you have packed all the essentials ready for labour, your newborn and you!

By Ruth Devine

There's no better way to feel prepared for giving birth than knowing that you have everything you and your baby could possibly need packed away in your bag, ready to take to hospital.

Whether it's lip balm to stop your lips cracking during labour, teeny tiny nappies for when bub arrives or comfy clothes that won't irritate a Caesarean scar, we've got all the tips on what to pack (and what not to take with you) when it's time for you to go to hospital to meet your new baby.

READ MORE: FAQs for labour and birth

A list of what to pack in your hospital bag makes life so much easier! *(Images: Getty Images)*
A list of what to pack in your hospital bag makes life so much easier! (Images: Getty Images)

What to pack for labour

It makes sense sometimes to have two separate bags. One for labour and one for when Baby has arrived. That way, things are easier to find. But here's what you'll need while you're actually in labour.

  • Your Medicare card and/or private health insurance card
  • Any medications you have been taking (show the admitting staff when you arrive)
  • X-rays, ultrasounds, pathology reports relating to your pregnancy
  • Birth plan
  • Old nightshirt or T-shirt to wear while in labour
  • Lightweight dressing gown for pacing up and down hospital corridors
  • Thongs or comfy slippers which are easy to slide your feet in and out of
  • Lip balm
  • Hair band
  • Light snacks or glucose tablets to keep you going
  • Water or cordial in a water bottle from which you can easily sip as it's important to stay hydrated
  • Washer (soothing to be soaked in cold water and then wrung out and placed on your forehead)
  • iPod and speaker with your play list ready
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Books, magazines, even travel games to help pass what can seem an awfully long time
  • Birthing aids such as heat packs, stress balls, massage oils, aromatherapy oils
  • Socks (feet can get cold during a long labour)
  • Handheld fan (giving birth can be a sweaty business)

Newborns don't need as much 'stuff' as you might think. *(Image: Getty Images)*
Newborns don't need as much 'stuff' as you might think. (Image: Getty Images)

What to pack for your newborn

Find out what your hospital provides from the following (it might be all, nothing or somewhere in between) and then plan accordingly.

  • Newborn nappies
  • Onesies
  • Scratch mitts
  • Hat
  • Blanket
  • Barrier oil (olive, apricot, almond) to coat baby's bottom before their first bowel movement. It makes cleaning up the sticky first few meconium poos so much easier
  • Cotton wool for cleaning
  • Formula, bottles, teats and sterilising equipment if you plan to formula feed
  • Muslin burping cloths

A thin coating of barrier oil on a baby's bottom makes those first few nappy changes so much easier to handle. *(Image: Getty Images)*
A thin coating of barrier oil on a baby's bottom makes those first few nappy changes so much easier to handle. (Image: Getty Images)

What to pack for you

  • Maternity bras (one-handed drop down nursing bras if breastfeeding).
  • Breast pads
  • Nighties or PJs with buttons down the front for ease of feeding. Darker colours are best as you'll bleed quite heavily for some days after giving birth
  • Lots of undies. You can get disposable but far better is to buy a load of cheapies that can be thrown as you use them. Or use your old, raggedy ones up instead. Just make sure the elastic is cut so it sits under where any Caesarean scar will be
  • Earplugs and eye mask if you want to catch a daytime nap while baby is sleeping. Don't worry; you will hear your baby cry and if you don't, someone is sure to wake you!
  • Comfortable day clothes and soft shoes. Avoid anything that might rub on your dressing if you've had a Caesarean
  • Toiletries
  • Thongs for the shower
  • Light and dark washers. Light for your face. Dark for down below.
  • Light and dark towels. See washers above
  • Make-up. You want those first pictures with your newborn to be looking good, right?
  • Storage containers for glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids or dentures

WATCH: This incredible video of a Caesarean birth

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What to pack for your birth partner

Get the most from your birth partner by ensuring they have everything they need to help you. Or point them in the direction of this list and put them in charge of their own packing!

Whoever you choose as your birth partner, it's good to make sure they're organised as well when it comes to what to bring to the hospital. *(Image: Getty Images)*
Whoever you choose as your birth partner, it's good to make sure they're organised as well when it comes to what to bring to the hospital. (Image: Getty Images)

  • Swimmers for assisting you in the shower and/or birthing pool
  • Deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Change of clothes
  • Copy of your birth plan
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • List of numbers to call/text when baby arrives
  • Coins for car park or vending machine

READ MORE: 10 most embarrassing birth questions

What to pack for going home

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