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Your essential hospital bag checklist - for mother, baby, labour & recovery

Packing your hospital bag is one of the most exciting pregnancy tasks because it means your edging closer to your due date and things are getting a little more 'real'. that being said, it can feel a little overwhelming at times, are you packing the right things, do you have enough, have you overpacked? 

I thought I overpacked (naturally I'm a 'just incase' kind of packer), but actually with a 2 day induction and a 1 night stay, believe it or not I wished i'd added a few extra things.    

When I searched for 'hospital checklists' they all felt very generic and a little outdated at times too, of course they can give you the basics but I thought I would put together my ultimate packing list.

Something to remember is that every birth is different and i'm not saying you will need all of these things, there's items in my bag that I didn't use at all because of the way my birth went. 

I knew I was being induced so I wish I had switched out a few things before we left for the hospital for example the pieces I packed for my dream water birth (bikini, battery powered candle lights etc)


Comfortable PJ’s/loungewear (if you know you’re being induced I would take 2 pairs!)

Something to give birth in – a nightgown/night shirt

2 x Comfortable underwear 

A dressing gown 

Cosy socks 


Water bottle 

Lavender Oil /Massage Oils

Wash bag (I packed a labour bag and recovery one to make it easier to find what. I needed)

Lip Balm

Hair Ties


Hand sanitiser

Maternity pillow

Energy drinks – the midwives sent my husband out to get still Lucozade, if you’re being induced you can’t eat so this was a great shout

Snacks – I packed far too many ha, I would say pack one snack option and send your birthing partner out for more if needed.  



Maternity pads – realistically you probably need one pack for the hospital and other few at home,

4 x Comfortable black high waisted underwear (great for if you had a c section)

Comfortable pjs (I would suggest 2 – remember you will be in them all day and night too if you stay over. If breastfeeding I would suggest a shirt so you can easily unbutton)

2 x Nursing vests or bra’s if planning to breastfeed


Flip flops

Breast pads for leaking, I highly recommend the re-useable ones as I found throwaway ones rather itchy.

A bag for dirty clothes

Eye mask to sleep in case you stay overnight

Wash bag (for recovery)

Shower gel (although I didn’t shower because I didn’t have the energy after I lost a lot of blood during my C-section)

Shampoo & conditioner


Toothbrush & toothpaste

Face cream

Going home clothes– comfortable, baggy and dark – I packed this into a clear bag and clearly labelled.



Changing bag with a changing mat (you don’t want to get meconium on your bed sheets – especially if your in for a few nights!) nappies, wipes, nappy sacks and soft wash cloths to dry baby after changes ( I would pack 6 of each in both size 0 & 1)

Muslin swaddle

4 x muslin cloths

2 x hats (one might get covered in blood)

3 x Bodysuits in both newborn & 0-3 (summer babies might not need these!)

3 x Sleepsuits in both newborn & 0-3 months

1 pair of socks – you won’t really need these as sleepsuits cover the feet but you could layer if it’s winter.

Scratch mittens if your sleepsuits don’t have them included on the arms

Going home outfit

Cardigan to travel home with (you won’t need a pramsuit for the car so a cardigan and blankets are best!)


General things:

Prepare a playlist for labour/birth

Phone charger

Camera (make sure it’s fully charged)


Things I packed but didn’t end up using:

Newborn outfits & size 0 nappies -  my baby was too big for them!

Nipple cream – if you plan on breastfeeding your short stay is the best place to get support, ask as much as you can/need to. If the baby latches well from the start you won’t need nipple cream throughout your journey (I’ve never had to use it!)

Colostrum – I worked hard for a week to get enough colostrum harvested and stored in my freezer, but I didn’t need it in the end so it went to waste. 

Cooling spray for labour – I packed this and completely forgot about it during my long labour

Bikini top / vest for the birthing pool – I packed both as I didn’t know which one I wanted to use but ended up not being allowed to use the birthing pool due to my induction.

Battery powered candle lights for the birth pool I never used 

Spritz your bits spray – never used because I had a C-section

A book – at the start of labour I was just too excited to read and of course once you hit a certain point you won’t read either, I even thought that after birth I might want to read (I also took my ipad full of movies) but I spent my 31 hours post labour just stared at my new baby

Milk – I had always planned on breastfeeding but read that you should take ready-made milk just incase, I didn’t use it in the end and so 3 bottles went to waste.

If you do plan on bottle feeding I would advise you to talk to your midwife in regards to how much you need to take in.

Due to covid my husband was sent home 3 hours after the birth and couldn’t’ return until we were ready to leave the hospital, however he did drop off some extra things for me which I wish I’d packed in an ‘emergency’ bag at home. This included a few more vests and babygrow’s because Otto didn’t fit in the smallest ones, another pair of Pjs for me, some extra knickers and a few more snacks and Lucozade.

Also, if you have a C-section you are advised to wear compression socks for 6 weeks, after wearing mine for 3 days (they only give you 1 pair), I had sent my husband to buy 2 more pairs before I came home so they could be washed on rotation.

Pin, screenshot or print our list here to help you pack your hospital bag! 


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