I wrote this hospital bag checklist specifically for my friends who are pregnant or are soon-to-be mothers. You see my friends, there are two things that you should know about me: (1) I'm a true believer in prepping and planning (just because I say believer, doesn't always translate into reality!), and (2) I love a good list. While I appreciate that it's hard to know what to pack — especially if you're feeling nervous and anxious (and let's face it, pretty normal in the later stages of pregnancy!) — writing down everything that you will need will help to take the pressure off.
I've got a handy printable checklist below, including essential items for both you and bub, but as a general guide for bubs, you'll want to make sure they have their own onesies (we recommend bringing two or three), mittens, socks and a cosy blanket to snuggle up in once they're born. And for you my queen, I recommend comfy pyjamas (or a robe/old cotton comfy clothes), slippers and large black underwear.
During labour, snacks are essential—have some of your fav snacks ready, whether that be nuts, chips, choccies or whatever floats your boat. And don't forget your water bottle. Choccies and my water bottle were probably my most essential items! Can't begin to tell you how thirsty labour made me (may just be me though!).
Hospital bag checklist for mum and baby
What to pack for mum:
- Two pairs of loose-fitting comfy, breathable cotton or bamboo pyjamas.
- At least 6 pairs of big black underwear that can be used during labour and after the baby is born.
- A robe or dressing gown
- A pair of your favourite slippers or thongs (thongs can also be useful to have if you're planning on taking a shower during labour or right after the birth).
- 2 x maternity bras or singlets, even if you're planning on bottle feeding
- Comfy, thick, fluffy socks if it's colder weather
- Loose, comfy clothes to wear home (think yoga pants and a soft oversized T-shirt). I think I actually went home in my nightie and robe - this is very much 'whatever you want' territory
- Lip balm (VERY important as your lips tend to get dry during labour!)
- Hair brush
- Hair elastics/hair clip
- Facial cleanser
- Facial moisturiser
- A nice smelling soap or body wash - I always like to use this after giving birth in the shower
- If you want to wash your hair at the hospital, feel free to BYO shampoo/conditioner
- I usually get a blowave before going to the hospital (I think I start getting weekly blowaves around 3 weeks before baby's due and get one weekly until it's hospital time!), but do what's best for your hair (do you really need to bring a hair dryer/straightener? These are quite bulky so think about a headband or scrunchie that you can use instead)
- Deodorant (personal fav that I HAVE to mention in case you haven't tried them. I love the all-natural deodorant pastes like the Black Chicken Axilla. Life changer for me. And no drying time!)
- Any makeup you like - I usually feel a bit more human with a touch of mineral powder foundation, blush and my fav lipstick
- Hand cream
- Maternity pads
- Heat pack or hot water bottle for your back - optional (I found this VERY comforting during labour)
- Cooling ice packs to line your underwear for after giving birth - some hospitals will provide this
- Favourite book/magazines
- Glasses or contacts (and contact solution) if needed
- Any medications you're on
- Purse/ID/health insurance details etc.
- Phone & charger
- A suitcase or overnight bag to pop everything in
- A plastic bag for any wet/dirty clothes
- Snacks! You'll be hungry when all this baby-having business is done (actually I was really snacky during labour), so pack some snacks that are easy to eat if you're sitting up with a newborn or battling contractions. Consider energy bars, trail mix, fruit, chocolate… whatever is easy to pack and eat.
- A water bottle! Hospital food isn't always stellar, so make sure you have access to plenty of water (or juice). You won't regret it later on down the road when you're trying not to pass out from dehydration!
- Breast pump - optional (your milk doesn't come in for a few days)
- Plastic pocket or document wallet - this is only optional but the hospital tends to give you bits of paper for this and that, so this is just a way to keep it all together!
What to pack for baby
This is going to be dependent on the weather at the time, but this should give you an idea of what to bring.
Have the car fitted with a baby car seat of course
At least two pairs of stretchy socks for baby
2 baby hats
2 pairs baby mittens (I forgot to bring mittens when my second son was born, and ended up having to use socks on his hands! Not ideal and I look back on the photo and have a little chuckle every time!)
At least 4 bodysuits (size 00000 if you think your baby will be tiny (under ~3kg) or 0000 is standard newborn sizing) - singlet/short sleeve or long sleeve will be weather-dependent.
4 onesies/rompers - long sleeve generally unless very hot weather (babies generally need one extra layer than adults)
One nice outfit for newborn baby photos (some like to do a matching outfit/hat/swaddle/announcement board)
2 baby swaddles
1 baby blanket
12 newborn nappies (hospitals may provide this, but I found that having them on hand was more convenient)
Baby body wash (natural) - optional. Some nurses advise not to bathe babies for several days, so this is up to you.
Dummy - optional
Sanitised bottles if bottle feeding
Any baby announcement accessories such as a sign or plaque