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What should I pack in my hospital bag?

Everything you need to know

What should I pack in my hospital bag

Choosing what to put in your hospital bag and packing it ready for the maternity ward is one of the most exciting parts of late pregnancy.

At a glance

  • Write a check-list so you can tick it off as you pack
  • Pop in some personal bits too like an ipod or magazine
  • Don't forget snacks and a carton of drink too.


It’s a good idea to have a hospital bag packed by week 35 and either have it in the car you’ll be travelling to the hospital in, or in the hallway ready to grab on your way out!

Writing the check-list for your hospital bag, working out what essentials you’ll need for yourself and your newborn, and then finally packing it all up really does bring it home just how close you are to holding your baby for the first time!

What should I use for a hospital bag?

Your hospital bag should be whatever works best for you – a holdall, cabin bag, rucksack or small suitcase. Something that is easy to see in to and find stuff in (for those inevitable 'can you get me my lip balm, darling' moments when all your partner can locate is body spray and a single baby sock).

There are even companies who sell pre-made up hospital bags – but we reckon half the fun is packing it up yourself – and choosing exactly what you want to go in it.

What should I pack for me?

So what do you need to pack? As well as the items on our check-list below, you will probably want to add in some personal bits and bobs too – your camera (and spare batteries), iPod, phone and chargers, change for pay phones, books and magazines and perhaps a list of phone numbers for friends and family if your partner does not necessarily have all of them stored on his phone.

  • Your birth plan and hospital notes
  • Clothes – An old nightdress for labour, this will likely get messy so don’t buy anything new or special for hospital. Nightwear, including a dressing gown and slippers, and going home clothes which should be loose fitting and comfortable.
  • Nursing bras – pack two or three comfortable bras
  • Breast pads
  • Maternity pads and lots of spare knickers (disposable ones are particularly helpful too!)
  • Toiletries and a towel – just the basics including toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, flannel and shower stuff
  • Make up 
  • Lip balm
  • Hairbrush and ties/clips for long hair – this can be especially helpful during labour when you’re likely to get very hot
  • Snacks/cartons of drink
  • TENS machine – if you plan to use one for pain relief

Don't forget to get prepared for your Bounty Portrait session by packing a few more pieces...

Bounty Portrait offers FREE in-hospital portrait sessions of your precious little one with no obligation to buy. You’ll also get a FREE portrait gift – choose from one of three different gifts and a FREE announcement service to share your first photos with loved ones

For that perfect Portrait session don’t forget to pack

  • A soft cuddly toy – this makes a great photo prop
  • A blanket – whether it’s been knitted specially or bought. Adding this to a picture makes a great photo keepsake
  • A plain top for you if you want to be in the photos
  • That special ‘first’ baby outfit. 

What should my birth partner pack?

As well as all the items you might need for the birth, your birth partner will require a few things:

  • Clothes – Depending on how long labour goes on for your birth partner could be with you a while without access to a shower
  • Fan or spray – a hand-held fan or bottle of water spray can help them cool you down during labour
  • Electronics – a mobile phone (useful for the stopwatch and updating family and friends), charger and digital camera to capture the first moments with your baby
  • Food and drink – bringing some food and drink will allow them to stay well fed and hydrated meaning they will spend less time away from you

What should I pack for the baby?

  • Nappies – A newborn baby will poo a lot! You’ll go through plenty in the first few days
  • Cotton wool balls - For cleaning baby during a nappy change (baby wipes are not recommended until 2-4 weeks after birth)
  • Bodysuits/baby vests
  • Babygrows/sleepsuits
  • Scratch mittens
  • Socks or booties
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Baby blanket – The hospital will likely be warm but you might want to wrap them up when leaving to go outside for the first time
  • Car seat - Although strictly this isn’t packed but do make sure it’s in the car!

For choosing the perfect baby blanket or first cuddly toy to take with you into hospital, take a look at our luxury, hand-picked items to choose from at Bounty Boutique

Once you’ve got your hospital bag packed, it’s a good idea to put it in the car, or leave it by the front door ready to grab when the time arrives. Remember, if you’re using your own car, make sure you always have enough petrol to get you to the hospital and if you’re getting a lift from someone, it’s a good idea to have a backup in place in case they’re unavailable.

Now might also be a good time to find out what the signs of labour  are so you’re ready to go when it’s the real thing!

At a glance

  • Write a check-list so you can tick it off as you pack
  • Pop in some personal bits too like an ipod or magazine
  • Don't forget snacks and a carton of drink too.
It's your bag, so take as much (or as little) as you want! And any old bag will do, too

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