Packing a Hospital Bag

Packing A Hospital Bag

Whether you’re birthing at a government hospital or a luxury, private, home birthing centre, the question can sometimes still remain; “What do I pack in my hospital bag?”

Packing your hospital bag can be confusing, frustrating and even exhausting. Some women pack their bags overnight with little effort and much excitement, while other women can pack their hospital bags for days or weeks on end. Regardless of how you pack your hospital bag, the point is that so often, after the birth, women find that they have either packed too little, forgotten something, or packed too much.

Having had 2 births of my own and attending births as a doula, I find that the below items are the most necessary/needed/used items for your hospital bag. I’ve compiled a simple list to help:

For Baby:

  • 1x Delivery blanket/towel (to cover baby immediately after birth).
  • Baby outfits – 1x per 24 hour stay (including hat and socks for each). If you plan on doing exclusive skin-to-skin and breastfeeding on demand, then you may only need an outfit for the travel home, dependent on your preferences.
  • 1-2x Post delivery blankets (thin)
  • 1x Post delivery blanket (thick)
  • 1x Pack of diapers, wipes, bum cream/petroleum jelly/castor oil, umbilical agent, cotton wool (you can exclude this for private centres which may provide a gift bag with all the necessities; it is advised that you ask your birthing facility about these benefits).
  • Baby towel, wash and cream/natural oil like grapeseed (may be excluded for facilities or families that do not practice bathing of baby/wiping of vernix, or if you plan to avoid bathing your baby until you get home).
  • Car chair

For Mom:

  • Maternity panties – 1x per 12-24 hour stay (you may pack extra to guard against soiling).
  • 1-2x Packets of maternity pads or maternity diapers (may be excluded for private centres which may provide a gift bag with all the necessities; it is advised that you ask your birthing facility about these benefits).
  • Loose, comfy sleepwear – 1x per 24 hour stay. You may want to consider a button-up top for breastfeeding. You can also pack only one outfit for the travel home if you plan on remaining naked/topless for exclusive skin-to-skin, co-sleeping and breastfeeding.
  • Socks – 1x per 24 hour stay.
  • Maternity bras – 1x per 24 hour stay (if necessary or preferred).
  • 5x Pairs of breast pads (in case of extended stay due to cesarean or complication).
  • Pair of slippers
  • Robe (if necessary). This is perfect if you’re keeping baby naked in a diaper for exclusive skin-to-skin and breastfeeding as you can use it to wrap your baby against you and keep both of you warm while you’re topless underneath.
  • Departure/discharge outfit & shoes
  • Hair band and/or hair clip and/or head band (useful to keep your hair out of the way during labour and breastfeeding).
  • Hair brush
  • Toiletries
  • Towel (may be excluded for private centres that provide this).
  • Comfort/familiar item for labour (if necessary).

For Dad / Birth Partner:

Dads and birth partners are quite simple and their bags are generally the smallest and therefore they end up carrying all the additional items as well.

Birth partners may want to consider using a back pack for themselves if each person plans on having their own bag; this way, their bag can be carried on their back effortlessly while holding mom’s and baby’s bags in one/each of his hands (depending on the mother’s ability to walk herself into the birthing facility if in labour).

The below list is mostly for those who are able to stay over (such as home birthing centres).

  • Clothes and/or sleepwear – 1x per 24 hour stay (incl. shoes, socks, underwear).
  • Toiletries
  • Towel (may be excluded for private centres that provide this).
  • Pair of slippers
  • Robe (if necessary)


  • Any/all important documents (if necessary).
  • Snacks (including electrolyte/sports drinks, bottled water, low G.I. health snacks, dates or date balls/treats for quick energy boosts during transitional labour, and any specifics that the facility may not provide; these are all best for during labour and in between served meals).
  • Mobile and electronic devices, and chargers
  • Multi-plug connection
  • Cash/money (just in case)
  • Any additional comfort items you feel may be necessary (e.g. pillows, blankets, hot/cold compresses, candles, music, pictures, flowers/petals, etc.)

Some government facilities may require you to include the following:

  • Linen Savers
  • Adult body cleansing wipes
  • Natural mosquito repellent (baby safe)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cup, spoon, bowl, etc.
  • Linen (blanket, pillow, sheet)
  • Toilet paper
  • Towels

♥   ♥   ♥

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