Your Hospital Bag Checklist | Packing for Labour & Birth


The time has arrived to pack all the essentials you and your baby will need during labour and after birth. Try to aim to have your bag packed and kept somewhere easy to grab close to the door by the time you're 36 weeks pregnant.

Hospitals tend to be short on a number of key items including pillows, so it might be worth taking along some of your own from home. If it seems like a lot, consider packing three bags to keep everything separate and easily accessible.

You could pack one for labour, one for your birth partner, and one for postnatal, leaving one in the boot of the car until you need it. Otherwise, consider investing in a big, heavy-duty maternity bag to keep all your essentials in one place.

What to Pack for Labour
  • Birth plan and maternity notes
  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers
  • Spare Socks
  • Old nightie
  • Massage oil
  • Lip balm
  • Face cloth
  • Refreshments
  • Books & Magazines
  • Handheld fan
  • Hairbands or hair ties
  • TENS machine (if planning to use)
  • Music

A dressing gown will come in useful if you end up walking the corridors in early labour, and you'll likely also need it on the postnatal ward. Slippers are another essential, especially the backless or slip-on kinds. 

When it comes to what you'll wear during labour, go for something comfortable that you don't mind getting messy that can be thrown away afterwards. So, don't go grabbing your favourite nightdress or expensive PJs! It's common to experience dry lips during labour, particularly if you use gas & air. For this reason, it's always handy to pack some lip balm, as well as some refreshments to keep you going. Labour can be a long slog, so sipping isotonic drinks and taking a few glucose tablets as you go can help give you a much-needed energy boost along the way if your appetite takes a dip.

What to Pack in Your Birth Partner's Bag
  • Comfy shoes
  • Change of clothes
  • Bendy straws
  • Swimwear
  • Mobile phone & charger
  • Camera
  • Snacks & drinks

Your birth partner may end up pacing the corridors with you, so a pair of comfy shoes won't go amiss! Since you never know how long you'll end up being at the hospital for, packing a change of clothes for your partner to change into so they can freshen up is always a good idea. If you've opted for a water birth, include swimwear in case they decide to jump in the tub with you! 

Things like a mobile phone, chargers, and a camera are often a given. Bendy straws, not so much! They are great to have in your labour bag for when you need help hydrating in awkward positions. This way, your partner get just put the straw to your mouth while you sip away.

What to Pack for the Postnatal Ward
  • Going home outfit
  • x2 Nursing bras 
  • Breast pads
  • Maternity pads
  • Nightie
  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • Hairbrush
  • Comfortable underwear
  • Eye mask & earplugs

Make sure you pack a loose, comfy outfit to go home in, as well as breathable cotton underwear. Ensure you have plenty of maternity pads to hand, along with a front opening nightie for feeding your little one. Maternity wards can be noisy places, so an eye mask and earplugs will serve you well here.

What to Pack for Your Baby
  • Outfit for straight after birth
  • x3 Sleepsuits
  • x3 Vests
  • Lightweight Swaddle Blanket
  • Nappies
  • Burp clothes or muslins
  • x3 Hats
  • Mittens
  • Cotton wool
  • Home outfit
  • Jacket or Snowsuit
  • Car seat

When choosing your baby's outfit for straight after birth, make sure it includes a vest, sleepsuit, hat and mittens. This outfit will likely get mucky so don’t pick your favourite. You'll want to pack a swaddling blanket to bundle your little one up and keep them warm. Our lightweight organic knitted cellular blankets are perfect for this.

If you're bringing your little one home during the winter months, be sure to have a cosy jacket or snowsuit prepped for them. Also, ensure you have a car seat ready for when you bring your little one home, as some hospitals won’t let you leave without one.