Getting ready to give birth is one of the most exciting and suspenseful times in a mum’s life. The waiting can seem endless, especially for first time mamas!
One great way to get yourself prepared for birth and buy some peace of mind is to have a hospital bag checklist handy. It’s a simple way to take stock of all the must-have items for a hospital births, both for you and your new bub.
It’s super useful and practical not just for you but for your partner, birthing partner, or birthing support team too.
You should start to get your hospital bag together by the time you’re around 36 weeks pregnant. To ensure you’re well prepared, download our free hospital bag checklist. (Bonus: It was created by a mum for today’s modern mum’s needs).
You can have it printed out and put on the fridge, and sent to the people who are going to be a part of your birth! Download your hospital bag checklist here.
Even if you’re not planning a hospital birth, it’s still a good idea to have a hospital bag planned and packed in the event that you have to go in unexpectedly.
Your list should contain the essentials you’ll need for yourself, your baby, and your support team for both before and after the birth. Made to keep both mum and baby happy and comfortable!
- Positive birthing affirmations: Print them out and have them ready to read when you need your motivation and inspiration to push through! You might also like to make a playlist of a similar nature to have going during your labour – we love hypnobirthing playlists like Beautiful Birth and Surge of the Sea from Hypnobirthing Australia.
- Hair brush: Don’t forget your simple toiletries like this for your hospital stay.
- Aromatherapy oils: These are a great way to keep yourself calm and centred. These might be massage oils or essential oils with a diffuser to place in your room. Lavender is always a great relaxation scent – we love the Lavender Peace and Grounding blends by Doeterra!
- Extra soft toilet paper: This is a practical item for after birth that first time mums might not think of! Your body is going to be feeling sore and sensitive after birth, so you’ll need extra gentle products for your body.
- Breastfeeding-friendly tops, wraps and bras: You’ll want to start breastfeeding as soon as possible, and let me tell you, as a mum of 3, constantly unhooking and taking off tops and bras gets old pretty quickly! That’s why our Gazelle Nursing Sports Bra is specially designed to have extra easy feeding accessibility and provide firm support for the weeks after birth. It even comes with adjustable straps and bands so that you can adjust accordingly as your breast size reduces in size. The Incognito Nursing Sweater also provides easy and discrete access for breastfeeding, as does the Loosley Mama Tank!
- Body wash: Take a good quality body wash to treat yourself and care for your skin after birth. However, avoid anything with fragrances – strong smells can overwhelm your baby sensitive little nose.
- A large loose shirt, sarong, or wrap: You’ll want something comfy to wear over or around your gown when you’re not in the shower. If you’re being induced or if you require antibiotics, you’ll need a canula or IV drip, which can be tricky to work around in regular clothing. The Lenny Rose Woman Tee is designed to be soft, loose, and not restrictive, making it the perfect comfy shirt to throw on over the top.
- Thongs or slip-ons: You’ll want simple shoes that are easy to slip on and off (trust us, fumbling around with shoes during labour is the last thing you’ll want), and which can get wet without being ruined.
- Hair ties, bands, and pins: You’re likely to feel hotter, more sweaty and will definitely want your hair out of your face.
- Lip balm: Again, it’s the little things like keeping your skin and lips hydrated that can make a big difference to your comfort.
- Healthy, energy-boosting snacks: Hospitals aren’t known for their great range of food, so it can be a good idea to bring along some recharge snacks to nibble on. Some good natural and wholesome options are things things like fruit and nut mix, muesli bars, crackers and coconut. Read more about pregnancy & nutrition here!
- Music: You might like to create your own playlist of relaxing or comforting music for your time in hospital. Some labour rooms might already include CD players or docking stations, but check with your hospital first so that you can bring your own speaker if needed.
- Printed copies of your birth plan: Have several copies on hand for your partner to give to the midwives, along with any other documents requested by the hospital. But remember – although it’s great to prepare a birth plan, it’s also important to be flexible with it. The most important part of a birth plan is to know that your wishes are voiced and known by everyone involved. That way, if things need to change along the way, you will be consulted with and understand all of your rights and options.
- Pillow: If you’re particular about your pillows or just want a sense of familiarity, it may be a good idea to bring your own rather than risk a lumpy hospital pillow!
- Moisturiser: We love coconut oil butter as a simple, natural option for moisturiser for you and for your bub if they develop some dry patches. As with your body wash, try to choose something with low or no fragrance for your baby’s sensitive nose.
- Books & entertainment: Having forms of entertainment that can help you pass time as you might need to wait around in the hospital. If you’re after some informative reading to prep for post-baby life, you could start reading up on exercise after birth with this free online guide.
- Eye mask: Hospitals never sleep, but new mums definitely need to. An eye mask can help you get some rest whenever you can, regardless of the hour.
- A “New Baby” book: Bring your own along to start recording details about your new bub while you’re still at hospital. The hospital will give you one to take home, but trust us – it gets out of date quickly by the time you get home!
- Socks: You might not think it, but your feet can actually get chilly during labour in the hospital.
- Glasses or contacts: If you wear them, arriving at hospital without them will be a real pain! Keep in mind that your glasses might fog up when you’re in the throes of labour. Also, it’s important to note that you will need to take any contact lenses out if you’re going to have a cesarean.
- Heat packs: Most hospitals would have some heat packs available, but you might want to consider bringing your own. Just make sure there’s a microwave there for your birth partner to heat it up for you.
- Medicare or Health Insurance card: Depending on whether you’ve gone public or private with your hospital arrangements, you’ll need to bring either your Medicare care or private health insurance card.
- Plastic bags: Always handy to bundle up any dirty clothes destined for the laundry.
- Drinks: The hospital might provide water and juice, but we would encourage bringing some of your favourite beverages like coconut water to keep hydrated. If you’re having a c-section, check with your healthcare team when you’ll need to stop drinking fluids before your anaesthetic.
- Maternity pads: The hospital will provide you with some to absorb the blood after you’ve given birth. We recommend and love tooshies by TOM – They are organic, Australian brand with no nasties for your newborn’s delicate skin. Remember to also stock up on heavy-flow pads at home for when you leave!
- Breast pump: The hospital will give you a pump for the time that you’re there, but if you’re planning on pumping at home then it’s a good idea to have your own on hand for your meeting with the lactation specialist.
- A cooler bag: You can use it to store any breast milk you pump while in hospital.
If You’re Having a C-Section:
- Soft, high-waisted underwear: You’ll need underwear that won’t press on or cut into your incision. Something soft, comfortable, and made of breathable fabrics like cotton. Keep in mind that your body isn’t going to “bounce back” after you give birth, so you’ll need to bring items suitable your postpartum & healing body.
- Comfortable clothing: If you don’t want to have to wear a hospital gown during recovery, you’ll need to wear items that won’t sit uncomfortably over your incision. Think loose, high-waisted pants or a floaty dress.
- Light compression wear/recovery garment: Choose items that will support your body, protect the incision and still hold everything in place. Our Hi Mamma Leggings are designed with an extra low-front seam which makes this leggings ultra comfortable for your recovering body without interfering with your incision.
- Stool softener: Constipation is a common occurrence for women who’ve just had a c-section. The hospital will be able to give you something for it, but if you have a tried-and-true product that you know works for you, pack it in your bag! Just make sure that you check with your doctor or midwife before taking anything.
For Your Baby
A lot of hospitals will send your baby home with nappies, onesies and blankets after birth. Make sure to check this with your hospital to avoid doubling up!
- Newborn-sized nappies, wipes and blankets: Pack these in your bag if your hospital won’t be providing them, or if you have a particular brand that you love. At Lenny Rose, we love Tooshies by TOM – an organic Australian brand with no chemicals or hidden nasties for your newborn’s delicate skin.
- Onesies, singlets and socks: Pick some nice warm clothes for your little bub, and pack four of each.
- Baby moisturiser: Make sure you always test any product for allergies before using it on your baby. Organic coconut oil is our pick for new bubs! You usually won’t need to use any other baby toiletries at this stage; in the early days, just water is enough for newborns’ sensitive skin.
- Going-home outfit: Consider what the weather will be like around your due date and pack accordingly. Bring something snuggly and warm for your bub during the cooler months, or a lighter outfit if you’ll be giving birth through summer.
- Mittens: Not only will they keep your little one warm, they’ll stop them from scratching their soft face with their little fingernails!
- Muslin face washer: Muslin is a great fabric for washing and wiping newborns. Washers like this are soft, absorbent and light – perfect for cleaning babies’ little folds and creases!
- Spray bottle or fan: Labour is hot work, so it’s a good idea to bring along something to help cool down the mum-to-be.
- Comfortable shoes: Labour lengths can be unpredictable, and there’s likely to be plenty of standing, pacing, and running around!
- A change of clothes: If labour continues overnight, you won’t want to miss anything by going home to change.
- Phone with timer: Most smartphones come with a timer but just incase, double check again!
- Video camera or phone: If you’re planning on recording or photographing the birth, you may want to bring a video camera. However, make sure you check with the hospital before you do any filming, as not all of them will allow filming in delivery or operating rooms.
- A phone charger: There’s nothing worse than a flat phone when you’re trying to keep everyone updated about the birth or taking pictures of this wonderful experience!
- Snacks and drinks: Labours can be long and exhausting for everyone involved, and vending machine food gets old pretty quickly. Pack some energising snacks and drinks to take to the hospital for you, mum and the support team!
- Cash and credit card: You’ll need change for vending machines and parking, and a card for any other expenses that might pop up. Always be ready!
- Required paperwork: Check with your hospital or birth centre in advance to find out what paperwork or Health records you’ll need to bring. It’s always a good idea to bring multiple copies if possible!
- Medicare or Health Insurance card: You’ll need to make sure you bring the appropriate card with you to make your admission as smooth as possible.
- Anything to help you relax: This might be a nice pillow, a book, photos, or essential oils. Labours can be long and stressful. The more calm and rested you are, the better you’ll be able to support your partner throughout the journey.
- Photos of your other children: This can be a comforting touch for you and your partner through the labour, and reassurance for the kids when they come to visit!
- Gifts for older siblings: Some parents like to bring gifts to “give” to older children from the baby, such as toys or a “big brother/big sister” shirt. The make memorable pictures!
- A folder or envelope: You’ll be accumulating plenty of receipts and other records on baby care and postpartum health, as well as bringing notes and forms to the hospital. It’s a good idea to keep everything in one place!
For the Support Team
- A change of clothes: If you choose to stay overnight, some fresh clothes will make a world of difference!
- Snacks and drinks: Arm yourself with the healthy energy-boosting boosts you’ll need to get through what could be a looong haul. A thermos of hot water for tea and coffee is always handy!
- Phone charger: You’d hate to have a dead phone just as it’s time to send out the news!
- Video camera or phone: If you’re planning to take pictures and videos of the birth, remember this one. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Don’t forget to pack batteries or a charger too!
- Entertainment: Remember to bring some form of entertainment to help you relax and pass the time, such as music, books, magazines, ipads with movies
- Cash and credit cards: This is an easy one to forget given how cashless we expect things to be these days. Remember to bring both cash and credit cards for parking and snacks.
So there you have it – your must-have hospital bag checklist.
It might sound like a lot, but that’s why it’s so worthwhile getting an early start on your hospital bag packing!
Download this hospital bag checklist and print it out for yourself and everyone who’s going to be a part of your birth.
Having your bub is such an incredible and special experience. That’s why we created a hospital bag checklist for modern mamas so that you’re fully prepared and can enjoy every second of it! Print out your copy now.