The ultimate hospital bag checklist

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Must-have items to pack to make your hospital stay that bit more comfortable – this is the ultimate hospital bag checklist.

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Like most things I attempted as a first-time mum, I got my hospital bag checklist very wrong. How can you get it wrong, you ask? Well, for anyone who isn't a moron, you probably can't. But as much as I was excited to pack for my new arrival, I really just ended up confused and then packing a whole load of crap I didn't need and little of what I actually did. 


So this time around I have, wait for it, made a list – HURRAH! And while I'm sure the rest of you non-morons have already thought of this ingenious idea, I thought I'd share my list, based on my experience first time around (i.e. getting it completely wrong). Things are pretty different this time around too, what with coronavirus affecting maternity units in hospital, which is something I will be very much accounting for when packing this time around.  


For a start I am going to take not one, but two bags to hospital this time. I know, right, check me out. One for me, one for baby (don't miss my pick of the best changing bags if you're still on the hunt for one). And here's what I'll be packing in each...


Hospital bag checklist: For Mum


  • Pregnancy notes and birthing plan One of the first things a midwife is going to want to see, besides mum, is pregnancy notes and a birthing plan, should the latter exist. Of anything, your notes are absolutely the last thing you want to have forgotten when arriving at hospital.

  • Face masks – So this is something I definitely did not have to pack with Rex, but now have a collection of waiting to be packed. With Covid-19 still affecting so many areas of our lives, face masks will no doubt be a must in hospital, for me and Chris, when this little lady arrives. 

  • Big pants: Lots and lots of big, comfortable pants that can fit in a surfboard-style sanitary towel should they need to. 

  • Chill package: Labour can be a long process and if it starts slowly, you might want some bits to keep yourself entertained. A tablet with some shows you enjoy downloaded, headphones, magazine, playlist or podcasts, maybe?

  • Snacks Another thing Covid-19 is affecting. At the time of writing, where I live, partners are not allowed to leave and then return to hospital anytime during labour, so when packing snacks for both you and your birthing partner, I'm thinking it's best to go big. This time round I'm going all out with some of my favourite snacks, which includes Monster Munch, red apples, dark chocolate with orange and/or mint and chocolate covered raisins.

  • Hairbands: An item that I overlooked last time but an absolute must-have. In my rush to get to hospital, I forgot a hairband and had to send Eamo on a hunt for one. Nothing worse than hair matted to your face mid-labour.  

  • Lipbalm: Another often overlooked item, be sure to pack your favourite lipbalm. Hospital air is generally dry as a badger's ass, so keep hydrated and a good layer of lipbalm to help stay comfortable.  

  • Dressing gown: For those times you need to nip to the loo or just want to feel more comfy in hospital. Best to avoid white designs, darker colours are much better at disguising the bodily fluid stains that it will almost certainly be covered in (by you and/or baby). 

  • Nursing bra and pads: If you're planning to breastfeed, you'll need some nursing bras for easy access feeding, as well as some breast pads to catch any leakages. 

  • Slippers: Again, if you're going to be moving about, you're going to want something on your feet. Backless slippers, with a good grip, are a good option as they are super easy to get on and off and reduce the risk of slips on often recently mopped hospital floors.

  • Dirty clothes bag: Dull but a must-have when you consider all the bodily fluids that yours and baby's clothes will probably be covered in. 

  • Wash bag: Shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, you know, the usual items to ensure you don't end up looking and smelling like Stig of the Dump.

  • Phone charger: While your phone will no doubt be the last thing on your mind, having a charger to be able to stay in touch with family and friends when you want to is just one less thing to worry about.


Hospital bag checklist: For Baby


  • Baby grows/Sleepsuits: Ok, so this might seem obvious, but when I had Rex, I literally packed three baby grows, all size 0-3 months. They were way too big and he went through two of them in the first day. We were in hospital for five days, so, again, Eamo had to head out to get him some more. This time around I have around six sleepsuits in a three different sizes. 

  • Nappies: Again, a no-brainer but a must-have. 

  • Muslins and blankets: Swaddle blankets are great to wrap babies up in hospital. And lots of muslins to catch whatever bodily fluid baby feels like throwing your way. 

  • Scratch mittens and hat: Despite being tiny, Rex had razor sharp nails when he was born and, being so little, no way was I going to attempt to cut them so soon. Scratch mitts worked a treat at keeping his little razors under wraps. 

  • Cotton wool balls or pads: For nappy changes and general cleaning in the first few days. 

  • Going home outfit: The best bit. A dedicated outfit to dress your new arrival in for the day they head home. 


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