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What to pack for labour and hospital—a checklist

Pregnant woman packing bag for labour and birthAre you unsure about what to pack in your hospital bag? Do you need to pack nappies? What clothes will the baby need? Will you want anything specific for when you’re in labour?

Firstly, check with your hospital. Some may provide things like nappies and wipes, but many don’t. They may have a birth ball in all of the birth suites—but if they don’t you might want to bring your own. Each hospital should have a suggested list of what to pack, so make sure you ask about this.

Other than that, the best thing is to ask other mums what they packed and what helped them through labour. We’ve asked our Bub Hub forum members to help create this suggested hospital packing list for labour, mum and baby.

You can also consider keeping some additional supplies in a handy bag at home for your partner or family to bring in after the birth rather than trying to lug a really heavy bag in with you while you are in labour!

What to pack for labour and hospital—a checklist

What to pack for Labour

  • Hospital paperwork—registration card/health record or similar
  • ID, Medicare card and/or health insurance card
  • Birth Plan
  • Lip balm
  • Hair bands
  • Water bottle
  • Phone/charger/camera
  • Snacks, drinks and spare clothes/swimmers for your support person—for water birth or shower
  • Lollies, snack, sports drink for an energy boost
  • Thongs or slip-on shoes
  • Music playlist plus headphones or speaker
  • Heat pack
  • Comfortable clothes (baggy dress/shirt/singlet)
  • Stress balls
  • Massage oil/essential oils
  • Spare change/cash/card
  • TENS Machine (optional)

What to pack for a hospital stay—Mum

  • Mini shampoo and conditioner or dry shampoo
  • Soap/body wash
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush and hair ties
  • Moisturiser
  • Maternity pads
  • Cheap pack of black undies/men’s undies (high-rise in case you end up having an emergency caesarean)
  • Breast pads
  • Comfortable clothes with easy access for breastfeeding
  • Nice clothes to wear home/wear in photos
  • Pyjamas/nighties with easy access for breastfeeding
  • Maternity bras
  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers
  • Ear plugs/eye mask
  • Snacks/lollies/chocolate/fruit drink/muesli bars (or anything you’ve been craving during pregnancy but couldn’t eat)
  • Cash/card
  • Plastic bags for dirty clothes (for you and bub)

For Caesareans specifically

  • Big underwear “granny undies” that don’t sit on your wound
  • Sanitary pads—good to put over the wound as padding
  • Tights that you can lift above the wound
  • Comfy dresses—won’t irritate wound
  • Comfort food—whatever makes you feel good
  • Wipes/Sanitiser/Mouthwash—if you want to freshen up your mouth but can’t get out of bed yet

What to pack for a hospital stay—baby

Check what your hospital provides before you pack for baby and pack at least three of each type of clothing for each night you anticipate staying in hospital.

  • Nappies (a minimum of 8-10 a day)
  • Singlets
  • Onesies— in at least two sizes! Take some 0000 clothes and some 000 even a 00000 if you like, that way whatever size bub is they will have something to wear
  • Socks
  • Burping cloth
  • Nice going-home outfit for baby
  • Muslin wrap/swaddle
  • Nappy rash cream
  • Wipes

Hospital bag packing tips from our forum members

“The best thing I had, which I thought was stupid but my Mum insisted on getting me, was men’s undies. They were so much more comfy than ladies when you have those horrible pads to wear and if you get stiches there is enough room in them for the icepack to sooth your privates.”

“Take a spray bottle—good for spraying your bits when you wee as it diluted the urine and makes it sting less!”

“I found ear plugs were great! The nurses took bub during the night for me (after five days of labour I was exhausted!) and the ear plugs allowed me to sleep.”

“My own pillow. My own pillow made me feel like I was more at home.”

“My mum bought me in my nail kit so I could repaint and file my toe and fingernails … and also my facial mask. I felt a million bucks after doing this!”

“A tennis ball. Best advice I got was to take one for my husband to roll around my back during labour, saved his hand getting sore!”

“I took lovely smelling bathroom products purchased JUST for this occasion to make me feel special afterwards. Like shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, perfume, lip balm, soap. Now whenever I use the same brand, it makes me think of that special time.”

“Dry shampoo. (You may end up with a c-section or be bed ridden after a vaginal birth gone wrong. Both of these mean you can at least freshen up from your bed.)”

“Pack a nappy bag like you would to go out, who knows what will happen on the drive home. DON’T FORGET!!

REMEMBER: Your baby MUST travel home in a suitable infant car seat or capsule. You can buy or hire a baby capsule but make sure you have it correctly installed into your car with plenty of time.

A massive thanks to Bub Hub forum members ilovelucy, bingo, meeka2k, mybump2010, MummysYellowCar, MyFourCubs, elleandsam, and all our wonderful Facebook followers who shared their best tips with us!


Print our Hospital Bag Checklist PDF›

We’ve made a simple checklist so you can pack your hospital bag with ease.

About Bub Hub

Our Bub Hub team is in the thick of the sleep deprivation, tantrums and unconditional love that comes with parenting. Plus, with the support of Mater, we have unvetted access to the minds of Australia’s leading ...

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4 Comments so far -
  • Carloscontrol says:

    Bendy straws – breathing so hard but can’t sit up to get a drink. So simple, but so handy! Also lip balm – lips are chapped from breathing through your mouth.
    Also for breastfeeding – a small light with NO CORD. You can carry it everywhere with you through the night breastfeeding, it’s not light enough to wake bub, aaaaaand no reaching everywhere while also holding bub to find the switch. Absolutely saved me!

  • Chele and Maye says:

    Fantastic list of what to pack in your overnight hospital bag, thanks for sharing

  • Annie708 says:

    Try maternitybag.com.au, my mum bought me a mum hospital bag. It saved me time and money. loved all the goodies and the MaternityPJs are awesome!

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