The ultimate hospital bag checklist for you, your partner and baby

Medically reviewed January 2022
mum and baby hospital bag - Naytal

Short on time? Then the key things to know are:

  • We recommend that you have your hospital bag ready to go from 36 weeks
  • We have compiled a separate list for Mums, Babies and birthing partners
  • It is not the end of the world if you forget the bag, the most important thing is to remember hospital notes - if your trust uses them that is


How many nappies to pack in a hospital bag? When should it be packed by? What if I’m having a c section?

You’ll likely have a lot of questions in the run up to your labour and packing your hospital bag can feel a little overwhelming.

But don’t worry. Here we will provide you with a comprehensive list of things to take, for Mums, for babies and for birthing partners.

Your hospital bag checklist - what to pack

This is such an exciting bag to be packing, so much more exciting than any holiday bag you’ve ever packed and probably the most important bag packing exercise you’ve ever had.

We must stress that it is not the end of the world if you don’t have everything on the list, the chances are the hospital will be able to provide a few basics. There is occasionally the odd nappy or sanitary towel floating around an NHS maternity ward, but don’t always bank on it!

Speak to a midwife online

We recommend having all your bags packed and ready to go (some people leave them in the boot of the car) by 36 weeks. This gives you plenty of time to get organised and equally will mean that you are not throwing last minute items into your bag whilst in labour - no one wants to be doing that!

Hospital bag for Mum:

  • Hospital notes – these are vital, please do not forget these!
  • Birth plan/proposal
  • Nightie/pyjamas (we recommend ones with shirt top opening – easier for skin to skin contact and if you want to breastfeed)
  • Extra large old T-shirt
  • Dressing gown
  • Socks and slippers
  • Snacks, e.g. bananas, cereal bars, nuts, jelly sweets, isotonic energy drink
  • Water bottle
  • Phone and charger
  • Magazines/book
  • A pillow – a pillow from home can feel so comforting, it will smell like home and just give you that extra bit of security in an otherwise completely foreign environment
  • Nursing bras
  • Breast pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Lots of maternity pads
  • Toiletries
  • Hairbrush
  • BIG pants – make sure to go way bigger than your normal size - we’re talking great big granny pants here, that preferably come right up over your tummy! If for whatever reason you end up having a caesarean, you don’t want tight underwear pressing on your wound
  • Loose going home clothes – it is unlikely that you will fit right back into your skinny jeans, so think loungewear when packing this
  • Music – do you have a playlist on your phone, do you have a specific playlist for birth?
  • Arnica
  • Lip balm

Things provided by the hospital:

  • Birthing balls are usually available if you require one – they are big and cumbersome to bring your own in
  • There are usually a few pillows, but you might like to bring one of your own for extra comfort and possibly feeding
  • There are usually plenty of towels available
  • Meals will be provided for you whilst you are an in-patient, but make sure you take plenty of snacks

Birthing partner hospital bag:

  • Phone and charger
  • Camera
  • Toiletries
  • Book – this is definitely not a vital piece of kit, but there can be some waiting around going on at times
  • Snacks – no one wants a hungry partner looking after them, they will need plenty of fuel too!
  • Water bottle
  • A change of clothes

Baby hospital bag:

How many nappies for a hospital bag?

Babies go through 10-12 nappies per day so make sure to pack at least 20. You can spread these out between yours and your partner’s hospital bag.

As well as bountiful nappies, you’ll need:

  • Wipes or cotton wool – we recommend that you start off using either dry wipes and water or cotton wool and water to clean the baby - they can get sore bottoms quite quickly if you use wet wipes straight away
  • 3-4 sleepsuits – with long sleeves and long legs
  • 3-4 vests
  • Muslin cloths
  • Socks
  • Blanket or shawl
  • Hat
  • Warm jacket/suit for going home
  • Car seat - this can be left in the car until it’s time to take your baby home

It will feel like there is a huge amount to get ready but soon enough this will become a daily habit, with everything you need to carry with you on any day out!

Want to speak to someone about your pregnancy? Book an appointment with one of our private midwives at a time that suits you to get specialist advice with any concerns.

Download the ultimate hospital bag checklist

Kate, Naytal Midwife

Kate has been a Midwife within the NHS for more than 15 years and supports women to work harmoniously with their bodies and tune into their intuitions.

Third trimester

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