Birth & Delivery

Hospital birth bag checklist: packing your birth bag

Katherine Compton  |  5 Jul 2023

As your due date gets closer, it can become a stressful reminder of all the things you need to prepare. To make things a little easier, The Ribbon Box have created a handy hospital birth bag checklist for your due date, so you have everything you and your baby need at the birth.

Regardless of where you’re giving birth, read on to get your personal checklist. If you’re having a home birth, don’t worry, we have also included a section on this too – there’s even a hospital bag checklist for your birth partner.


Getting prepared

Once you get home after birth, you will probably want and need to sleep – as well as take care of your newborn baby. Truth be told, you won’t have much energy for anything else. This is why it’s good to prepare for things that will be extremely challenging to do after giving birth, in advance. Remember that any preparations you make (whether that’s preparing for when you return from the hospital or preparing to arrive at the hospital), should be completed three weeks before your due date. 

First off, it can be a good idea to prepare some frozen meals so that you don’t even have to think about cooking. Make sure you have stocked up on paper towels, sanitary pads, nappies and large comfy knickers (especially after a c-section) – these will be the essentials that you absolutely won’t want to run low on.

Keep any stocked items separate from the ones you intend to use for your birth bag, just to make sure that you have enough for when you are at home.


Hospital birth bags

Here is a list of items for your hospital birth bag, your partner’s and for your new born baby’s. 

For you

Your birth hospital bag list will probably be longer than you might initially think, as it is a good idea to bring everything from medical and entertainment items to clothing and sanitary products for you and baby. Everyone is different, but this is what we suggest you use as a starting point:

  • Your birth plan and hospital notes
  • An overnight bag which contains: a hair-brush, toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbands, flannel, soap, lip balm, deodorant and any other toiletries and self-care products
  • Towels
  • Six or more pairs of comfortable underwear, some disposable
  • Two or more packets of extra absorbent sanitary or maternity pads
  • Three or more changes of loose-fitting clothing
  • Something to wear during labour that does not restrict your movements and that has a comfortable material that won’t make you too hot
  • Two or more supportive bras, including nursing bras if you intend to breastfeed. Keep in mind that your breasts will probably be much larger
  • Breast pads
  • A dressing gown and slippers to walk around the hospital in
  • Front opening/loose fitted nightgowns or tops to wear if you are going to breastfeed
  • Extra pillows (or maternity or pregnancy pillows)
  • A fan, water spray or mini travel air conditioner to cool you down
  • Snacks and drinks (Lucozade Sport is a good one for labour)
  • A TENS machine if this is something you would like to use
  • Any medications that you are taking
  • Something to help you pass the time such as a book, music, a laptop etc

For your baby

Your baby will need:

  • Nappies (however many you are thinking, double it)
  • A car seat — regardless of the way you intend to travel, this will be necessary to leave the hospital 
  • Muslin squares or bibs
  • Bodysuits, vests and sleepsuits for while the baby stays in the hospital with you
  • A warm outfit to go home in
  • A hat
  • Scratch mittens
  • Socks or booties
  • A shawl or blanket

Hospital bag for birth partner

You may have arranged to have a support system around you during labour, such as your partner, a friend or relative. As your needs will ultimately become theirs too, they should also pay attention to the things on the birth hospital bag list. For example, they could also pack extra sanitary products for you and nappies for your baby. However, there are a few things that are not on your main list that they could plan ahead for, just to make things go more smoothly:

  • A battery pack to charge their phone in case there is limited access to an outlet
  • Toiletries such as tooth-brush, hairbrush, deodorant etc as they will likely also be staying overnight
  • 2-3 days worth of clothes
  • Helpful birthing notes. Hopefully, they will have already been preparing for ways they can help support you through labour
  • Snacks and drinks or loose change for the vending machines
  • A pillow
  • Massage oils or gels to provide natural pain relief for you
  • A chargeable fan or water spray

At-home birth bag

With home births, the preparations are a little more specific and you won’t need to have much in your metaphorical bag, as you will have access to everything at home. But, if you do intend to give birth at home, you will need to prepare the area of the house where you intend to give birth.

You and your midwife should discuss a birth plan and how to keep the birth-place sterile, and address any specific preparations you need to make. However, you will likely need the following things at the ready:

  • Clean bed sheets and towels
  • Clothes (including a hat) and nappies for the baby
  • Two or more packets of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads

While this is a metaphorical bag (as you will be at home), it is good to pack an emergency hospital bag just in case for any reason you need to be admitted into hospital. You can use the checklist above to start packing your bag.

Related Article – How to Help Ease Pregnancy Pains With This Perfect Body Butter Recipe


Transportation and back-up arrangements

Things don’t always go to plan, and that’s why it is wise to have a back-up option. If you have arranged for someone else to take you to the hospital during labour, its best also to arrange an alternative, such as having a taxi app on standby (if you’re not being induced). As we all know, due dates are a rough and ambiguous estimate, so you may go into labour at a time when your intended driver is unavailable, so it’s best to have a back-up. If you plan to go by public transport, make sure to plan out multiple routes and to double check on the day for any diversions or delays.

It is also best to have a night and day plan. Traffic and available travel options differ depending on the time of day. The buses or trains you may have intended to use during the day might not run as often at night. Likewise, a car journey will be slower during the day than at night, so it’s good to prepare for these delays. You might be more comfortable and private in a car if you’re actually in labour and having contractions.

We hope you feel more prepared for your due date now that you have this hospital birth bag checklist and some tips for preparing your travel options. Having a partner pack a spare hospital bag can also help them to support you better when you’re giving birth, so it might be worth sharing this article with them. 

At The Ribbon Box, we’re here to support you through the highs and lows of pregnancy and parenthood. Join the community to stay up to date, and get practical support and handy tips just like these delivered straight to your inbox. 

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