29 Apr 19
YOUR hospital bag checklist may be the one thing you can control during labour, so it’s a great idea to think about the essentials you and your baby will need and to pack ahead.
We’ve created a hospital bag checklist of the must-have items for mum and baby, based on the general items you’ll need and our own personal saviours (essential oils, earplugs).
These are the items you’ll need for mum and baby’s hospital bag checklist
The thing about going into labour is that it’s rather unpredictable; even those who have a planned C-section don’t know when they’ll be back home after birth.
You could be in the hospital for mere hours or a few days before baby arrives, and while some new parents are released six hours after birth, others spend longer in hospital.
Just like preparing the nursery, you should leave plenty of time to pack your hospital bag well in advance of baby’s arrival.
In fact, we’d recommend you have your overnight bag ready several weeks before your due date as you never know if baby will arrive early – and you don’t want to be scrambling around looking for nappies and babygros in the early stages of labour.
For mums, the essential criteria for the hospital bag checklist is anything that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed, from your favourite entertainment to cosy clothes that allow for easy-access breastfeeding. And don’t forget your hospital notes and birth plan.
Babies just need a few key clothing items to sleep and go home in, some outdoor clothes if it’s cold outside and nappies and wipes – you’ll be changing baby about 10 times a day from the get-go.
Lucky Bunch foldaway, £50 at Cath Kidston – buy here
An overnight bag that wipes clean, is super roomy and doubles as a nappy bag? Yes, please. Cath Kidston’s florals tick every box.
Slippers – UGG Scuffette II Sheepskin Slippers, Brown
£80 at John Lewis – buy here
Comfortable footwear is key, whether you’re pacing the hospital halls in an effort to get your contractions going or are trying to soothe your newborn to sleep.
We’d recommend bringing some flip-flops or slippers to the hospital so you can feel as cosy as if you were home.
£18 at M&S – buy here
A button-down nightshirt that’s comfy is perfect for hospital – with PJ bottoms, leggings or on its own (whatever works for you).
This button-down version from M&S is also handy for nursing your newborn.
£19 for two at JoJo Maman Bébé – buy here
You might not decide whether or not you’ll be breastfeeding until baby arrives.
In any case, a soft maternity bra can provide the comfort mums need post-delivery, and this version from JoJo is soft enough to sleep in.
Also: these are great if you end up having a water birth and want to wear a top (a bikini top works, too).
Snacks and drinks
Chilly’s water bottle, £20 at Chilly’s – buy here
Staying hydrated and well-fed is absolutely essential during labour – and afterwards.
We’d recommend a reusable water bottle to encourage frequent drinking and lots of portable snacks: cereal bars, nuts, crisps, chocolate.
Anything to keep energy levels – and morale – up.
Ear plugs – Howard Leight Laser Lite Ear Plugs
£2.10 for 20 pairs at Amazon – buy here
We will never forget how our NCT teacher told us that ear plugs were an essential buy for the hospital bag checklist and we wondered why.
One night on the post-labour ward and you’ll soon find out.
Shaped seamless leggings, £20 at Mamalicious – buy here
You’re going to want to slob around in leggings and joggers post-birth, as you well should.
Mamalicious’ pair is elasticated, seamless and shaped, designed for post-labour mamas.
iPad 2018 6th Gen 9.7 Inch Wi-Fi 32GB, £319 at Argos – buy here
You’re going to want as many distractions and relaxation aids as you can find: grab your iPad and be sure to have downloaded your favourite programmes, podcasts, playlists and books.
This is really a case of the more, the merrier – especially if you’re up for a couple of nights straight.
Pima Cotton Briefs, £12 for five at John Lewis – buy here
You don’t want your frilliest knickers for your hospital stay.
Choose pants that are comfortable, easy and come in a multi-pack in case a pair gets ruined.
Maternity pads – Boots maternity pads
£1.29 for a 10-pack at Boots – buy here
Whether you have an episiotomy, a tear or minor grazes (or even if you have a C-section), you will need at least two packs of ultra-thick maternity pads post-birth.
doTERRA Essential Oil Introductory Kit, £26.99 at Amazon – buy here
Essential oils have been our saviours during labour and after baby’s birth – while these are available at hospitals, it’s nice to have your own to sniff at various points.
Lavender, lemon and mint are relaxing and energising, which is why we love this intro set from doTERRA.
Tea tree oil is also wonderful for helping soothe post-birth cuts and grazes.
Headphones and a music playlist
Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones II, £161.10 at Amazon – buy here
A playlist of your favourite tunes, whether they’re body-pumping or yin yoga, can get you in the right mindframe for labour.
Have one ready on your phone or tablet along with a great pair of headphones – these BOSE ones aren’t advertised as noise-cancelling but fans say they do the trick, without the price tag.
£11.99 at Sleep No More – buy here
You newborn will need a few bodysuits to layer underneath any other clothes – typically, it’s recommended that newborns wear an extra layer to what grownups are wearing – so if you have long sleeves on, put them in a knit.
You’ll probably amass quite a few cute/funny/soft babygros before your little one even arrives, and you can get money-saving multipacks at supermarkets and retailers like John Lewis.
We love the fun prints at Sleep No More, which put a smile on our faces (and make for great first photo-op outfits).
Bring a few different sizes if possible, as newborns come in a range (if your newborn is 4.5 kilos, they won’t be wearing newborn clothes home – they may already be in 3-6 month garments).
Check out these great value baby clothes
£7 for a three-pack at ASDA – buy here
George at ASDA is one of our favourite places to stock up on sleepsuits – you can buy multipacks in solids or prints for under a tenner.
Your newborn will live in these for the first few days, weeks – even months.
£22 at Etta Loves – buy here
Muslin squares are among the most useful items you can purchase: larger-sized ones can be used as breastfeeding covers, swaddles, light blankets, to wipe up spittle or spills, as changing mats – you name it.
Etta Loves’ gorgeous designs do one better: they’re designed with special high-contrast patterns to aid the visual development of newborns.
£15-£16 at Next – buy here
It’s always good to have an extra layer for newborn in case it gets cold in hospital, and while cardigans with ears aren’t obligatory for newborns, we kind of think they should be. So. Darn. Cute.
£10.99 for a pack of two from Amazon – buy here
Newborns can’t regulate their body temperature, so you need to help them do it with the right clothing. A cotton beanie hat works indoors and out (in warm weather).
£40 at Newbie – buy here
If your baby is born in the cold-weather months, you’re going to want to wrap them up warm when you head out.
Don’t faff around with coats and jackets when a snowsuit offers full-body coverage.
£120 at Amazon – buy here
Whether you’re bringing baby home in a taxi or your car, you’ll need a newborn car seat. Maxi Cosi’s popular model is also compatible with an ISOFIX base (super-useful if you plan to drive baby around frequently).
It also works on a multitude of pushchairs for easy car-to-pram transfer, with the right adapters. Plus, it’s lightweight and great value for money.
Check out these other fantastic baby car seats
£8 for 96 nappies at Amazon – buy here
Once you see those first few meconium poos, you’ll be grateful you purchased a 96-pack of nappies from the get-go.
Amazingly, these nappies will be gone before you know it – babies require lots of nappy changes for wees and poos daily (up to 12, typically).
While parents like to experiment with nappy brands once they’re home, Pampers tends to be an all round favourite.
£18 for 540 wipes at Amazon – buy here
While some midwives recommend you only wipe baby with cotton wool and water, WaterWipes have been accepted as the closest alternative – they’re made with 99.9% purified water and a drop of fruit extract.
They’re approved by Allergy UK and are ideal for the most sensitive of baby bottoms.
Looking for the best baby wipes? We’ve got you covered
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