Getting Ready for the Big Day: Essential Hospital Bag Checklist

As you move into the third trimester of your pregnancy, there are exciting changes ahead as your body prepares for birth. Your baby bump will continue to grow, and your excitement about meeting your little one will only increase.

While this is an exciting time for both experienced and first-time mums-to-be, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed with everything that’s happening. That’s why being prepared for the moment you go into labour is so important - it’s something you can prepare for and have total control over. 

This guide is designed to help you and your partner get ready for the big day, without the stress of packing at the last minute. Let’s go through the ultimate hospital bag checklist with these hospital bag essentials together.

When To Pack Your Hospital Bag

Unless your doctor suggests an early birth, you should have your birthing bag prepared from the 35th week onward. Childbirth can be unpredictable with lots of babies deciding they can’t wait until the birth date to meet you, arriving on their own terms! 

So, having your hospital bags ready and easily accessible is so important, as well as knowing which things to pack in your hospital bag. Whether labour comes suddenly or is a planned induction, being prepared will mean one less thing to worry about for you and your partner.

Hospital Bag Checklist

Your hospital bag is an important part of your birthing experience. Let's look at hospital bag essentials for mum, partner and baby.

Hospital Bag Checklist for Mum:

Making sure mum is looked after during and after the birthing experience is important to get right when looking at what to pack in her hospital bag. 

Follow this maternity hospital bag checklist for the ultimate guide to pack for your hospital stay:

  • Essential documents, including photo ID, Medicare card, insurance info, hospital forms and birth plan (if you have one)
  • Sugar-free hard candy to keep your mouth moist during labour (candy with sugar will make you thirsty) 
  • Comfortable attire for labour, including a robe and loose-fitting cardigan or jumper
  • Lightweight clothing such as oversized t-shirts and thin sweatpants in case the hospital temperature is warm
  • Two or three pairs of warm, non-skid socks (for walking the halls before and after labour) 
  • Heat pack, which is particularly good for early labour or when used in addition to other pain relief
  • TENs machine (if you're planning to use one)
  • Fake candles or a diffuser that lights up to create mood lighting
  • Essential oils for diffusing or massaging into mum
  • Water bottle for keeping hydrated
  • Frozen colostrum (hand it over to your Midwife as soon as you get to the hospital and they’ll store it safely)
  • Calming playlist to help you through the birthing process
  • Nursing bras without underwire (if you’re planning to breastfeed) and black maternity/postpartum underwear
  • Nursing pads 
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, lip balm etc.)
  • Entertainment essentials (magazines, books, music)
  • Mobile phone, charger and headphones
  • Eyeglasses if you wear them - nb: you may feel more comfortable avoiding contact lenses as it’s one less thing to worry about 

Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby:

  • Onesies and baby clothing
  • 1 x 00000 singlet
  • 1 x 00000 onesie
  • 1 x 0000 singlet
  • 1 x 0000 onesie.
  • Nappies and wipes
  • Swaddle blankets
  • Baby hat and socks
  • Baby care products
  • Baby’s going home outfit. Some families like to choose a special outfit for their baby to come home from the hospital
  • 3 nappies
  • A packet of wipes
  • 2 swaddles
  • Newborn or 0000 size beanie
  • Socks if your baby’s onesies are footless
  • Bottles plus a formula tin if you’re planning to formula feed 

Hospital Checklist for Support Person:

  • Comfortable clothing
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Entertainment essentials (magazines, books, music)
  • Camera or smartphone for capturing special moments. Remember to pack chargers.
  • Essential documents
  • A notepad and pen for taking notes for when you get mum and baby home (you may not remember everything you’re learning from the nursing staff, so taking notes is always a good idea) 
Other extras:
  • Electronic devices charger (an extra long one to make sure it can reach your hospital bed!)
  • Comfort items like pillows and blanket
  • Nursing pillow for breastfeeding
  • Thank you cards for hospital staff 

As well as getting these items packed and ready, we also recommend both parents take an antenatal course in preparation for labour and delivery. 

Tiny Hearts offers a birth bundle combo pack that includes instant access to its comprehensive antenatal course, plus a birth recovery kit. It has all the essentials you’ll need so you not only know what to pack in your hospital bag for labour, but have it delivered as a complete pack. We’ve done the work for you, so you have one less thing to worry about.

But if you prefer to choose items individually, we have a birth care range including many of the key items you could need, both during your hospital stay and as you settle in at home post-birth.  

What about different stay durations?

Planning for your hospital stay involves thinking and planning for a few factors. The length of stay can depend on the type of birth, health conditions, and personal preferences. Here's a breakdown based on different durations:

6-hour discharge:

  • Follow the items listed in the hospital bag checklist
  • Nipple cream for early use
  • Extra clothes for mum and support person
  • Comfortable footwear like slippers
  • Spare pads and undies
  • Additional snacks for post-birth sustenance

1-3 nights:

  • Include items from the hospital bag checklist
  • Additional comfy sets of clothes/pyjamas
  • Cardigan or jumper for cooler nights
  • Two extra breastfeeding bras
  • Comfortable slippers/thongs
  • Spare hair ties

Up to 5 nights:

  • Continue with the hospital bag checklist
  • Consider access to a washing machine and pack accordingly
  • Bub's long-stay bag with extras for an extended stay

Baby’s long stay bag:

  • Additional onesies and singlets
  • Extra nappies, wipes, pads, undies, and comfy clothes


What you can leave at home

While it may be tempting to pack as much as you can, there are certain items that are already provided in the hospital or just aren’t practical. Here’s what you don’t have to worry about bringing to the hospital:

  • Pain relief medications (Paracetamol and ibuprofen will be given to you by your nursing staff)
  • Spare syringes or breast pumps for expressing
  • Baby swing, bassinet, or newborn playpen


Hospital Bag Essentials for a Smooth Delivery Experience

Being prepared for your hospital birth can help reduce a lot of stress for you and your partner. You have enough on your plate at this stage of your pregnancy, so following this maternity hospital bag checklist can give you the confidence to know you’re prepared to give birth.

Remember to pack key essentials only and avoid items that the hospital provides or that are impractical to bring into the hospital environment. 

So there you have it—a complete list of what to bring and how to prepare for the excitement of welcoming your new arrival into the world. You’ve got this!

Be ready for your baby's arrival! With our comprehensive hospital bag checklist, you’ll be prepared and stress-free, knowing your bag is ready to go. when baby tells you it’s time to enter the world!

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