We’ve been there. Playing the waiting game. You pack, un-pack, re-pack and then un-pack it all and start again.

We thought it also might be handy to have a check-list that you can print out and tick off. Of course, there are minimalists (Gemma) and over-packers (Sam) so we’ve worked together to create our definitive guide to what you should pack for the hospital:


  • Birth plan
  • Medical notes
  • Maternity bra
  • Comfortable, loose maternity clothing for labour. Or a large mens T-shirt from Primark. Maybe take a spare set, in case you need to change.
  • Cereal bars, snacks, water, small juice cartons to have for energy
  • Toiletries, including lip balm, hair bands, kirby grips, face wipes and hairbrush – essentials!
  • Underwear, either very comfy old ones or buy a new multi-pack from Primark. Size large.
  • 1 pack maternity pads (have another large pack waiting at home, and no, regular sanitary towels will not do!) Nursing bra and breast pads (if you are breastfeeding)
  • Comfortable, loose maternity clothing for after birth (ideally in dark colours, for um, obvious reasons!)
  • Nightwear or large top, front-opening options will make breastfeeding easier
  • Slippers and flip flops
  • Plastic bag for dirty clothing
  • Antiseptic cleaning wipes, for the shared toilets if you’re worried about quality of hospital cleanliness
  • Phone charger


  • Magazines/booksiPod or iPad
  • Extra pillow
  • Water spray
  • TENS machine, if you plan to use
  • Aromatherapy oils, if you plan to use
  • Make-up, if you’re the sort that likes to put on a bit of a lipstick before a pic – because that first ‘mum-and-baby’ pic will be a precious one (Sam packed one, didn’t use it. But each to their own)
  • Hot water bottle, for backache
  • Plastic water jug – post-birth, pouring water on yourself as you pee can make things feel less sore


  • Phone charger
  • Change of comfy clothes
  • Snacks – for him, so he doesn’t end up eating yours
  • Camera


  • Pack of newborn nappies – not all hospitals supply them
  • Nappy cream
  • Cotton wool or water wipes – you’ll be changing nappies up to 12 times a day
  • Hat, mittens & socks. Hospitals are warm but you need to make sure the baby will be warm enough when he/she leaves. A guide is that your babe should be in one more layer than what you are wearing.
  • Baby clothes – three or four sleepsuits, vests or bodysuits
  • Going home outfit
  • Cosy blanket and soft baby towel
  • Soft muslin squares – useful for pretty much everything
  • Car seat – don’t forget this! It’s illegal to take your baby home in a car without one.
  • If you don’t mind taking two bags, one of our top tips is to take one bag containing all of the ‘in-labour’ stuff and one for ‘post-labour’ that includes the bits for the baby. Gemma packed all her baby items in ziploc bags with labels on each one so it was easy to find whatever was needed. It also means that you (or your birthing partner) can find the things you’ll be wanting as quick as possible!

Sam’s essentials

Gemma’s essentials. She loves a labelled ziploc!

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