What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag: A Comprehensive Guide for Expectant Parents

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This is a collaborative post with The Parents Class.

Bringing a new life into the world is an exciting and momentous occasion, and as the due date approaches, it’s crucial for expectant parents to be well-prepared for the big day. One essential aspect of this preparation is packing the hospital bag. 

Having everything you need in one place can alleviate stress and ensure a smoother experience during labour and delivery. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the essential items that pregnant parents should consider packing in their hospital bag to make the birthing process more comfortable and enjoyable.

Comprehensive Guide for Expectant Parents


First and foremost, comfortable clothing is key for both the labouring mother and her birthing partner. Pack loose, breathable garments, such as nightgowns, comfortable underwear, and a cosy robe for those moments of rest between contractions. Don’t forget to include socks, as hospitals can be chilly, and a pair of comfortable slippers for those short walks down the corridor.

For the birthing partner, a change of clothes and comfortable sleepwear are essential. Consider bringing a spare set in case the birthing process extends over several days.

For baby pack vests, baby grows, scratch mitts, hats, and socks.  Don’t forget to pack a blanket and a home-coming outfit.


Maintaining personal hygiene is crucial during labour and recovery. Pack travel-sized toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Include items like lip balm, a hairbrush, and a gentle facial cleanser for a refreshing feel.

Remember to pack any specific personal care items you may need, such as contact lenses, glasses, or skincare products. Don’t forget to include a towel and face cloth for a quick freshen up.

Snacks and Hydration:

Labour can be an energy-draining process, and having snacks on hand is essential for both the mother and her birthing partner. Pack a variety of easy-to-eat, nutritious snacks such as granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit. Energy drinks or electrolyte-replenishing beverages can help keep hydration levels up.

Include a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the process. Labour can be a long journey, and having access to water can make a significant difference.


During the early stages of labour, there may be periods of waiting. Packing entertainment options can help pass the time and distract from any discomfort. Consider bringing a book, magazine, or a tablet loaded with your favourite movies or TV shows. Some calming music or a playlist of your favourite tunes can also create a soothing atmosphere.  Ensure you have a spare charger packed, your phone battery could run down quickly if you’re using it for entertainment and you may want to make calls once the baby has arrived.

Birth Plan and Important Documents:

Ensure that you have copies of your birth plan and any necessary documents, such as identification, health insurance information, and hospital registration forms. Having these documents readily available can streamline the admission process and help the medical team understand your preferences and wishes for the birthing experience.

Stem Cell Collection Kit:

By ensuring that the cord blood collection kit is packed, you will be prepared to collect your baby’s stem cells for possible future life-saving therapies.  The only time to collect these cells is at birth, by ensuring you have the kit packed you won’t miss the opportunity to store them.  Contact your cord blood bank to arrange your kit.

Comfort Items:

Labour can be a challenging experience, and having comforting items from home can create a more familiar and soothing environment. Consider packing a pillow from home, a cosy blanket, or even a special item, like a cherished photo or memento, to provide emotional support during labour.

Nursing Bras and Breast Pads:

For mothers planning to breastfeed, packing a few comfortable nursing bras and breast pads is essential. These items can provide much-needed comfort and support in the days following delivery.

Postpartum Essentials:

Prepare for the postpartum period by packing essentials such as maternity pads, comfortable high-waisted underwear, and any necessary postpartum care items recommended by your healthcare provider. These items will be invaluable during the initial days of recovery.

Baby Essentials:

Don’t forget to pack clothes for the baby and bring your baby’s changing bag which should be stocked ready.  Things you might want to consider packing include nappies, nappy bags, changing mat, and bottom balm. Also have your baby’s car seat and pushchair ready for their journey home.

As the due date approaches, packing a well-thought-out hospital bag is a crucial step in ensuring a smoother and more comfortable birthing experience. By including the essentials like comfortable clothing, toiletries, snacks, entertainment, and important documents, expectant parents can focus on the exciting journey ahead without worrying about missing crucial items. Remember, every birth is unique, so feel free to tailor your hospital bag to your personal preferences and needs. Wishing you a safe and joyful birthing experience!

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