What To Pack in Your Hospital Bag For Labour and Delivery

Saturday 22 August 2015

So, I’m just days away from a very life changing trip into hospital to have my first baby, and one of the milestone moments in the preparation was getting our hospital bags ready. 

Facing the prospect of labour is exciting but also quite intimidating, so I must admit focusing on buying items for our bags and getting them ready was both a way to feel more in control, and also to add some human touches into the process.

I found it incredibly useful to look at these kind of posts when I was deciding what to take with me. 

There are hospital bag checklists out there such as this 'what to pack for labour' one on the NHS Choices site, but I also liked to see what real mummies-to-be thought was useful, as well as speaking to people who had ‘been there, done that.’

As with most things, what you take is highly individual, but I thought I would share what I’d packed for us in the hope it may be useful for any others out there:

The bag

Originally I was going to take a small suitcase, but all mine are quite large really and when it came to packing, I actually found it more useful to go for a holdall, or weekend bag shape.

Due to the soft sides, you can squidge a lot more into them, and they’re easy to unzip and grab things out of quickly. I treated myself to this navy canvas bag from Ralph Lauren. 

I’m not sure how many weekend getaways I’ll be going on for the foreseeable future, but this seemed like it would also be good for those occasions. Let’s take a peek inside…

Notebook and pen

I hear that you get given a lot of information and dates and things while you’re staying in hospital, so I wanted some place to write those down. 

My baby brain is pretty chronic even before he’s arrived, and you don’t want to forget anything important. I picked up this cute apple print spiral notebook and pen so I can jot everything down.

Hospital notes

The absolute essential to take with you! This folder contains my pregnancy record, midwife’s notes and some of the important leaflets and things you get given during your 9 months wait.

Letter to daddy

Seb, my husband, has been amazing while I’ve been pregnant – I couldn’t have asked for more love, support and care and he’s already a brilliant father before our baby is even here. 

To see the bond he’s managed to establish even while our son is still in my tummy has been one of the most special experiences. I can’t even begin to imagine how emotional we’ll both be when he arrives, but I wanted to write him a letter capturing it all, that I’m going to give him when the baby arrives. This was one of the things on my Bump to Baby Bucket List

I know when a baby first arrives it turns everything upside down and that he might be a little bit neglected for a while, so it’s a chance to show him how much I do care. 

I found this water colour card of Venice, where we went for our babymoon holiday in May, so I’m going to put congratulations and the letter in it and give it to him at hospital.


There’s no knowing how long you’ll be staying in hospital, so some form of entertainment is vital in case you have to stay longer than expected. I’m taking along my mini Samsung Galaxy 4 tablet loaded with books, a few games and a couple of films just in case.

Phone and Tablet Charger

No juice, no Bueno! One of the things they tell you to make sure to bring with you is a charger lead. This one can power my iPhone and my tablet. You don’t want to be dashing about during labour trying to find one, so I’d recommend getting a spare charger that can live in your hospital bag.

Little Angels Maternity towels

A few of the not so glamourous essentials to take with you include maternity towels. Regular sanitary towels aren’t right, both because they’re not absorbent enough and also because they have lots of little holes in the covering that can catch on stitches in tender places. Ouch!

 Little Angels Washable breast pads

To protect from any leaks -  you can get disposable versions as well, but these ones were all they had when I went to buy some, and they’re probably more eco friendly as well.

Boots Maternity Essentials Disposable briefs

I don’t think there’s much more attractive in life than paper knickers! These are for use immediately after the birth, so they can just be thrown away.

Hot Travel Underwear organiser

Possibly one of the geekier things I’ve ever bought is this little travel organiser for undies. It has slots for everything and a detachable zip off pouch to put the dirties in. I guess it appealed to my OCD side. 

Its packed with a couple of Cottonsoft maternity bras -  these unhook at the front for feeding, but the cups are foam, so they’re a bit nicer to wear than traditional maternity bras – of which I also have a couple from M&S tucked in here. 

Then I have four pairs of high waisted black cotton ‘granny knicker’ briefs for after the birth  - these type are needed because the waistband sits higher than the wound if you have to have an emergency Ceasarean for whatever reason. 

Lucozade Sport

I’ve been told in different antenatal classes that ‘childbirth is like running a marathon’. No one thinks of food as being something you’ll think much about, but you’re told to bring in some high-energy snacks to keep you going. They recommend Lucozade, although not the fizzy kind as that can make you sick. So I’ve picked up some of the isotonic kind.

Alpen Light Chocolate & Fudge cereal bars  

To keep my energy up, something easy to eat with a bit of sugar and some carbs.

Vita Coco Coconut Water 

Coconut water is so wonderfully hydrating and can really make you feel better -  did you know its even been used in hospitals as a substitute for blood plasma on a drip? It contains minerals and electrolytes, plus its just generally tasty! I picked up this large bottle to tide me over.

Raw zesty lemon and chia seed balls

These are loaded with nutrients, fibre and protein to keep me going but are easy to eat.

Naked Cocoa Delight bar

This all natural nut and pressed fruit bar also seemed like a good choice –tasty and full of good nourishment.

Drawstring laundry bag

To pop soiled garments into so they can go straight into the laundry when I get home, I picked up these super cute linen drawstring bags with a bird pattern. I've packed one in  my bag, and one in the baby's.

Bon Voyage Travel Relaxation set – face mask, ear plugs, inflatable neck pillow

You’re not sure how long you’ll have to stay in hospital, but chances are it will be at least one night. I expect to feel exhausted, and getting to sleep in a strange environment, with lots of background noise and light, doesn’t sound ideal. This little travel kit contains ear plugs, a sleep mask, and an inflatable neck pillow to make things a little more comfortable.

Warm stripy socks

Bizarrely, your feet can get very cold during labour, so you’re advised to bring some snuggly socks along. These long beige and blue stripy ones should help to keep my feet cosy.

Havianas flip flops

You’re advised to bring along slippers to hospital, but I preferred to bring these flip flops because you can also wear them in the shower to keep feet safe from any germs. I’m also going to save space by wearing these for the journey home rather than packing separate shoes.

Pyjamas and loungewear

I picked up a selection of comfies to wear in hospital. I didn’t want to purchase anything too expensive as they might easily get stained, so I just hit Primark for a couple of options.

I've packed one pair of loose grey lounge pants with a matching grey and cream striped long sleeved top, a pair of pyjama bottoms with a pretty blue floral pattern and pink ribbon tie, and a couple of loose vests in purple and petrol blue that can be worn with either of the bottoms. 

A lot of my pyjamas are actually past their best so it was a good excuse to get some new ones!

Labour gown

When you’re actually in labour, you can opt for a hospital gown of course, but we were told they’re tied at the back and a bit flimsy, and most women prefer something else. 

This has to be loose and comfortable of course, and its also highly likely it will get a bit messy and might have to be thrown away, so again I opted for some of Primark’s finest for the occasion. 

This black nightdress with cream lace edging is made of a really soft, comfortable jersey, and I bought one a few sizes up from my usual so that it would fit around the bump with plenty to spare.

Teal towel and robe with monogram

You’re advised to take a dark coloured towel with you, so I picked up a teal one cheaply from Wilkinson’s to bring. 

A dressing gown is also a must for comfort and modesty on the ward. Hospitals are notoriously too warm, so I went for this lightweight waffle cotton one from M&S. To add a personal touch, I added in this monogrammed patch with my initials – I might as well look posh while I’m pushing!

Labour essentials pouch

In this little pouch from Orla Kiely, I’ve stashed some ‘in labour’ essentials that can be easily grabbed to keep me comfortable. This is where beauty box subscriptions have come in handy to keep me stocked up with mini products!

MonuSpa Reviving Rosewater Facial Mist

One thing you find with midwives is that they all seem to very big on the power of aromatherapy. I tend to be more sceptical, but it can set a mood. This facial and pillow spritz has calming natural essences in it for a pick me up.

Andrews Plus rehydration salts

These little sachets can be added to water and have been really useful to me in the past. Everything’s worse when you’re dehydrated, so I’ve tucked a couple of these in.

Nivea Essential Care lipbalm

If you use Entonox (gas and air), lips can get dry and sore, so they tell you to bring a lip balm along.

Cussons Mum & Me hand sanitiser gel

Of course, hospitals are notorious for germs and as babies don’t have much of an immune system when they’re born, I want to make sure mine and visitors hands are clean.

Boots black hair elastics

More of an issue when I had longer hair but you still might want to pull your hair up and off your face and neck, so a pack of hair elastics is a must.

Entrolax tablets

Again, one of the not very nice, but ‘real’ aspects of child birth is that a lot of new mothers become a bit backed up afterwards, as they become scared of going to the toilet with delicate situations and maybe stitches. In the US, they seem to give laxatives to new mums as standard! I packed some just in case.

La Roche Posay Thermal water spray

One of the recommended items to bring is a water spray to cool down flushed faces during contractions. This travel size spray will be a comfort.

Halo wet wipes

I’m not sure what the situation will be in terms of showering and things, so I’ve packed these wipes so I can clean myself up as needed or wipe down a sweaty brow.

Mini wash bag for face products

I packed all my ‘face’ items in a little pouch to keep them together. I have probably brought stuff I won’t need, but I prefer to be over-packed than to miss off something I find I want!

Garnier  Express 2 in 1 Makeup Remover and cotton pads

So I can get my face clean and my make-up off if need be. This stuff is really simple and no messing, so if I have make-up on when I go into hospital, I can remove it quickly.

Pot of coconut oil 

I decanted some of my coconut oil into a travel pot. This is super useful because there’s almost nothing you can’t do with it. From moisturising skin to removing make-up – its also naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and being completely organic – safe to use on delicate newborn skin, so I’ve also packed it to use as a substitute for Sudocrem or Lansinoh.

Glass nail file

Just in case -  also safe to use on baby as their nails can be quite long when they’re born. Metal files are too rough and emery boards can leave their nails jagged, but glass ones are quite gentle and don’t tear the nail, so we can both use this if needs be.

Pure Cucumber cooling eye roll on

Puffy, sore eyes are horrid, so this stuff is nice and cooling on stressed out skin. I'm sure there might be a few tears, so if I have irritated eyes after an emotional time, this will feel good.

Vaseline Lip Therapy Queen Bee

More lip balm, I know, but I always carry tonnes of the stuff because its so useful.Vaseline is a useful multi-tasker to have with me.

Clinique Custom Smart Serum

To restore life to battered skin that’s been through an ordeal!

Rodial Stem Cell Glam Balm Multi

This is a very nourishing cream that can be used for all sorts of thing, and is super hydrating.

Elemis Pro Radiance Flash Balm

Another wonder reviver to give a hit of moisture when needed.

Wash bag

As well as my skincare stuff, I've packed a small Alphabet Bags wash bag with stuff to use in the shower. Again, as my stay could be anything from a few hours to several days, I wanted to cover all the bases.

Oral B 3dwhite toothbrush

Self explanatory really! I didn’t want to forget mine running around at the start of labour, so I bought a brand new one to take with me.

Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant toothpaste

A little sample size toothpaste to keep me fresh. I think we got this posted through the door actually, but its come in handy to stash in my hospital bag, ready to go.

Nivea Satin Sensation cream deodorant

 Easy and lightweight to pack, unlike a bulky aerosol.

Dr Bronner Magic Soap

This stuff can be used to wash anything, from hair and face to clothes – its very mild and detergent free. So if I want to clean my face or wash something out in the sinks, it can help.

Venus Snap Travel Razor

The ultimate travel product – you can see my full review here. Basically, I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to use this, or if I’ll be bothered about using it. But I know I don’t feel properly clean if my legs are stubbly, so I like to have the option to de-fuzz, especially if end up staying longer than I thought.

Dove Nourishing Cream

To moisturise tired limbs – this is very rich and hydrating but very simple with no added perfumes or things to irritate.

Shower pouffe

To get nice and clean in the shower afterwards, assuming I get one!

Herbal Essences Nearly Naked Dry Shampoo

This will sort out my sweaty hair if I don’t get the time or inclination to wash it afterwards. I love this stuff because it doesn’t leave any white residue, and it smells incredible – white mint and grapefruit. It gives a really fresh feeling that is second best to actually being able to wash your hair.

Weleda Oat Replenishing Shampoo and Conditioner Sachets

Again, not knowing how long I’ll be staying, and whether I’ll have time or inclination to wash my hair – but I popped these sachets in my wash bag just in case.

Weleda Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash

I love to feel properly clean, and as Weleda is all natural and gentle, its ideal for use after giving birth. The gentle bubbles and calming scent of this will feel great and bring a little home comfort to the ward.

Andrew Barton dressing brush

I love these brushes and own a couple, because they’re so versatile. They’re slimline like a comb but get knots out really well, are super smoothing and you can also use them to add height backcombing and things, so I always choose one to travel with as the most useful hairbrush.

Makeup bag

I get that some people might be laughing at the idea of taking your make-up along, but as I said, I’m not sure how long I’ll be staying. 

If I don’t want to wear any then I won’t, but in my case I think it might help to make me feel a bit more human afterwards, and if visitors come and things, I’d like to be able to pop at least a bit of BB cream and mascara on before they see me! 

I’ve packed a very basic kit that just covers a natural face. I’d rather have this with me if I needed it than leave it at home and feel like I wanted it, especially as Seb wouldn't have a clue what I needed if I had to ask him to bring some make-up in for me!

 3 Concept Eyes Travel Brush Set & Eyeko Lash Curlers

Having looked high and low for a set of travel brushes that were actually useful and decent quality (none of this rubbish foam eyeshadow applicator nonsense), I came across these from Korean brand 3 Concept Eyes. 

It’s a great little set because the brushes are actually the ones I would reach for, like an angled liner brush to do my brows and a proper foundation brush.I got these Eyeko lash curlers as a free gift a while ago, so I’ve added them into my travel set.

I've chosen make-up that's fuss free and quick, that I can do my '10 minute face' with.

The products I'm taking are: the Urban Decay Naked Skin BB Cream, because its really light and has lots of skin perfecting extras, Amazing Cosmetics concealer, The Body Shop Honey Bronze powder, Bare Minerals Lasting Line eye pencil, Miss Beauty liquid eyeliner, Bare Minerals 5 in 1 Cream Shadow, Dr Brandt Pores No More, the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette to fill in my brows, BeautyBay Mineral Powder, Essence I Love Volume mascara, PS lipliner pencil in a neutral shade, and yep, that is more Vaseline for my lips as well!

Baby's Bag

The baby has his own bag, packed with all the items he'll need for his first few days in the world. All of his stuff fits in the changing bag we've got, which is the SkipHop Duo Deluxe.

John Lewis Receiving Blanket

An essential for keeping him toasty and wrapping him in when he goes in the car seat for his first journey home. This is beautifully soft and useful as September has such changeable temperatures.

Pampers New Baby Nappies

I know we'll need a lot more nappies than this, but I didn't want to buy too many 'newborn' sized ones. There's no knowing how long he will be in this size for - some babies, depending on their birth weight, don't fit newborn sized nappies. So this pack is just enough for a couple of days, and then we'll pick some more up as needed.

Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes

You don't actually use wipes on brand new babies, as the chemicals can be a little harsh for their skin when they're first born. So I must admit these are in the bag more for mummy's benefit at this stage! They're useful for so many different things, after all, from cleaning up spills to wiping sticky hands.

Udder Cover Breastfeeding Shawl

I'm going to give breast feeding a go, because of course I want my son to have the best start. I'm really not sure how I'll feel about feeding around other people or what the situation will be. To make sure I feel comfortable if there are people around, I picked up this breastfeeding shawl that covers baby and boobs while you're trying to serve up lunch.

Drawstring laundry bag

Just like the one in my bag, I got an extra one of these linen bags for his soiled items, so they can be emptied straight into the washing machine when we come home.

Pack of newborn vests

Mums I know have tipped me off to pack more than you think you'll need, especially since you're only learning to change nappies, meaning things can be a bit messier at first. He definitely won't need as many vest as this, but they came in a pack together, so I just washed them and popped them all in his bag. These are cute but again, they're just from Primark, so it doesn't really matter if they get a bit messed up - he might not be in this size for long.

Newborn babygrows and knitted cardigan

To complete his little wardrobe, we just have a couple of plain white newborn baby grows and a plain white knitted cardigan, all from Mothercare.

Pouch with socks, scratch mitts and hats

Babies need their little heads, hands and feet warm at all times, so I've just packed a few socks, mitts and a couple of hats for him into a pouch.

Sesame St Cookie Monster vest

This is a silly item really, but blame his Daddy who couldn't resist this vest and insisted it had to be part of his 'coming home' outfit. I think seeing him in this will put a massive smile on Seb's face.

So, that's what we're taking with us into hospital. If you're expecting, what are you planning to take? If you've been there and done that, what did you find useful and what stayed in the bag? I'd love to find out!


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