mum of two at twenty two

Hospital Bag Essentials

Hospital Bag Essentials


I wanted to compile a list of relevant items essential to mums going into a public hospital to have their baby. 

Some articles I read didn’t fit with what I experienced needing during my first hospital stay. 

Some would just try and sell me 100 different unnecessary products.

My ideas below are only ideas – there’s plenty of gorgeous sentimental things you can find online to make the memory even more special! This is just what I found was everything I NEEDED in my bag.

I’ll break the list down into a couple of sections and include a brief reason as to why these items need to be in your bag too. 

At the end, I’ve included a list you can print or save for yourself as well 🙂

Plan to pack enough to stay up to 5 days, even though you are generally allowed to leave after a health examination on your newborn after 2 days. 

You could pack one big bag, or to make it easier in the long run, pack 3!

One labour bag that you keep in the car, containing all the essentials you will want through your labour, one bag for yourself and all your items during your stay, and one that includes all bubs essentials.

For the labour

I found that water and glasses were available in the birthing room I was in, as were towels and basic toiletries and a small supply of pads.

  • Mid-thigh shirt. Doesn’t have to be nice. Just keeps the gore away from the poor watchers as much and helps protect your own dignity for awhile. Keep access clear and easy in case you need any needles, IV’s or monitoring.
  • Some form of entertainment. You could be in early labour for awhile and need something to distract you. Music, Youtube, phone games or talking to your support system can all help.
  • Your own pillow. Labour is very painful, and having that familiar pillow can help if you’re in a bed. My hospital pillows were impossible to get comfortable on, too hard or too soft.
  • Snacks & drinks. Labour takes awhile, and a lot of energy. Pack plenty of your favorite treats to comfort yourself and something like dried fruits or some nuts to fuel your body. Electrolyte drinks can be easier to sip more than eating at some points in labour. Don’t pack anything that will spoil – you want to be able to know everything in that bag is ready to go.
  • Lip balm. Trust me, even if your lips never dry out, they will when you’re huffing and puffing through labour.
  • Fresh mid-thigh shirt, loose leggings, undies and nursing bra. For after bub is out, you will want something a bit fresher to put on. Probably will be sitting in a pool of blood and feeling great at this point.
  • Charged phones and cameras. Capture these moments. You may feel odd about being so raw in front of a camera, but these photos will become gold to your mind as the actual experience fades into the past. Capturing the first second of life, the first bloody cuddle. You will want the memory, so make sure you have spare chargers packed and keep your phone batteries as full as possible when it happens!
  • Plastic bag. For any dirty laundry.
  • 00000 or 0000 onesie and singlet. You need to have something on hand to put on bub straight away!
  • Newborn sized beanie, mittens and socks. Newborns can’t regulate their own body temperature yet, and you’ll be recommended to keep these on most of the time.
  • Newborn nappies and wipes. You may be provided with these for the first few hours, but you will be a lot more relaxed knowing that you have your own supply there to change whenever you feel you need.
  • Newborn blanket. If you wish to wrap your newborn in your own blanket from the start. 
  • Breast pads and a nipple cream. Those absorbent discs that’ll catch any leaks from the opposite side than you’re feeding bub on. When you feed on one side, the other breast will leak. It’s best to pack a nipple cream as well, as breastfeeding dries out the nipple so much and you will need to keep it moisturised after feeding to have a pain-free experience.
  • Your birth plan. If you’ve written out a birth plan, you can include it here.

For after the labour

For you

  • Loose fitting tops. 4-5. Make sure they have easy access for monitoring and nursing. 
  • Maternity bras. 4-5. I used just basic stretchy sports bras, as maternity bras were actually uncomfortable to me and they felt more practical and comfortable. Take some options, you may accidentally leak all over one.
  • Breast pads and nipple cream. Even if you just get cheap ones, essential. If you’re breast feeding, these will be standard from now on. Saves your bras from constantly being ruined by milk and nipples from drying up.
  • Comfortable wraps or cardigans. 2. Easy access for feeding and just in case you get cold or want to go outside for some reason.
  • Comfortable shoes. 1 pair. To wear around the hospital and when you leave.
  • Socks. 4 pairs. Take your favorites.
  • Comfortable bottoms. 5-6. PJ’s, leggings, boxer shorts, whatever makes you feel most comfortable. You may leak so pack an extra pair.
  • Underwear. 8 pairs. I would suggest just going and grabbing a cheap, bulk pack of the most comfortable looking undies you can find. You may destroy some.
  • Toiletry bag. Bring shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, perfume, and makeup. You may want to pretty yourself up to show off your new babe!
  • Snacks. Hospital food can be reasonably bland and unappetizing at times. Make sure you have plenty of snacks coming in for you to stockpile for your stay!
  • Clothes for your partner. 3-4 days of outfits. They may decide not to leave often, and will need clothes to wear in the morning or after a shower. Remember undies and socks.
  • Phone and device chargers. You may get lost for entertainment, you probably won’t though with a new bub!

Pads and aftercare for down there should mostly be supplied for the duration of your stay. Have aftercare ready at home. Take extra pain relief to take into hospital if you feel the need.

Documents you will need

  • Yours and Father’s birth certificates, or other supporting documents. To fill out your newborn declaration. 
  • Medicare. To provide to hospital with your details.
  • Healthcare or private insurance. To provide hospital with details and fill out Centrelink forms.
  • Pen and notepad. Essential for your own peace of mind.
  • Pregnancy folder. Containing all relevant paperwork of your pregnancy from doctors and midwives
  • Empty A4 plastic folder. To keep all the documents and paperwork you receive in one place.

For baby

  • Newborn or smaller sized nappies + wipes + dirty nappy bags – 1 full pack each. Depending on how big your baby is predicted to be, prepare to bring one full pack of the right size nappies. I found really great scented nappy bags at The Reject Shop for 2 or 3 dollars.
  • 00000 or 0000 onesies and singlets – 7 each. Depending on whether your baby is predicted to be under 3kg, it will be safe to pack a few 00000’s instead of 0000’s. 0000’s are for over 3kg bubs and will swim on little ones. Likewise, packing too small onesie’s for your predicted arrival results in not having enough clothing that actually fits. A poo blow-out can happen anytime, so having plenty is great.
  • Newborn socks, mittens + beanies – 3pr each, one knitted beanie, one lighter indoor beanie. Very important for your newborn to help keep them warm while they’re away from your skin.
  • Muslin/light linen swaddle blankets – 3. Helps when wrapping baby in a warm place to keep them all tight and comfortable.
  • Newborn blankets. 2, one thinner, one thicker. Great for an extra layer when baby is sleeping if needed. When leaving a thicker blanket could be needed depending on the weather – better to be prepared!
  • Baby towel + face washer. 1 each. Really helpful when giving baby their first bath, though their delicate skin doesn’t really need too much soap.
  • Cloth nappies. 3-4. Great for using while breastfeeding and burping. Have found these to be essential to me with a messy baby!
  • Soother/Dummy. 2. Some babies are naturally suckers and may cry a lot when separated from the breast but could take to a dummy to help get some more restful sleep.
  • Going home outfit. You may want to pack a cute little outfit for memories as you leave the hospital!

Before you leave

Also remember to have your babe’s car seat installed correctly and checked by a person with appropriate knowledge! You need this done well before you even plan to go into the hospital, it saves stress while you’re enjoying those perfect few first days.

Also, I’m drafting an article on the most essential items you need in your nappy bag, and how to organise them. If you’d like to see this, let me know in the comments! 

If you have any more ideas on things I could pack for my own hospital bag, give me ideas! I’d love to hear some 🙂

If this was helpful to you, please save or share it with someone who needs it. 

Make sure you grab a copy of the list by printing or saving the image below to Pinterest!

hospital bag checklist for baby essentials
Free printable and shareable list of essential items to take to hospital when you're in labour!
what to pack hospital bag essentials
hospital bag essentials
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