It should really say ‘hospital bagsbecause there are four of them. Oh yes, I have not packed light people!! After hours of watching YouTube videos from my latest and greatest influencers (and then a whole load of people I had no idea who they were), I was sold on the idea that I needed a bag, baby needed a bag and hubby (/birthing partner) would also need a bag. This was my conclusion around Week 32 when we first tentatively laid out piles of items that would go into each. Around Week 35 we finalised the list after a big Amazon and Boots order. At Week 38, I unpacked and repacked everything and assessed that I would need a ‘day bag’ as well as an overnight suitcase. Given the very real possibility I would have to walk myself into hospital alone due to COVID, I didn’t think I’d be wanting to carry a suitcase with me while dealing with contractions. That’s when I packed a little essentials backpack containing, critically, my hospital notes, some fruit pastilles, and a Lucozade Sport so I was good to go for a few hours of labouring. Here I delve into what I’ve packed into each bag. 

Mama’s Essentials Backpack

Ok, so there are a few more items that have been crammed into this backpack should I find myself on a labour ward sans husband for a few hours.

  1. Hospital Notes & Birth Plan (don’t forget these!)
  2. Hydration: Refillable water bottle and a Lucozade Sport for a hit of sugar if my energy levels start to dwindle. I've been advised to avoid fizzy drinks!
  3. Snacks: In the form of sweets, energy bars and chocolate.
  4. iPhone, AirPods & Chargers: Very rarely do I go anywhere without these but I’m going to especially need these for the big day to record my surges via the Freya app and also listen to The Positive Birth Company’s hypnobirthing affirmations to keep me in the relaxation zone.
  5. Pants & Pads: I hear it can be kind of messy so I’ve packed a couple of maternity pads for the car journey and spare underwear and pants in case I have any self-awareness regarding my dignity. I hear that’s not a top priority but I like to be prepared.
  6. My Cave Essentials: Just like animals who like to birth to their babies in a safe, dark cave, I have a few props to recreate this in the room I end up in, be it at the birthing centre or the hospital. Includes: ThisWorks pillow spray, lavender essential oil, face cloths (for hot or cold compress), temple balm, battery-operated fairy lights and tea lights, face wipes, hair bands, and a silk eye mask.

Mama’s Overnight Suitcase

  1. Old towel(s) (preferably of a dark colour): I have a large bath towel and a small hand towel for getting in and out of the birthing pool or to use post-birth.
  2. Old dressing gown: Again, for a touch of modesty without much concern if there is mess. These things will either go in a super hot wash or the bin!
  3. More pants & pads: I’ve been told postpartum bleeding can require a change of pad every 2 or so hours so I have multi-packs of these plus TENA disposable pants. Oh the glamour! 
  4. Wash bag: A bit like the feeling at the end of a weekend of camping, I can imagine I’m going to want to freshen up after giving brith. I’ve packed a luxurious body wash (I think I might like a touch of indulgence) and shampoo/conditioner if I can be faffed to wash my hair. Plus: face wash, moisturiser, lip balm and a hairbrush to tame whatever state my hair is in.
  5. Pyjamas: Assuming I may have to stay overnight, I have two pairs of lightweight summer pyjamas as I’ve heard hospital wards can be especially hot!
  6. Nursing bra & Nipple TLC: Hoping that breastfeeding will be the main event post-birth so packing a couple of nursing bras so I can feed on demand whilst giving support to the ladies while I hobble around! Plus, nipple pads for leakages and Lanolin nipple cream for soothing.
  7. Skin to skin top: I was given this one from Seraphine for my birthday.
  8. Going home outfit: For me. I’m going super simple with a dress I can throw on comfortably to waddle to the car. 
  9. Flip Flops & Slippers: The former for the shower / room if it’s hot. The latter for walking around and if it’s a touch nippy.

My husband is also in charge of these big items that can’t be forgotten:

  1. The birthing ball
  2. The birthing pillow
  3. The car seat (because we would like to bring our baby home!)
  4. The placenta box
  5. The frozen colostrum supply in the freezer

Baby’s Bag

We decided to use the changing bag here so this is by far the smallest although it has packed a fair amount in there!

  1. Baby’s first outfit (and a couple of spares)
  2. Cellular blanket: This was actually a family heirloom as Ryan came home from the hospital in this very blanket too. We have packed a spare too… just in case of accidents!
  3. Nappies, nappies, nappies: And cotton wool. For the start of the endless cycle of sniff, change, feed, repeat. 
  4. Sleepsuits & swaddling bag: If we stay multiple nights, we hear newborn babies are particularly keen on swaddling to recreate that compact feeling of being in the womb.
  5. Capsule wardrobe: Socks (2 pairs), scratch mittens (1 pair or opt for babygrows that have foldable cuffs), hat (2), short-sleeve baby-grow and long-sleeve baby-grow.
  6. Baby’s first toy: A cute little comforter.

Husband’s Bag

Without knowing the type of labour and birth we will experience, there could be a chance we need to stay in a few days so, if that’s the case, we wanted to make sure we were prepared and Ryan wouldn’t have to wear his pants for 3 days on the trot!

  1. Another copy of the Birth Plan: As my advocate during the labour, it's probably more important that he has a copy of this to share with the Midwifery team.
  2. Swimming trunks: In case he wants to brave getting in the pool with me.
  3. Basic toiletries: Toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, etc.
  4. A change of clothes: 3 spare sets.
  5. An extension lead: To ensure we can charge all our tech no matter where the plug-points are in the room!
  6. Skin to skin wrap top: To ensure Dad can enjoy those newborn cuddles too.
  7. Cash for the car park
  8. Snacks & water: His own set so he doesn’t scoff mine!
  9. Painkillers: I mean this could be a joke but I’m assuming it could be for a sleep-deprived headache, dehydration from a hot birthing room or for the broken hand I’ll have been clenching.
  10. A camera: For those all important first family portraits should a camera phone not suffice.
  11. Mobile phone: To share the wonderful news!
  12. Entertainment: Something for times when he’s waiting – music, a book or a magazine.

Let me know if I’ve forgotten anything you found helpful! I may do a follow-up 'What I actually used from my hospital bag' as that may prove more helpful... that is, if I ever have time to blog again once baby has arrived!


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