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Maternity Hospital Bag Checklist: The Ultimate Guide

Babies can be unpredictable, so we've prepared a handy hospital bag checklist to help you pack your bags in advance.

“I’ll get to it tomorrow!” — the famous last words of a parent who didn’t pack their maternity hospital bag in time. A hospital bag is a suitcase or kit bag containing all the things you’ll need at the hospital. Even if you plan to give birth at home, or a designated birthing centre, it’s wise to have your hospital bag checklist ticked off. Essential items such as maternity pads and toothpaste should be ready to go for any situation before and after childbirth. One of the most special days of your life is around the corner! Are you ready?

Hospital bag essentials: What to pack in my hospital bag?

Your hospital bag should have all the essentials needed to spend 1-3 days away from home. This includes comfy pyjamas, slippers and a bunch of supplies to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Remember that labour and the body changes it causes can be physically demanding and in some cases, it lasts longer than 8 hours!

Hospital bag essentials checklist:

  • 2 packs (at least) of Lil-Lets Maternity Pads with wings – they’re extra large, super absorbent and comfortable, with wings for that extra protection (perfectly designed for heavier postpartum bleeding or pregnancy-related incontinence.
  • A pack of Lil-Lets Maternity Breast Pads – after giving birth, you might need these soft and absorbent pads for breast milk stains, colostrum and leaks when breastfeeding
  • 2-3 front-opening pyjama shirts or t-shirts (potentially without bottoms)
  • A lightweight dressing gown/nightie
  • Slippers, flip-flops or slip-resistant socks
  • 2 comfortable bras, or nursing bras – don’t forget your breasts may increase in size after the birth
  • A loose and comfortable home outfit for when you leave the hospital
  • 5-6 pairs of knickers – you may even find disposable ones are a good idea
  • Eye mask
  • Any medications you might be taking
  • Oil or lotion if you want to be massaged
  • Your phone & charger
  • Birth ball — can be a helpful aid during labour
  • Favourite music/birthing playlist
  • A book, magazine or a tablet to help pass the time
  • Birth plan and maternity notes
  • ID and relevant medical documents

Home birth checklist

If you opt for a home birth, you’ll still want access to all the supplies mentioned above. Make sure all these items are readily available in the birthing room or nearby. In addition, you can refer to the list below for some home birth extras:

  • Plastic sheets to protect the bed/sofa/furniture
  • Towels
  • A hot water bottle for pain relief
  • Disposable bed mats
  • A bucket to use if you feel sick
  • Comfortable clothing
  • A packed hospital bag in case you need to go to a labour ward, including maternity pads to manage postpartum bleeding.

Hospital bag toiletries

A selection of travel-sized toiletries are a must-have for your maternity hospital bag. Although some hospitals supply basic toiletries, it won’t hurt to have your favourite lotion or deodorant readily available.

Hospital bag toiletries checklist:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Shower gel – a PH-balanced or fragrance-free one is ideal
  • Shampoo/conditioner/dry shampoo – travel sizes work well
  • Maternity wipes to help you freshen up before and after birth
  • Antiperspirant/deodorant
  • Hairbrush and hair ties (if you use them)
  • Lip balm
  • Moisturiser for the body and face
  • Nipple cream
  • A towel
  • Water spray or sponge to help keep you cool
  • Light snacks and a bottle of water to keep your energy levels up
  • Tissues
  • Any medications you are currently taking
  • A plastic bag for used clothing items

Hospital bag list for your baby

Your newborn baby will need their own set of supplies for their time at the hospital. To make things easier, pack a separate bag for the baby with clothes, nappies and all the other essentials.

Newborn checklist:

  • Baby clothes — sleepsuits, vests, baby grows, hats: at least three of each (but more vests and baby grows are always handy), and mittens if it’s chilly
  • Muslins or bibs — useful for mop ups
  • Nappies — babies get through a lot during the first few days
  • Baby toiletries (wet wipes) and cotton wool
  • Baby blanket for when you go home
  • Baby car seat – an essential if you are driving home after the birth!

Hospital bag for birth partner

If you're a birth partner, you have the important job of providing ultimate support at the hospital. Mum needs snacks? You better have them. And of course, you should bring along a few items to make your time at the hospital more comfortable — you’re in it for the long haul.

Birth partner checklist

  • Phone and charger
  • Loose change for a vending machines/car parking
  • Toiletries
  • A change of clothes and comfortable shoes
  • Painkillers — you might land up with a headache
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Entertainment in the form of magazines, a mobile game, music etc.
  • Your own pillow to carry around — neck pillows come in handy
  • A small blanket for comfort
  • A “push present” to congratulate mum

Choose from our range of comfortable and absorbent maternity products, made with mums in mind

Lil-Lets Maternity Extra Long Maxi Pads with Wings

Lil-Lets Maternity Breast Pads

Lil-Lets Maternity Ultra Pads with Wings

Lil-Lets Maternity Intimate Wipes

When to pack a hospital bag

Make sure your bags are packed at around 34 weeks

Having everything ready means no one will need to run around pulling together an emergency bag for you and forgetting to pack a toothbrush! Your hospital bag should contain all the items you’ll need during labour and immediately after birth — for both you and your baby. Any kind of bag is fine, although one with extra pockets will be beneficial.

Maternity Layflats 6 Ret (1)

Be prepared for your birth plan to change

A hospital stay can vary in length depending on whether you have a vaginal birth or a caesarean section (C-section). An average stay for a vaginal birth is around one day, while mothers who have C-sections can expect to stay around three days. Remember, birth can be unpredictable, so make sure you’re packed for a longer hospital stay, even if your first choice is to deliver vaginally.

Read our pregnancy advice article to feel as prepared as possible.

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How will I know I’m in labour?

Frequently Asked Questions

How big should my hospital bag be?

Your hospital bag will typically be as big as a weekend travel bag — perhaps a medium-sized duffel bag or a small suitcase. It helps to have a bag that opens wide, making it easy to access everything you have packed. 

How many hospital bags do I need?

Most people need two hospital bags — one for mum and another for the baby. However, you should keep in mind that hospital rooms are often quite small. If you would like an extra bag with postpartum essentials and clothes, you can potentially leave that one in the car and have someone bring it to you later. 

What are good snacks for a hospital bag?

The best snacks for a hospital bag are tasty, light and easy to eat without making a mess. Consider healthy snacks such as veggies, nuts, fruit, breakfast bars, crackers and sandwiches. Foods that are low in fat and sugar prevent nausea. On the other hand, you can bring a few delicious sugary snacks to boost energy levels.

What do I really need in my hospital bag?

There are plenty of items to pack in your hospital bag when giving birth. But if you have limited time to pack, here’s what you really need:

  • Nappies
  • Baby clothes
  • Muslin/bib
  • Baby blanket
  • Baby toiletries (wet wipes and cotton wool)
  • Phone and charger
  • Toiletries
  • Slippers
  • Loose pyjamas
  • Maternity pads
  • Snacks
  • A change of clothes


How many nappies should I pack in my hospital bag?

Depending on the length of your stay, you’ll need between 20 and 30 nappies in your hospital bag. Newborns typically go through 10 to 12 nappies in a day, so make sure you have enough!


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