The ultimate hospital bag checklist

TMM Expert Doula, Birthing Coach and Mindful Breastfeeding Coach Laura Berkeley's created the ultimate hospital packing guide.  

Birth/Hospital Bag Checklist

You can pack your bag at any time during your pregnancy & keep adding items along the way. It’s a great idea to start packing by about 30 weeks & definitely by 36 weeks as 37 weeks is classified as ‘full term’. It’s helpful to pack separate bags so all items are easily accessible when you need them. You might also like to pack with your birth partner or discuss the items you might be taking especially the ones you might want to use during your labour so they can support you. 

On the way & upon arrival at the birthing centre/hospital

  • Maternity notes
  • Birth prep workbook/documents/pdf’s
  • Birth preferences – at least 2 copies in case of shift changes. Also in case 1 gets wet or damaged. If you can, laminated versions are great
  • Affirmation cards, posters, pictures & posters (plus some blue tack) – oxytocin boosters & supports your positive mindset
  • Portable speaker & charger - for your relaxation tracks, affirmations tracks & music
  • Eye mask - to block distractions out & keep your mind focused. Especially in the car on the way when oxytocin can take a dip
  • Headphones - for relaxation tracks (useful in the car for the journey or of you have to sit in triage/a noisy area at any time to block out distractions)
  • Pillow/s/cushions - for comfort on the way & when you get there
  • Disposable/waterproof mats - to sit on in the car incase your water’s release or have already started releasing
  • A towel or blanket - to sit on or cover yourself with for privacy/comfort. Also just incase baby makes an appearance on route


Items for labour & birthing

  • Snacks – quick & easy items, for energy & ideally not high in processed sugars as you may get a low after a sugar high. Some people find it handy You can anything you like unless you are having a planned abdominal birth where you might be asked not to eat before your surgery
  • Water/drinks – water bottle with extendable/long straw. Coconut water is great as it’s high in electrolytes
  • Ice cubes/lollies (if you are at home) – for hydration or to suck on. You could even make ice cubes/lollies from coconut water or add plenty of fruit. Vitamin C is great as an immune booster & for a healthy amniotic sac. Why not make some orange or melon lollies?
  • Water spray bottle – to use as a cooling mist on your face & body. Especially in summer & in hospital as they are hot places
  • Hand held fan – rechargeable ones are great (or if battery operated insert new batteries & take spares) - Hospitals can be very hot & stuffy. Hormones & being in the birth pool can also elevate your temperature
  • Water jug – for your birth partner to pour water over your back & shoulders in the pool (great after birth for your vagina as well to dilute your urine & avoid that sting)
  • Flannel/sponge – to place on your forehead either warm or cool
  • Hair clips/band – to keep hair off your face & neck
  • Battery operated candles & fairy lights – think cosy, romantic & magical = OXYTOCIN
  • Aromatherapy oils – to help you relax or energise you. Great anchor tool as well
  • Homeopathic remedies (200c) – pulsatilla if you feel tearful, kalicarb for back aches/pressures. Check out rowenaprescot_familyhoeopath on Instagram
  • Music/audio tracks – headphones/speaker/cd’s/on your phone/I pod
  • Pillows/cushions – only 1 or 2 are provided in hospital so take some with you
  • Camera/phone & chargers – to capture those labour, birth & new-born pictures/videos
  • Something to wear in the water – for you & your birth partner. Some people are happy to be naked but if you want to wear a bikini a side tying one is great to remove quickly & easily
  • Oil/cream – for massage in labour. Organic coconut oil or cold pressed sunflower oil are great options. Gentle on the skin & non scented
  • Rebozo scarf – for biomechanics techniques – for comfort & support optimal positioning of baby. You can use a normal scarf or sling if you don’t have a rebozo
  • Tens machine – you can hire or purchase a tens
  • Birth ball or Peanut ball – some birth centres & hospitals have them so do check & take your own if not. You can pick them up online for as little as £10
  • Cord tie – if you are providing your own cotton tie


General for Mum/Birthing person

  • Birth & Breastfeeding workbooks from the antenatal course you attended
  • Maternity pads – at least 10-12 (heavy duty, not normal sanitary towels & ideally non perfumed)
  • Large knickers – comfortable, breathable (cotton) & high waisted. Especially if you are having an abdominal birth but big comfy pants also help support that soft postpartum tummy. Minimum of 5 or 6 pairs. You can also get disposable maternity knickers with pads already in if you prefer
  • Dressing gown - thin/cotton for summer months or thick & cosy if it’s cold
  • Cosy socks – your hands & feet can get cold during labour
  • Nightdress or large t shirts - x 2. With button/easy open front – suitable for breastfeeding & having lots skin to skin
  • Backless slip on slippers or flip flops
  • Support stockings – if you have poor circulation/need to spend some time in bed (post C-section etc)
  • Breast Pads – several pairs of disposable or reusable
  • Nursing bras – 2 or 3. Bravado bras are super comfy
  • Nipple cream – optional not essential for breastfeeding. Hand expressing some colostrum or breastmilk onto the end of your nipples works wonders for feeding
  • Dry shampoo – if it’s likely you are staying in for a while
  • Lip balm – lips can get dry from all that breath work & a warm hospital environment
  • Toiletries – A wash bag with all the basics, toothbrush, deodorant etc
  • Towel – small towel to freshen up & have a pits & bits wash or shower
  • Phone/phone charger/I pad & charger – power bank in case you cant reach or access a plug easily
  • Something comfortable to wear - post birth, for coming home in. A tracksuit, joggers, comfy dress etc. Again baggy & easy front opening for feeding & skin to skin. Perhaps a size bigger or maternity wear & cotton clothing helps avoid you feeling too sweaty with the shift in post birth hormones
  • Earplugs – for overnight stays
  • Haemorrhoid cream – if you suffer with haemorrhoids
  • Nursing pillow - if you have a specific one you would like to use but not essential
  • Homeopathic remedies - for labour & post birth. Ainsworth do a great family kit to get you started with all the essentials
  • Medication – if you take any regularly that you need with you
  • Sling – to carry baby around with you & keep close
  • Snacks – cereal bars, anything that doesn’t need refrigerating & plenty of water/drinks
  • Your own mug/cup – for tea & toast post birth. Much nicer than a hospital cup. Take your own tea if you have a favourite or if you prefer herbal teas
  • Notebook & pen – for you or your birth partner to make a note of key information
  • Carrier bags – for dirty clothes
  • Cash – for snacks, magazines, car park etc


Baby – you could pack & take these items in your baby’s changing bag/rucksack?

  • Vests – 4 -6 minimum. You might like to take various sizes as you never truly know the size of your baby until they are born. Ultrasound estimates are unreliable
  • Babygrows/sleepsuits - 4 -6 minimum. Again you might want to take a couple of sizes & also wash them beforehand in non-biological powder/detergent
  • Coming home outfit – optional not essential
  • Muslins - x 3
  • Cotton hat – x 2. If it’s cold then take a warm hat. There has actually been some new evidence to show it’s best not to put a hat on your baby’s head after birth as smelling/kissing your baby’s head plays an important role in bonding & transfer of healthy microbiome transfer. Unless your baby has a low temperature where a hat can help regulate
  • Blanket - (lightweight cotton or large muslin in summer. Warmer in winter). Cellular blankets are great to layer
  • Snowsuit – optional if it’s cold for coming home (but must not be worn in the car seat if it’s padded)
  • Baby wipes - cotton wool with warm water is ideal for the 1st few days. Water based wipes are brilliant as your baby’s skin is very sensitive. You don’t want to irritate it or strip the natural oils in the skin from chemicals that many regular well known branded wipes contain. Check out cheeky Wipes reusable wipes
  • Nappy sacks – did you know you can get biodegradable sacks?
  • Nappies – minimum of 15
  • Car seat – you must leave the hospital/birth centre with your baby in a car seat. Set it all up in the car along with the isofix well before 37 weeks so you don’t have to navigate fitting when it’s time to go home
  • Fold up changing mat
  • Hand sanitiser or hand wash
  • Formula, bottles & sterilising equipment if you intend to formula feed your baby


Birth Partners/Support person’s bag

  • Prompt cards, scripts, notes, antenatal workbook
  • Spare copy of preferences
  • Birth partners affirmations
  • Camera/phone – plus chargers
  • Change/cash – for the car park, shop, snacks
  • Pen & paper
  • Snacks & food – for energy or in case of stay
  • Water/Drinks
  • Magazines/book
  • List of people to contact – who first, important phone numbers
  • Antiseptic wipes or hand gel
  • Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant etc
  • Fold up blanket or jumper – for overnight stay/a snooze
  • A pillow
  • Clean underwear, socks & spare change of clothes

p.s don't forget you got this mama!

Love Sophia x