Here’s what you REALLY need in your hospital bag

really need in your hospital bag

Pregnant, with your due date fast approaching? Time to pack a hospital bag! At nearly 36 weeks pregnant with twins, I really ought to pack my fourth hospital bag. With all that practice, I’ve nailed the items you really need in your hospital bag. There’s things on my list that many people would be too embarrassed to suggest. But like a good girl scout, it pays to be prepared.

If you are planning a natural birth, you never can predict when labour will happen. Whatever you do, don’t pack your hospital bag WHEN YOU ARE IN LABOUR. I learnt that lesson the first time around!

I generally pack two bags. One is a ‘labour’ bag and the other is my ‘hospital stay’ bag. I leave the hospital bag in the car to be retrieved when baby is earth side.

What you really need in your hospital bag

The labour bag

  • hair elastics
  • socks (it’s common to get literally get cold feet in labour)
  • camera for recording those first moments
  • snacks and drinks for you and your support person
  • lip balm
  • any ‘props’ you want for labour (that includes a heat pack for me, stress balls, anything you use for visualisation, that kind of thing)
  • your pregnancy card (in NSW it’s a yellow card, in the ACT I think it’s called a white card).

The hospital bag 


  • lots of maternity pads! Or, ‘Depends’ underwear. Total glamour! Seriously, they don’t leak, have a huge capacity, don’t ruin your underwear, you can throw out the whole messy thing and they are high waisted, stretching over a c-section scar. Depends (or something similar) are the way to go in the early post-birth days.
  • breastpads
  • a cream for your nipples. My hands down favourite is Lansinoh.
  • Ural (helps to take the sting out of your wee)
  • a stool softener. Those post baby poos can strike fear into the bravest of women. A gentle stool softener is your friend.
  • haemorrhoid cream. I’ll give it to you straight, haemorrhoids are common in pregnancy. Sometimes, they occur during pregnancy because of all the extra weight on your body and especially if you’re constipated. Other times, the pressure of pushing a baby out causes them. Either way, pack some cream as a precaution. It’s better than sending your husband out to buy some!
  • a squirty water bottle that you can use to squirt water on your bits as you wee or after you wee. Or even to rinse off after a poo.
  • Any medications or tablets you usually take.
  • Your usual toiletries, shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, deodorant, you know the drill.

I don’t regularly wear makeup but I do like to use a tinted moisturiser, a lick of mascara, a tinted lip balm (I’m in love with Burts Bees) and a little bronzer when I’m in hospital. This basic ‘face’ makes me feel a little less drab for photos!


  • If you are using the surf board maternity pads, you need lots of dark coloured, high waisted granny undies. High waisted in case you have a c-section. Get cheap ones and throw them out once you’ve recovered.
  • Breastfeeding friendly nighties, basically anything that buttons up the front. The reason I’m a fan of nighties is that every now and then someone is probably going to inspect your lady bits, especially if you’ve had stitches. It’s so much easier to yank up a nightie than wiggle down PJ bottoms. And, if you have a c-section, you won’t have to worry about PJ bottoms rubbing your scar. Stores like Sussan and Target often stock nighties that have functional buttons down the front.
  • A dressing gown and slippers. Or a cardigan if that’s more your style.
  • Thongs for the shower.
  • Comfortable clothes for when you have visitors or head out of your room for a information session.
  • A ‘going home’ outfit for you. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy at all!

For Baby

What you need to pack for your baby depends a little on what the hospital provides. Generally you’ll need:

  • newborn nappies and wipes (or something to clean their bottom with. We use tissues and sorbolene cream for the first few months)
  • swaddles (or you can stick to using the hospitals blankets)
  • a stretchy, soft beanie
  • simple romper or body suits and singlets
  • a ‘going home’ outfit (certainly not essential)
  • a dummy if you think you may use one
  • ‘milestone’ cards, if you are planning to use any.

The extras

  • towels, preferably dark coloured (because bodily fluids). Hospital towels are thin and scratchy. A towel from home is much nicer on your tender lady bits.
  • toilet paper. The hospital stuff tends to be horrid.
  • plastic bags for dirty clothes (send your partner or husband home with your washing).
  • Snacks. Breastfeeding makes you hungry. Hospital food is terrible.
  • A book or magazine.
  • A phone charger.
  • A breastfeeding pillow. I’ve not previously bothered with this, but I plan on taking on this time to help me learn to feed two babies!
  • A bottle of bubbly if you fancy a celebratory drink!

Phew, I think that covers it! Now to get packing. What are the items you really need in your hospital bag?

Linking up with Kylie from Capturing Life for IBOT

26 thoughts on “Here’s what you REALLY need in your hospital bag

  1. Not strictly a hospital bag item, but in preparation for the births of my little ones I had my lashes and brows done so I would feel slightly more put together lounging in pjs and trackies all day. But you are gorgeous regardless Claire and don’t need such things! Wishing you all the best in the lead up to the arrival of the newest two!

  2. This is a good list! I changed my bag SO much the second time around, the first time I’d packed makeup to look nice for photos, ha! Waste of space that was. BB cream all the way. I didn’t have the squishy water bottle, should have! I know they rave about them in America. The nightie trick is a good one – wish I’d thought of that.

    Won’t be long until you have your beautiful babies – how exciting!

    1. It’s funny how much we learn after having had the first baby! Glad you liked the list, file it away for the third Mica?!?

  3. I had my boys 14 months ago. Consider a super sized wrap or snuggly blanket so you can tuck them up together in the early days. We used to wrap separately and then add another bigger wrap over the top to snuggly them in together – they really preferred to be near each other when they were fresh out!

  4. I don’t know where you are delivering, but at John James in Canberra you get a lot of the things that you’ve written down – which I was surprised that you didn’t get when delivering in NSW. In Canberra, they’d ask if you wanted a ural or a stool softener, where as in Sydney you needed to ask to get it {and I noticed most people brought their own}. We were also given special post birth undies and pads on the first day {which you could just throw away} – awesome for cutting down on your post hospital washing. They also had these awesome pads which you could open and place an icepack inside – I must admit I think my hospital stay in the ACT was nicer then in NSW.

    1. It is really interesting how different hospitals provide totally different things! That’s the hard thing about writing a ‘definitive’ list, no two hospitals are the same.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!