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Pregnancy | Planning & Preparing

What to Pack For Your Hospital Stay

With your shopping done and the nursery ready for action, all that is left is for you to do is sit and daydream about this wonderful life inside of you; a little person that you will soon meet face-to-face. There are a few things that are totally out of your control, such as the birth date and the birth time, so let’s rather focus on something you can control: making sure that your bag is packed before you go into labour. Not much to ask, is it? Many of us leave this way too long and have to run around, unprepared and confused, when the big moment arrives. Not fun! Make a list of all the goodies you and baby will need for your hospital stay, and have these bags ready at least four weeks prior to your estimated due date – as the stork waits for no-one.


Mom’s list


  • PJ’s or a big T-shirt for labour (preferably front-opening), a pair of socks for cold feet
  • Two sets of PJ’s, gown and slippers for your stay (darker colours are more practical)
  • 2-3 maternity bras if you are breast feeding
  • Breast pads
  • Super-absorbent sanitary towels
  • Several pairs of underwear (cotton or disposable)
  • Plastic bag for dirty washing
  • Set of clothes for going home
  • A watch with a second hand to time contractions
  • Birth plan (two copies): write down the way you would like your labour to progress. Consider all your options and be realistic (if you state that you wish not to have any interventions at all, you might be terribly disappointed). You can, for example, add who the support person will be (your husband?), labour positions you would prefer, a preferable pain relief option, whether you would rather tear naturally or if you would prefer an episiotomy etc. Give one copy to your caregiver and keep one for your reference.


  • Toothbrush and toothpaste, dental floss, mouth wash
  • Towel
  • Brush
  • Face cleanser, creams etc.
  • Shower gel/soap
  • Shampoo
  • Make-up
  • Small mirror
  • Deodorant
  • Tissues

In addition to the basic items in your bag, you might want to add some of the following to make yourself more comfortable during labour (discuss this with your caregiver beforehand):

  • CD player and some soothing music (plus spare batteries)
  • Hot water bottle/bean bag for pain relief
  • Massage oil
  • Lip salve
  • Spray bottle (to spray cool water on your face)
  • Healthy drinks and snacks
  • Sugarless lollipops/candy to keep your mouth moist
  • Clip or hair band to keep your hair out of your face

Dad’s list

  • Change of clothing
  • Camera/video camera
  • Cell phone and charger/phone card for public phone
  • List of numbers to phone/sms
  • Basic toiletries
  • Baby’s car seat

Baby’s list

Most hospitals supply you with clothes, nappies, creams etc. during your stay. Before you pack, give them a call to make sure. If they do supply these items, you only have to pack the following:

  • 1 – 2 nappies for going home time
  • 1 x burping towel
  • 1 x going home outfit (something cute but practical and comfortable)
  • A receiving blanket/normal blanket and beanie (depending on the weather)

If this is your first pregnancy, you can probably not wait to hold your baby in your arms, so your bag will be packed months in advance! If you are expecting your second baby however, you might feel that you want to postpone this event for a month or six, as it can be quite daunting bringing a brand-new baby home to a busy, destructive toddler. But remember that women before us have done this for centuries, so be encouraged that you will get through the first six weeks and live to tell your precious story!

Happy packing!

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