Our Top 5 Tips for Packing Your Hospital Bag

First of all, congratulations! You’re about to embark on one of the most incredible journeys of your life and trust us it’s so worth every second once your little one arrives. Packing your hospital bag can feel like a daunting task, but don't worry, we’ve been through it, and we’re here to share some tips that will make your life a whole lot easier, so keep reading to discover our teams advice for packing your hospital bag…

Your hospital bag

First off is the bag itself. We tend to find first time parents like to pack everything (and the kitchen sink) in a suitcase for the hospital, whereas second time parents prefer to use their changing bag instead —simply because they’ve realised they don’t need to lug around big or multiple bags with all these extra items they just don’t need! Our advice is to pack up your changing bag like you would an overnight stay and if you need a bit of extra room, get your partner to bring their backpack too. If you haven’t got a changing bag yet, then look for something that comes with a changing mat and bottle holder so that you can have these with you for the hospital and on the go afterwards, plus something with lots of pockets so you can section off items in the bag.

1. Organise by Compartment

As we just mentioned, sectioning off items in your bag will be a life saver. Utilise the different pockets in your changing bag to keep things organised; one pocket for baby clothes, another for your toiletries, etc. For the main compartment, bag up the smaller items using mini storage bags or pouches to keep everything organised and together so that you or your birthing partner can easily find whatever it is that you need.

2. Label Your Stuff

This may seem silly to those of you who would laugh at someone labelling items in their kitchen, but when you are exhausted and not thinking straight, labelling your items will make it simple and easy to find each and every item. Bagging up items will help make this easy too. This is also especially helpful if your birthing partner is digging through the bag during labour!

3. Pack Early

Trust us, it’s never too early to start packing. Aim to have your hospital bag ready to go by 36 weeks. Babies have their own schedules and not having your bag packed will add a whole load of additional stress you can easily avoid. Lots of people like to leave their hospital bags by the door in the last few weeks so they literally are ready to go, others like to keep them in the car. It can be helpful to carry your hospital bag round with you in the last few weeks of pregnancy wherever you go, so if you are going for a day out or to the soon-to-be grandparents just bring it with you. As long as the bag is easily accessible it will reduce the stress of an unexpected water breaking! 

4. Consider home comforts

Being in hospital can be a daunting experience so try and bring a few things with you that can make you feel a little more comfortable and at home. Lots of people like to bring their own pillow or blanket for a real piece of home in their hospital bed. It can also be nice to have slippers or slipper socks to stay cozy or (although you aren’t allowed perfumes or sprays in hospitals) you could spray a cuddly toy or something small with perfume or pillow spray to hold close to you and have the same effect.

5. Bring Old School Print Outs

Even though you might think you can talk through your birth plan on your phone with the midwife in a calm manner whilst having contractions, this may not be the case. If you have a birth plan we would recommend bring a couple of copies printed out. Your birthing partner should also have a copy of this in advance just incase and be aware of your preferences. If there is any other medical documentation you may need then we would recommend printing this out too - it’s always better to have it than not! If you are looking to create a birth plan take a look at the NHS template which makes it easy to provide your preferences. 

To find out what you should be packing in your hospital bag, read our blog Labour and Delivery: What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag written by the team at My Expert Midwife.

Alternatively if you're looking for advice preparing for birth then check out our blog Can you really prepare for birth though?