Hospital bag essentials


I thought I’d do a post for all you first-time expectant mums out there as if you’re anything like me you’ve been trawling the internet for checklists on what to take with you to the hospital. I found so many lists, many I found were outdated or told me to pack shit I didn’t end up needing.

I repacked my hospital bag a thousand times (seriously, just ask my partner) and put so much emphasis on having cute/stylish clothes for baby to come home in, whilst he did look pretty bloody adorable in his fox outfit, appearance really didn’t matter as I had a million other things to think/worry about now – like a baby. If you’re like me though, take one cute outfit and that can be what you take baby’s announcement pic in.

NB: I would recommend taking enough clothes etc to get you and baby through 3-5 days that way if you end up having a long stay, you’re more than prepared. In saying that, I was in for 3 nights (4 days) and I’m pretty sure I wore the same clothes for a large majority of the time. Yes mum, I changed my underwear.

I will say in advance, I am super anal so took everything whether or not I ‘needed’ it, it was good to have it ‘just in case’. It’s better to be over prepared than unprepared, right?

Right, I’ve broken this down into 5 lists;

For you:

  • Comfortable clothes for after the birth – I took slouchy yoga type pants and a nice baggy top to hide my newly acquired pooch, trackpants will become your friend
  • Socks
  • Nana undies – the higher the better, especially if you have a c-section you don’t want ones that rub on your stitches. The Warehouse do awesome packs of nana gruts super cheap so you can chuck them after.. or keep wearing months after like me
  • Toilet paper – the hospital stuff is like baking paper and that’s the last thing you want to be dabbing on your lady bits. You can also get those amazing hoo-hah wet wipes, I used these once I got home (up until about 8 weeks when I got the courage to wipe and not dab)
  • Maternity pads – you’ll need em. The hospital supply you with ones that resemble a large single mattress but I found the libra maternity ones better as they had wings. In saying that, I was rolling two up (hospital ones) until I came home and once the bleeding died down I swapped over to the libra maternity liners
  • Maternity bras if you’re planning on breastfeeding, take sports bras with no underwire if you’re not going to BF. I don’t think I’ll ever wear a bra with underwire again, haha
  • Labour clothes – if you don’t want to get stuck in a hideous, unflattering hospital gown, pack some clothes you’d like to labour in. It all happened pretty fast for me so I ended up in a long singlet, it covered my lady bits while walking around the room (some dignity) but also meant the midwife etc could do their thang
  • Slippers & Dressing gown – a lot of people say the hospitals are hot but I personally found it bloody chilly!
  • PJ’s – Peter Alexander do amazing maternity pyjamas but they’re hella expensive, I was lucky enough to be gifted some
  • Phone/Tablet/Charger
  • Reading material – hell, ain’t nobody got time for that – I know I didn’t
  • Snacks: I took barley sugars, gummy snakes and Powerade. All of which got demolished during late nights feeds the following days
  • Essential oils (if this is your thang) – I used the Le’esscience Labour Blend & Clary Sage. They have a huge selection of ah-mazing pregnancy safe blends AND they’re made here in NZ
  • Your own pillow – hospital ones are s.h.i.t – make sure you use a bright pillowcase so you don’t forget it when you’re in a rush to get out of there!


(I went and raided Countdown/The Warehouse for all those mini travel bottles)

  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Hairbrush, Hair ties and a headband if you want to ensure your hair is out of your face
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Lip Balm
  • Moisturiser
  • Soap/Body Wash
  • Breast pads if you’re intending on BF’ing
  • Lanisoh (nipple cream)
  • Hand cream
  • BB cream – I could not be fucked with full on makeup but this made me feel, and look less like a zombie when it came time for visitors
  • Medications you may need
  • Weleda Hypercal Lotion if you have a vaginal birth – this stuff was amazing the weeks following, I chilled it in the fridge in a shot glass then syringed it onto my lady bits, you could always make a heap up in a pump bottle but I found this awkward as hell and it just ended up everywhere but on my hoo-hah

For partner/family/support person:

  • Camera (make sure you charge your battery or take spares) and don’t forget a big memory card!
  • List of people who need to be contacted after the birth if you’re not up for doing it
  • Snacks/drinks
  • Change for the carpark/food etc

For baby:

  • Hats, booties, scratch mittens (you can also use socks)
  • Light blanket or muslin for swaddling
  • Merino onesies – farmers are always have 50% off sales (some people prefer gowns as they’re easier for late night changes)
  • Singlets
  • Leggings (pretty sure I purchased half on Cotton On Kids before my child was even born)
  • Woollen cardigans
  • Baby wipes/nappies
  • Wool blanket
  • Capsule or carseat – the hospital generally check this on discharge

I packed all newborn clothes but our little guy was quite small so ended up in prem clothes for a week or two once we came home (he wasn’t prem), so if you think/know you’re having a wee babe then I would take 1-2 prem suits just in case.

Backup bag in the boot of the car:

  • 2 spare outfits for bubs
  • Extra blanket/swaddle in case other gets soiled
  • Extra nappies/wipes
  • Change of clothes for my partner + toiletries
  • Camera charger

Ladies, leave a towel in the car if your waters break at home and you have a wee (haha) drive to the hospital.

I know I am bound to have forgotten things so will add to the list and I remember and feel free to add suggestions in the comments and I will update!


  1. Fiona
    November 10, 2015 / 5:49 am

    Just wanted to put it out there that if your capsule/carseat doesn’t come with one adding an aftermarket head support is actually illegal and can be quite dangerous 🙂

    • November 10, 2015 / 5:52 am

      Thanks! Good point 🙂 will amend.

    • Nic
      September 27, 2016 / 5:33 am

      Hey, I am having trouble finding an official site that supports your comment (was trying to validate for myself).. Can you provide a reference / source / website?? Thanks!!

      • September 27, 2016 / 5:49 am

        I will try track something down as I’ve heard similar here in NZ.

      • Lisa
        December 5, 2016 / 2:51 am

        It might not be illegal as such but it will make your insurance not valid. It is part of your insurance not to use after market products.

  2. zoe
    November 10, 2015 / 12:02 pm

    thanks this is awesome 🙂
    did you do a list of baby essentials? would like to see one of those as there are so many things people tell you to get that are useless haha.

  3. August 21, 2016 / 4:35 am

    I’d add
    Dry shampoo – amazing what a quick spray can do to refresh your mood as well as your roots!
    Razor (All I wanted to do was shave my legs and under arms – make me feel less zombified!)
    Sleep mask – at least try to shut out some of the light from the 24 hour daylight in the hallways
    Ear plugs! Because, well birthing units are pretty loud 24/7

    As for the hairtie – I’ve been using a swirlydo since I was admitted to the birthing unit. 11 months later and I’m still using the same one. No hairtie lines, mum-bun goes up and down multiple times a day AND it’s a great teething aid when you forget to bring anything with you one day. Magic!

  4. Lisa
    December 5, 2016 / 2:50 am

    I would add that once packed to keep your bags in the car if you can. I had all my bags packed but they were at home and my waters broke while 20 min away from home at 35 weeks so i had to go straight to the hospital which was in the opposite direction to my house. I didnt have pads or hairties in my hand bag!!

  5. Caitlin
    December 5, 2016 / 5:00 am

    3 Bears do really awesome maternity pajamas if you can’t afford Peter Alexander. I lived in mine for the first few weeks (it was the middle of summer – too hot for track pants!)

  6. Caitlin
    December 5, 2016 / 5:02 am

    Ooh! I forgot to mention, a multi-box/extension cord is great for charging your phone and/or other devices, especially if you’re in for a longer stay (we both picked up infections while in hospital so had a 2 week stay)

  7. Arnah
    January 21, 2017 / 8:16 pm

    Hey, I have been looking up ideas for making frozen pads for after delivery. Do you think I could put the Weleda Hypercal lotion on the frozen pads? The ideas online say to put Whitchhazel and other essential oils. Thanks 🙂

    • January 23, 2017 / 11:43 pm

      Hey lovely, I am not entirely sure to be honest but I can’t see why not??

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