Some mums are adamant you bring along EVERYTHING. Others swear by packing light.
Either way, the hospital bag is something mamas-to-be spend a whole load of time contemplating.
Of course, there is no doubt having it all to hand is preferable. However, don’t fret too much if you do forget something – you can stock up in the hospital shop, or else just send someone out for supplies as needed.
It’s actually a good idea to pack a few smaller bags: one with your stuff, one with the baby’s, and finally a third with going-home clothes and bits and bobs for you both. This saves you rooting around when you arrive.
Consider getting things together from week 32 onwards too. Here, we pare it all back – detailing what you ACTUALLY need and presenting the ultimate, no-nonsense hospital bag guide...
Bring lots of pairs of big comfy knickers (along with maternity bras if you’re planning to breast-feed). You might want to consider disposable underwear.
Don’t forget cosy socks too. And maternity pads (you can pick them up in pharmacies and supermarkets) – bring two packs.
You’ll need a loose nightshirt with a button-down front for labour plus three pairs of pyjamas (post-partum bleeding and sweating at night means you could need a change) preferably in darker colours.
You’ll want a dressing gown and easy-to-slip on slippers for popping to the toilet.
Select something straightforward to wear for leaving hospital too – probably something from your maternity wardrobe.
Nursing pads are a must if you’re breast-feeding (The JOHNSON’S® brand has the perfect ones). You’ll be thankful for gel breast pads to soothe your nipples also. Pack your own pillow (a godsend).
Bring along earphones, electronic devices and chargers (but leave books at home – they won’t be read!). A travel-sized hairdryer is worthwhile. You’ll get plenty of food in hospital, but healthy snacks are a good idea nonetheless.
Just consider whatever you’d bring on holidays: toothbrush and paste, shampoo and conditioner, shower gel, deodorant, hairbrush, bobbins, clips and a handful of makeup essentials.
Pack three or four towels in dark colours as the hospital won’t provide those. Same goes for flip-flops to use in the shower.
A shower cap is good if you want to freshen up without having to bother with your hair. Lots of mums swear by a bottle of hydrating face mist too.
Bring along two water bottles with a sports drinking cap: if peeing is painful in the days following labour, you’ll be able to squirt the fresh water to relieve the sting.
A pen and notebook is useful and while it’s not a good idea to bring a lot of cash, pack away some change and smaller denominations for the hospital shop.
We suggest leaving jewellery – including your wedding and engagement ring – at home.
6) Clothes for the baby
Think quantity! We suggest eight babygros, eight vests, two hats, six pairs of socks, a couple of cardigans, eight bibs and some scratch mittens.
Then consider what they’ll be leaving in; in winter you’ll need a snowsuit or warm onesie and a woolly hat.
Furthermore you’ll need a couple of cosy blankets for swaddling (the cellular versions are recommended).
7) Toiletries for the baby
Nappies, nappies, nappies! Bring around 12 for each day you’ll be in hospital. On that note – nappy bags are handy too.
Pack wipes and cotton pads, the JOHNSON'S® Cottontouch™ range gets our vote for those. It’s clinically proven to be safe for baby from day 1
Cotton squares are a must too.
8) Car seat
This can be brought in by your partner on the day you’re leaving, but it’s no harm to have the car seat out by the front door, or already in the car ready to go beforehand.