If you’re a first time parent, it can be quite overwhelming when it comes to packing a hospital bag for baby. In fact, even if this is your second or third pregnancy, it’s always tricky deciding what to take to hospital for baby.
No doubt you’ve probably started to make your own hospital checklist for baby, as well as ask your friends and family who’ve had kids before on their thoughts on what are the essentials for your baby hospital bag.
Google “hospital bag checklist for baby and mum” and you’ll find plenty of different options – however a lot of the things on these checklists are not that necessary, plus a lot of what you put on your own baby hospital bag list, comes down to personal choice.
If you’ve been searching for an essential yet comprehensive baby hospital bag checklist Australia has, then this is going to be the perfect guide for you. In this guide, I cover everything you need when packing your hospital bag for new baby.
In this hospital bag checklist for mum and baby, I’ll mention which items are essential as well as which are more optional items to consider. What I won’t do in this hospital bag checklist for pregnancy is list things that are not necessary – and believe me, after having three children, I know what items can be left at home.
Whether you’re packing a bag for hospital labor or packing hospital bag for c section, this guide will cover all the essentials. Hopefully, after you’ve read this maternity hospital bag checklist, you’ll feel a lot more confident about exactly what you need to pack in your hospital baby bag.
The Ultimate Hospital Checklist For Baby And You
To make it easy for you, below I’ve broken the list of things you need to pack in your hospital bag when having a baby among various categories.
The birth hospital bag list below covers all the necessities you need including paperwork, things you’ll need for labour or if you’re having a c-section, items both you and baby will need during your hospital stay as well as things you‘ll need for the day you leave.
Having a baby hospital bag checklist is going to ensure your mind is at ease and you’ve got one less thing to worry about before the big day arrives.
Paperwork You’ll Need To Pack
Clothing and baby items are usually at the top of every new mum’s packing list but don’t forget there are a few items of essential paperwork you’ll need in your maternity bag for hospital too.
Intake and discharge will be much easier if you remember these when you’re trying to decide what to pack for the baby hospital bag.
If you are using the public health service, don’t forget to bring your medicare card as you’ll need the details to receive free treatment.
Private Health Card
Likewise, if you pay for private health insurance, remember to put your private health card in your hospital bag for mum and baby.
This one is optional, although it’s a good idea to include one in your hospital bag when pregnant.
A birth plan is a plan written before labour that gives a detailed breakdown of how you want your birth to go. This includes methods of pain relief (if any), style of birth, e.g. water birth, who you want in the delivery room, and any other details you feel important. It can also include any additional contact information of your doctor or close family members.
Items You May Need For Labour
These are things you should consider packing in your mother and baby bag for hospital births and that you might need during labour. Some of these things are a personal choice, and no two mothers’ hospital bags will be exactly the same, but of course, it’s not a bad thing to over prepare. Rather than to be left wishing you had brought something you didn’t.
After speaking to lots of mums about what they ended up packing for hospital labour, here’s our exhaustive list for you to use as your hospital delivery bag checklist – it’s chock full of all the hospital bag essentials for mum and baby.
Old Nightie Or Oversized T Shirt
You can wear this to give birth in so chuck one in when you’re packing for hospital. Maternity wards sometimes provide gowns, but something of your own is much more comfortable.
You don’t want this to be a new nightie or your favourite t-shirt. As you probably know, it’s normal for there to be a bit of blood and other fluids during labour and delivery, so you’ll probably want to just throw it in the bin after you’re done.
Many mums like to stay mobile during labour as this can help to alleviate pain from contractions, encourage your pelvis to open, and generally move the process along quicker. A dressing gown is nice to have while you pace in your room or around the corridors and so it’s a staple on most mum’s hospital bag checklists.
Same goes for slippers – you don’t want cold feet when you’re walking around.
Again, you want to keep your feet warm when you are walking around. Socks are essential on every hospital bag for labour checklist.
Getting a lower back massage from your birthing partner can be an incredible relief during labour. It’s good to have some massage oil on your hospital bag checklist for birth
This Palmer’s massage oil has the added bonus of helping to relieve stretch marks and it doesn’t contain any parabens or phthalates. You can use it during pregnancy, labour, and after birth too.
To make your massage an even better experience, use a massage tool — this handheld massager makes the job easier for the masseuse and could provide even better pain relief and relaxation for you. It’s a great idea to throw one in your bag for the hospital when having a baby.
A birthing ball is similar to an exercise ball and they can be really handy to have if the baby won’t turn, to encourage labour or to relieve lower back pain. Some hospitals might be able to provide them so check beforehand, but if not, it makes a great addition to your maternity bag checklist for hospital labours.
A good birth ball should have a non-slip coating. Check out this excellent quality birth ball on Amazon with fab feedback from heaps of mums.
During labour getting hot flashes and feeling super sweaty is (understandably) pretty common. A spray bottle is nice to have to relieve this. You could also use baby wipes if you have them in your bag.
Snacks And Drinks
This one doesn’t need much explanation – your favourite snacks and drinks are nice to have in arm’s reach, so you’re not relying on hospital food. Since you don’t know exactly how long you’re going to be at the hospital, bring plenty.
Many women say they can’t eat anything during labour, but a friend of mine ate through everything she brought with her, so it’s best not to risk it. I managed to get through a 36 hour labour without eating thanks to the Powerade drinks I’d packed. Otherwise, I’m not sure I would have made it!
Definitely put them at the top of your hospital bag checklist for labour.
When you pack for hospital labour – a pillow is a must have! Yes, there will be pillows at the hospital, but you may find they’re not the right firmness, thickness, material etc. Definitely bring your own pillow(s) if you’re particular about this.
Plus, you can NEVER have too many pillows when you’re trying to get comfortable through contractions. It can be handy to have extra pillows so you can position yourself and feel better supported.
Most hospitals won’t have special maternity pillows that can help to ease your discomfort either. You might want to check out this fab pillow by Woolcomfort which is still really useful after birth as a breastfeeding pillow. Definitely include it on your hospital bag for labour checklist!
Heat packs can make a great addition to your labour hospital bag checklist. Most women agree that heat can be a godsend during contractions.
During labour, heat packs can do wonders to make you feel more comfortable and reduce the pain of contractions or lower back pain. Try this wheat pack with calming lavender scent if you need to find a good one.
Listening to your favourite music can help take your mind off early contractions or create a more calming environment to give birth. If you’ve got nothing to distract yourself with you’re more likely to concentrate on any feelings of discomfort. Prepare a playlist to help get you through.
Camera And Charger
If you’ve got a fancy camera, you’re probably planning to bring it along. The last thing you want is for it to be out of battery and to have forgotten the charger so don’t forget to put it in your labour hospital bag.
Phone And Charger
Sometimes, labour can drag on a bit. There’s usually a good few hours of waiting around. You’ll definitely want something to occupy your time with, so a phone and charger is an absolute must. Of course, you can also use it to keep friends and family updated on your progress.
Don’t forget these, especially if this is your first or you expect a long labour! There is a high chance you will end up watching some form of entertainment at some point during early labour or a prolonged hospital stay.
Check out these wireless headphones on Amazon that have superb sound quality. They could be a really great way to listen to calming music or meditations between contractions so you can try to zone out.
Books And/Or Magazine
If you’re a reader, be sure to bring a book (or two) and/or magazines for both you and your partner. During early labour, there can be a lot of time to kill between contractions and just sitting wondering when the next one will come will drive you a little crazy!
If you’re going to be waiting around with your partner/friend/family then card games are an excellent way to pass the time together.
During pregnancy and labour, you might find that your lips become drier and more chapped than normal because gas and air as a pain reliever can dry them out super fast.
Hairbrush, Hair Ties, Etc.
Brushing your hair and having a shower after birth will make you feel like a whole new woman, trust me! When you’re in active labour, the last thing you’ll want is hair in your eyes and face or probably touching you in any way……..welcome to the world of the “mum bun”.
In case you’ve forgotten anything in your hospital bag, or you just fancy a cold drink, you’ll want some money for you or your loved one to nip to the shop/vending machine. A bit of cash, including coins, is nice to have.
Items You May Need For Your Hospital Stay
Packing for hospital births is exciting, but you need to be practical and think about what you’ll need after labour and birth too. You’re going to be away from home and although hopefully, it won’t be for too long, you don’t want to be missing home comforts or critical baby equipment when you’ve got enough on your mind as it is.
That’s why we’ve written this comprehensive list of all the things most mums felt were essential or nice to have on their mum hospital bag checklist.
If you plan on breastfeeding, a nursing bra is a must on any pregnancy bag hospital checklist. A nursing bra is like a regular bra, but the cups have fold down panels that can make breastfeeding a simpler process since you don’t have to take off your entire bra.
This bra by Lataly is offered in a range of sizes and colours, provides excellent coverage and is comfortable enough to sleep in.
Most women find that breasts do leak a bit in between feedings. Your milk may not come in whilst still in hospital (it can take a few days) but sometimes it can turn up very quickly!
Breast pads are there to prevent milk from soaking into your bra and clothes, so this is an essential item on your hospital bag maternity checklist. You can get reusable pads or disposable ones. If you think you’ll prefer disposable, check out these ultra-thin ones from Medela – they won’t add extra bulk to your bra.
Breastfeeding mums can find their nipples get dry and sore for a while during the first few days to weeks. You can use cream to alleviate this.
Lansinoh is a very popular brand in Australia and even some hospitals stock this for new mums. It’s 100 percent natural and is safe for both mum and baby. You don’t even need to wipe it off before feeding. Pick it up on Amazon.
After birth, you’ll experience some bleeding called lochia. You can use regular period pads after a short while, but maternity pads are a must for the first week or so. They’re much more absorbent and can handle the heavy bleeding you should expect while still in the hospital.
These maternity pads by TOM Organic are the ones that I used with my second two babies and they are great. Super soft on sensitive stitches, very absorbent and they didn’t feel quite as bulky in my underwear as the brand I used with my first.
Breast Feeding Nightie Or Tops
It’s annoying having to take off your top every time you need to breastfeed your baby and some first time mums don’t even think about this for their hospital stay. There are many new things to learn with a newborn and trying to breastfeed – this is one of the first.
Special breastfeeding tops make this a lot simpler since they’ll have openable flaps for quick access when baby is hungry (i.e all the time at first!!). This option looks great (nobody would guess it’s a breastfeeding top unless they’re in the know) and could be worn under a cardigan/jumper.
Other Comfortable Clothes
Hospital bags for mum and baby aren’t complete without super comfy clothes. When you’ve just had a baby, all you want to be wearing is your most comfortable clothes (sweatpants, comfy shorts, jumpers, loose dresses).
Bring extra changes of clothes since you never know if you’ll have to stay a bit longer than planned and if something gets dirty it’s nice to have plenty of spares.
Comfortable Going Home Clothes
When it’s time to go home, you may want to have a specific outfit for this, for example, if it’s going to be cold getting to the car or if you want your partner to take photos. Remember, comfort is the key and something loose is perfect.
Unfortunately, once baby is born, you won’t magically fit back into those skinny jeans. Keep this in mind when you decide what you need in your hospital bag when having baby.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and dry shampoo are important. If there’s anything else you use in your personal hygiene routine, be sure to include it.
It’s nice to buy mini products of the ones you use at home so that you don’t forget anything in a rush to the hospital. Another option could be to buy little mini empty bottles and fill them with all your favourite products.
Old, Large Underwear
Underwear needs to be able to fit those large maternity pads and accommodate for any possible stitches or c section wounds. Things can be a bit sore and tender down there, so you’ll want larger underwear that’s not going to cause discomfort. If you don’t have any suitable underwear, try these super comfy pairs.
Baby Keepsake Book
If you’re interested in making one of these, bring it along with you so you can start recording memories right from day one! If you’re looking for inspiration, this one is really adorable and, best of all, it’s gender neutral.
Items Baby Will Need For The Hospital Stay
Now you’ve ticked off everything you need for yourself, what do you need to remember for the baby when packing the baby bag for hospital? Your hospital list for baby should include enough clothes and necessities to get you through a few days since you never know exactly how long you’ll be staying.
This next section will make sure you don’t forget any of those newborn hospital bag essentials!
Perhaps you’ve already got some of these, but they are a real must for your newborn baby bag for hospital. If not, check these Bonds ones out. They are so adorable with loads of designs to pick from and have the famous two-way zipper for easy nappy changes.
Bonds are loved all over Australia for providing some of the best baby suits and my baby basically lived in them for the first 6 months – they really are super high quality.
3-4 Socks Or Booties
Baby feet can get cold easily, especially with hospital air conditioning. These super-soft cotton socks come in a choice of colours and have soft seams, so baby’s delicate toes aren’t irritated.
Because newborns don’t have much control over their arms and hands yet, they can accidentally scratch their faces and eyes, especially when sleeping. These mittens come in a pack of two and are such a bargain.
These are great hospital clothes for the baby since if it’s a bit chilly, it’s easy to layer without creating loads of bulk and if it’s too warm in there baby won’t overheat. Check out this bargain for a two-pack.
Baby will need a hat at the hospital to keep warm, so be sure to include it in your newborn hospital bag. L’ovedbaby makes a lovely cotton beanie you can choose from a range of adorable styles (remember, you’re going to be taking loads of pics with baby in this hat, so get one you love).
When the baby is sleeping a muslin or bamboo wrap helps them feel safe and secure (like being in the womb). These gorgeous muslin wraps by Little Archer & Co. are breathable and washing machine friendly. They’ll make a great addition to your new baby hospital bag and you’ll use them for months afterwards (my daughter still took hers to bed with her at 18 months old!).
Use these when bathing baby, if they need a quick wipe down or to clean up milk. They can also come in handy for milk leaks if you don’t have a breast pad on hand or they are a super eco-friendly and non-toxic way to wipe your baby’s bum at nappy changes.
They need to be super soft; otherwise, you’ll risk irritating your baby’s sensitive skin. These Bubba Blue washers come in a pack of three and are made of silky soft cotton velour. Definitely throw them in your newborn bag for hospital.
When bathtime is done, you’ll need a towel. Baby towels should be super absorbent, so you don’t need to rub too much and really soft for sensitive skin. Bubba Blue makes a hooded towel that matches their face washers that are popular with mums and looks adorable.
Nappies are the obvious hospital bag essentials for baby. Bring quite a few of these if you only want to use a particular brand, since you’ll be changing nappies every two to three hours!
Huggies are a popular brand and you get a month’s supply on Amazon much cheaper than what you’ll typically pay at the shop. Or, if you want to try a more eco-conscious (and cheaper in the long run) option, give these reusable cloth nappies a whirl.
Don’t worry about overloading your bag with nappies though, the hospital always has them and if you want a particular brand, you can always send your partner out for more.
These are essentials for any baby bag hospital checklist. You might want to give reusable baby wipes a go at home since these are much better for the planet (and cheaper in the end).
But, when at the hospital and without access to washing facilities, you’ll need some disposable ones. Pick up this box of 400 Huggies wipes that are soft, thick, and absorbent for a great price on Amazon.
When you’ve got baby over your shoulder to burp them, there will usually be a bit of spit up or baby could even have a little reflux. These cloths are designed to absorb it all and to try at least to spare your clothing from most of it.
Newborn baby skin is extremely sensitive and needs to be kept moisturised with fragrance-free lotion. Johnson’s baby lotion is a trusted brand and is sold on Amazon cheaper than a typical shop price. It’s also free from parabens, phthalates, sulphates and dyes.
Don’t just use it on baby either. Going with fragrance-free options for yourself is a good idea to keep baby calm and snuggling into your scent.
Equipment For Formula Fed Babies – Sterilising Equipment, Formula
If you’ve already decided that you want your baby to be formula fed or have to for medical reasons, you’ll want some feeding equipment on your newborn hospital bag list. You’ll need a bottle and formula.
It’s recommended to sterilise your equipment before use. You can do this by boiling them, using tablets, an electric steriliser or a microwavable steriliser. When preparing for the hospital, consider what will be easiest for you.
For bottles, you’ll want quality products and it’s a good idea to get a uniform set so all the pieces, like lids and teats, are interchangeable (trust me rummaging through bottles and lids to find matching ones is not fun).
This Philips Avent starter set has had phenomenal feedback from happy mums and comes with 4 bottles, 4 teats, a dummy and a cleaning brush. It’s great value for the amount of stuff you get. They also do a microwave steam steriliser which is ready in just two minutes.
For formula, obviously, you want the best out there for your baby. This Nestle Nan Supreme for newborns is backed by 150 years of nutrition expertise and is highly rated among mums.
Items You May Need for Leaving the Hospital
When it’s time to take the baby home, there are just a couple of things you’ll need to tick off your maternity hospital bag list. These are bigger ticket items that you won’t just need for the hospital but potentially for years if you buy the right product.
You’ll want a baby diaper bag for hospital and when travelling home to keep everything organised. This can also be used time and time again in the months and years to come.
This bag by HapTim looks so stylish you would never think it was a nappy bag. It’s perfectly designed to store nappies, wipes, even bottles and whatever else you, baby, or the rest of your family needs on an outing. You could also use it as your hospital bag for the baby.
This is an absolute must since most mums will be getting home in a car and it is illegal to transport a baby in a car without a correctly fitted car seat that meets Australian Safety Standards. It must be rear facing and designed for newborns.
Instead of the standard car seat, you can decide to get a capsule car seat – this is a car seat that makes the transition from car to home seamless. The base always stays in the car, but the capsule detaches so you can just bring it inside with baby asleep/comfy in their seat.
If you get this kind then you probably don’t need to worry about a pram yet as you can just carry the baby from the hospital, safely strapped into their seat.
If you are travelling home by car then you probably don’t need to bring a pram. Most parents just carry the baby in their arms while a partner or friend carries the bags and gear.
If you have a lot of stuff (like your hospital bag for childbirth and items for the stay) and it’s a bit of a walk to the car park, a pram could be easier to transport baby. This pram by Baby Jogger is a great lightweight pram that is built to last and lies fully flat for newborns.
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Sharon is a proud Melbournian mum of 3 who blogs for a living in between parenting and (thanks to coronavirus) homeschooling.