Did you know that 21% of mums-to-be pre-pack their hospital bag 4 weeks or more in advance.
At Cadenshae we surveyed 247 amazing mums about when they packed a hospital bag, how long they packed for and what they pre-packed. With their help, we also created a downloadable hospital bag checklist full of the best tips on what on how to pre-pack a hospital bag.
In this case study results are from mothers that packed a hospital bag or bags in preparation for a natural or caesarean section birth. 71% surveyed had natural births in their last pregnancy and 29% had caesarean section births.
So what is in this case study?
- When did they pack a hospital bag?
- Were they first time mums?
- How long did they pack for?
- How long was their hospital stay actually for?
- What were the most commonly packed items?
- What didn’t they pack that they wished they had?
- How many bags did they pack?
- What was the second bag for?
- What advice did they have about pre-packing hospital bags?
- HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST PDF. [Download & Print]
1. When did they pack a hospital bag?
- 8% When they went to the hospital to give birth.
- 17% 1-7 days before going to the hospital to give birth.
- 27% 1-2 weeks before going to the hospital to give birth.
- 24% 2-4 weeks before going to the hospital to give birth.
- 21% More than 4 weeks before going to the hospital to give birth.
- 3% Didn't pack a hospital bag.
2. Were they first time mums last time they packed a hospital bag?
- 64% Yes.
- 36% No.
3. How long of a stay in the hospital did they pack for?
- 12% packed for 1 night.
- 38% packed for 2 nights.
- 28% packed for 3 nights.
- 10% packed for 4 nights.
- 12% packed for 5 nights or more.
4. How long was their hospital stay actually for?
- 22% 1 night.
- 28% 2 nights.
- 19% 3 nights.
- 15% 4 nights.
- 16% 5 nights or more.
5. What were the most commonly packed items?
- 100% Clothes for baby.
- 95% Underwear.
- 94% Nursing bras.
- 94% Toiletries.
- 94% Clothes to wear home.
- 94% Phone and charger.
- 84% Baby blanket.
- 80% Hair bands.
- 80% Breast pads.
- 80% Heavy duty sanitary pads.
- 79% Socks.
- 78% Lip balm.
- 77% Nappies.
- 74% Pyjamas.
- 74% Casual clothes.
- 71% Snacks.
- 69% Baby Wipes.
- 68% Drink bottle.
- 46% Lanolin cream.
- 46% Nipple cream.
- 41% Slippers.
- 40% Cosmetics.
- 39% Dressing gown.
- 32% Pillow.
- 24% Camera and charger.
- 14% Birth plan.
- 12% Essential oils.
- 12% Journal and pen.
- 9% Magazines.
- 8% Feeding cover.
- 7% Laptop and charger.
- 4% Arnica cream.
6. What didn’t they pack that they wished they had?
- I was well prepared or overpacked.
- I didn’t use half the things I packed.
- It was my second birth so I had everything I needed.
- I'm an over preparer so for me and baby I had everything I needed or wanted.
16% More food.
- Snacks (for dad too).
- Snacks, the hospital didn't have anything gluten free.
- More healthy and filling snacks!
- Healthy snacks and fresh fruit.
- Lactation cookies. I was so hungry in between meals and due to breastfeeding was constantly famished!
- Chocolate, lollies or treats.
16% More clothes for me.
- Underwear. (I bled more the second time around and was not prepared!).
- I needed more supportive high waisted underwear.
- Granny undies, the extra extra high ones for after my unexpected caesarean.
- Low riding underwear for use after emergency caesarean.
- Nursing bras and tops.
- Breastfeeding singlets.
- More casual lounge type clothes. Loose fitting, comfortable pants. Over the belly leggings.
- Clothes that were loose enough to deal with a caesarean birth.
- Robe and/or extra pairs of pyjamas! (My only pair didn't make it through the first night and I ended up in my husband’s boxers and shirt that I'd packed for him in case we had a water birth and he needed dry clothing).
- An oversized tee for straight after birth.
- Definitely a bigger shirt! The one I ended up wearing home was a nursing shirt that was a tad bit too tight on the boobs!
- More singlets to wear, I didn't expect it to be so hot in the ward/rooms.
- More comfortable going home outfit.
- I stayed for two weeks so basically needed a whole wardrobe.
9% Certain toiletries.
- Thicker face cream as the air con is super drying.
- Nose spray! Weird but it must be the hospital air drys everything out.
- Distilled witch hazel.
- Lavender or eucalyptus disinfectant spray for refreshing smells in Labour. (My SIL has it her birth I attended. It was so beautiful and refreshing.
- Too much information but a spray water bottle or similar, to help wash clean when in the toilet.
- Postpartum spray from Eko Hub. I didn’t discover that until I was home!
- Eye mask as you have to sleep with the night light on for the nurses.
- Hair bands, body wash/soap, dry shampoo, make up, or a razor.
- Tea tree spray.
7% Things to do.
- Cell phone, tablet, iPad or laptop, an extra long charger cord and earphones.
- Baby book - to get the footprints. the nurses do a great job getting those.
- Book/magazines or thank you cards to finish thank you notes while baby napped or between visitors.
- Notebook/diary and pen and my baby journal to document labour, birth and feeding bubs after.
7% Pillow and/or blanket. Something for extra warmth.
- My own pillow, a blanket for me and/or nursing pillow.
- Extra blanket for baby for feeds during the night! He was a winter baby!
- A comfy blanket that wasn’t too hot.
- Wheat bag, hot water bottle.
6% Nipple cream, breast pads and/or maxi pads.
- Adult diapers. Unfortunately for me, heavy duty pads can and do leak.
- Lanolin cream.
5% Smaller clothes for baby.
4% Slippers, socks or slip on shoes
- Slip on shoes to wear home.
- Compression socks.
- Slippers, my feet were freezing!
- Jandals for the shower.
4% Nappies, wipes, onesies, wondersuit, swaddle and/or more baby clothes.
1% Breast pump.
- My pump supplies. My little guy ended up in the NICU for five nights, and pumping was my only option at first.
- Coconut water - felt super dehydrated after.
- Reusable water bottle.
3% Other bits and pieces.
- Money for the vending machine, earplugs, beer for dad and melatonin.
- Social insurance number.
- Stuff to help my milk come in eg. Complan, brewers yeast, and kiwi fruit juice.
- An extra empty tote bag to carry all the bits and pieces people bring to the hospital for you.
- Boobie ice packs.
- My present for the toddler from the baby and for the baby from the toddler.
- Container or snap bag - for the jewellery I had to remove. I ended up losing my earrings.
7. How many bags did they pack?
- 47% packed 1 bag.
- 53% packed 2 bags.
8. What was the second bag for?
- 70% one bag for baby and one bag for me.
- 12% one bag for labour/birth and one bag for the hospital stay.
- 8% second bag for extra stuff.
- 7% second bag was for my partner and an overflow of mine and the baby’s bag.
- 3% second bag was for snacks.
As you can see the most popular method of how to pack multiple hospital bags is to pack one for the baby and one for yourself, however, packing one bag for your labour/birth and one for your hospital stay is also an effective and organised way of packing your hospital bags.
9. What advice did they have about pre-packing hospital bags?
Take plenty of full brief undies (not hipster). You don't need loads of outfits, just clothes that are loose-fitting, comfortable and breastfeeding accessible.
Cull things from your hospital bag or have another bag full of maybes at home that dad can bring later if you need.
Take only things that you absolutely need to feel comfortable.
Start putting things together early and just add to it as you get closer and closer to giving birth.
Take very large BLACK pants.
Make sure you bring your own pillow and comfortable clothes!
You don’t need the kitchen sink.
Don't overdo it on the clothes front. You are not going to care about looking your best. After two days it was just easier to wear the loose-fitting hospital gowns for easy access.
Definitely do it at least 5 weeks before you’re due. I went into hospital at 35 weeks and was told bubs could arrive any day. Fortunately, he stayed in until my c-section date. 😀
You don’t need bibs 😂 for newborns.
Don’t go overboard! Have an essential bag that goes in when you get admitted, leave anything excessive in the car and it can always be grabbed later if you need it!
Heavy duty pads! NECESSARY.
Don't worry about what you look like, just be comfortable!
Take more rather than less!
Unless you live really far from the hospital less is better. For vaginal births, you're out right away and for c-sections, your partner can always go get what you need.
You won’t use half the things you pack... especially makeup and a hair straightener.
Pack comfy clothes and your own toiletries.
Don’t stress about it, you will forget stuff and your friends and family are more than happy to bring you anything you forget.
Pack comfy undies - granny ones!
Loads of snacks! Bring plastic bags to put washing in, also pack more things that will make you feel good - practical or not! Shampoo, face oil and hair straightener!
If you are getting induced a nightie is good. For afterwards a comfy simple breastfeeding bra and top. You have your boobs out all the time!
Try not over think it there is always going to be something you forget.
Don’t pack too much.
You won’t use most of it but you’ll be glad you brought it.
Pack for a few days just in case.
Pack disposable underwear!
Check in advance what your hospital will provide you with. In Ontario Canada, the hospital does not provide diapers, wipes or sanitary napkins (sanitary napkins only provided in the labour room). Definitely bring snacks and a water bottle.
Keep it simple.
Comfy undies, plenty of sanitary pads and snacks.
You can’t ever have too much.
Keep a list of things to add to the bag when you are in labour (toothbrush, charger etc).
Take the little things that make you feel comfortable and homely. Your hospital stay may be short or long but can be a little foreign and may even make you feel a little homesick, even though you have your new baby with you. If your partner or someone else is not staying with you overnight.
Pack incontinence pads/underwear. Lifesaver for the first few days.
Earlier the better, you can always add more or change things out.
You don’t need everything!! The hospital has things and if you need it someone will bring it up!
Pack lots of snacks!
Have a backup bag in the car with extra clothes for you and bub that someone can get out if needed in case you run out of things and stay for longer then expected.
Put baby clothes in zip lock bags with all the items needed for the change so you do not have to look for tiny items.
It's better to overpack than under pack.
Comfy clothes for sure and try not to over pack.
Get it done early! I went into preterm labour at 32 weeks 6 days and my water broke so it was chaos trying to pack a bag for me and baby in 15 - 20 mins.
Overpack just in case you have to stay longer than planned.
Don’t overdo it! The hospital provides EVERYTHING for the baby (minus go-home clothes) and you won’t want to pack up too many of your own clothes.
Wearing a skirt was helpful for me. Going three days lots of checks downstairs and I could just hitch my skirt up. Also, I took my UE boom in, the background music was awesome.
Make sure there's some extra stuff for your partner, undies, change of clothes, deodorant etc. And super comfy clothes for yourself! Also, take a variety of baby clothes sizes as they might not fit. Our bub was 9lb and didn't fit a few newborn things we had taken.
Bring snacks and frozen pads! Can't have enough of either!
Don’t forget your phone charger.
Don’t overpack. You probably won’t need as much as you think. Don’t forget your phone charger!
You don’t need half of what you pack. Narrow it down. I opted to wear their gowns instead of my own robe because I was so gross for so long. Pack shampoo, theirs is no good. Lip balm is a must.
Do it well before your due date in case the baby comes early and don't forget snacks for the father. They can be annoying if they suddenly decide they are hungry during your labour.
Pack your bag, then unpack it & see if there are things that you really don't need. Then repack it, you'll find some stuff isn't needed. And ask your friends what they put in their bags.
Make sure to bring anything that is part of your “normal” routine to help you feel more comfortable.
Don’t worry about packing too many casual clothes. Pack comfy lose clothes since you’ll be in your hospital bed a lot. Don’t bother with too much makeup or hair styling tools - you won’t use them! Remember flip flops for the showers. Hospital bathrooms are surprisingly not that clean.
Pack comfy clothes and snacks.😊
Pack a hospital bag early enough so you don’t have to worry about it and make sure you have the things you want. Find out what your hospital provides so you don’t need to bring those items with you.
Don’t worry about diapers and wipes. The hospital gives you plenty to make it home. Plan on taking things that make you comfortable in a cold environment.
Don’t overpack, a friend or family can bring anything you forget.
You likely won’t need a lot of clothing for yourself or baby. Baby stays naked and swaddled for easy access for doctors and nurses and it’s comfy to just wear the gown for a bit for mama! Good luck mamas don’t stress... also snacks are a must.
Don’t overpack baby clothes! The nurses want them to be naked for quite some time haha.
Have a hospital bag ready early so it’s one less thing to do/worry about and anticipate that you will pack it a few times!
Pack earplugs if you are going public! Have a "labour bag" and a separate "hospital stay" bag.
Do it early so you don't have to think about it later.
You’ll always forget something.
Do it early so you don't forget anything in the rush! My babe was born almost 3 weeks early! And wear a nursing bra in labour. Chances are you will have an IV put in and you won't be able to get a non-nursing bra off, and you'll want to nurse baby right away!
Bring something to wear besides the hospital gown.
Pack snacks, you’ll be hungry! And a few water bottles so you always have some cold and handy.
Bring essentials for you, nothing is too silly to bring.
Most hospitals/birthing centres supply wipes and nappies for your baby so don't stress about those! Make sure you have a warm hat at the ready if you have a c-section.
Don’t worry about appearance, the first few days are about you and baby bonding so easy comfy clothes for you is what you will use most. Also flip flops, because your feet will swell even more after birth.
Do it early, but don't stress if you forget something as you can always ask a relative or friend to bring you what you need.
One for me, one for baby, was easier for hubby after birth knowing which stuff was where.
I kept all of baby’s stuff in a separate bag.
I had twins so had to pack a lot of clothes for them including prem clothes as they came at 37 weeks.
We packed extra supplies. Baby was premie so we prepared for the long haul.
1 bag for me, 1 bag for baby and 1 bag for my husband.
Pack a labour bag - hospital bag - nappy bag.
Pack one hospital bag and one for the birthing centre afterwards.
Pack heavy awkward stuff - laptop, shoes, reusable coffee mugs in an extra bag.
We packed extra stuff of what was in the first bag in case of an unexpected longer stay. Easier for hubby to run home and grab without worrying about packing the wrong stuff.
In the labour suite, we weren’t allowed a large bag in there so the first bag had the baby’s first outfit, blanket and a few other little things for me.
Pack more changes for yourself than you think you'll need. I hoped to go home within a day and didn't even factor in for needing to stay longer and as lovely as they are, new dads are a bit brain foggy and might struggle to remember to bring you back the things you request!
Have your post-delivery shower toiletries and change of clothes in a separate bag at the top of your hospital bag.
Bring only comfy clothes and invest in a good nursing bra.
Pack what you think is important. If you forget anything, someone will bring it up for you.
Don't go too overboard, you don't end up using half of it!
Pack snacks! Prepare for a longer stay just in case. I planned a natural one night in hospital birth but ended up having a c-section. Luckily I was prepared.
Pack what you think you need then halve it. You won’t use half of it!
Pack your most versatile, comfortable, loose clothes, don’t bother packing pre-pregnancy clothes they are not going to fit just yet! e.g. skinny jeans.
Pack shampoo and body wash as the hospital does not always supply this and you will need a nice shower afterwards. (I had to use hand soap :|)
Just take the basics, you can always send your partner/Mum/friend to get other things.
Don’t overthink it, just pack the basics as your hubby can bring anything else.
Don’t forget wipes! Pack the stuff you need straight away like baby’s clothes, pads and lip balm on the top.
Don't be afraid to throw anything in there you might need. You never know how long your hospital stay will be and it's easy to carry it all home again and nice to have it there if you need it.
Pack it early in advance as you will probably readjust and repack a few times before you need it. Take a cooler bag and ice pack with your expressed colostrum. Don’t over pack - a few changes of clothes for you and bubs is plenty.
Make sure you pack extra breast and maternity pads. Having a bag pre-packed 6 weeks prior to my due date made me feel like I was prepared for labour (even though I totally wasn’t).
Have it ready early just in case. You don’t need as many clothes as you think!
Find a hospital bag checklist and go from there.
Pack some 0 - 3 month clothing as well as newborn just in case! Better to have too many clothes for baby than not enough.
You don’t need nearly as much as you think you do.
Make sure you have comfy supportive clothes and underwear.
Unless your baby has poo explosions, you are not going to need 10 pairs of clothes. Also, the best advice I was given was to pack Ural.
Don't forget hair ties and snacks. Be prepared for a 5 night stay.
Make a list, check it off as you pack. Then get a bag checklist off Pinterest and check you’ve got everything on those lists too. There are some great ones on Pinterest. Also, you can never pack enough snacks.
Lots of snacks.
Don't panic about it, if you forget anything someone can bring it to you. Also, I used half the stuff I packed.
Take your hospital bag with you everywhere! Leave it in your car.
Don’t overthink it, you’ll have visitors that will want to be helpful and bring things in! Baby doesn’t need much but you’ll want to be comfortable. 😊
Take a few different size onesies for your babe and make sure you pack a swaddle.
Pack extra baby clothes and maternity pads - my hospital didn't provide any and we went through 6 during labour alone.
Even if your midwife/OB tells you what size the baby will be, still pack clothes in a smaller size!
Pack a month before baby is due! My water broke at 37 weeks and we were so unprepared.
Don’t overthink it. This first time we had like 3 bags (one for me, one for hubby, one for baby) and it was way too much! Such a hassle when you getting ready to leave.
Just take the essentials. I didn’t use half of what I packed.
Always pack BIG knickers. Also, pack something that will make you feel good about yourself. e.g. a nice colourful top.
Don’t pack too much, have another bag at home with more things if you are in for an extended time.
The hospital has everything your baby needs except clothes :) I packed too many nappies. :)
Make a checklist and a ‘throw in at last minute’ checklist.
Be prepared for anything and everything. Make sure you have comfortable clothes too, the bag is for both you and baby.
You don’t need as much stuff as you think you do.
Have a few extra baby singlets, rompers in the car in case you get a spewy baby. I packed the same amount as when I had my first but by day 2 of 4 ended up going through them all including bub’s going home outfit (needed it the middle of the night!).
Follow Jess Bovey’s hospital essentials list!
Pack whatever is going to make you feel most at ease.
Pack more baby clothes than you think you’ll need. They spill and pee over everything!
You really don’t need to pack clothes, cause you’ll most likely just wear the hospital gown. I wore the same clothes out as I wore going in, oh and bring flip flops!
Pack comfy clothes for yourself and pack early. Bluetooth speaker (used in labour and in the room daily).
Pack big granny undies, lots of suits with zips for bub and comfortable nursing singlets.
You do you. Pack what you think will make you feel good/better/comfortable. But at the end of the day, the only thing really critical is knowing you have a safe car seat so you can take bubs home. Other than that, if it’s your first baby and you plan to breastfeed, a top you can get your boobs fully out of (something like a button front shirt, rather than a feeding top that might provide more modesty but is probably better suited once you’ve got the hang of it) is a tip from me. Makes it easier if you’re not fighting with fabric while you’re getting to know your boobs.
Don't take too much!
Make lists for your husband of the things that still need to go into the bag last minute.
Be organised early.
Do your research, but take whatever you feel you should. You’ll know for next time how little you actually need to take.
Bring something that gives you comfort (pillow, blanket). Bring chapstick and a water bottle!
Make sure you have it packed ready to go. Nothing more stressful (IMO) than trying to pack when you are stressed. It's ok to over pack. Better than being under packed. If you forget something it's ok. Someone can bring it into you. Bring a nice shower gel with you so you can associate it with the memories when you get home.
Big comfy undies and black pants for afterwards. Nipple cream and also, don't forget people can bring you things you need.
Comfy clothes! Wondersuits.
Take more than one change of clothes for yourself and pack for aircon.
Make sure you’re comfortable. Take flip flops so you don’t have to walk around barefoot and snacks.
Check what your hospital supplies, if they supply nappies & wipes don’t take any! Do pack decent toiletries for yourself, a nice moisturizer & body scrub is something small that will make you feel human again. Big black undies for the maternity pads.
Focus equally as much on your own recovery and comfort as baby.
Only pack tops and PJs that are button down so you can have easy skin to skin contact with bubs.
Essentials vs luxuries.
Check with the hospital what they will provide then start from there. Think about stuff that will make you feel good.
Pack your favourite and most comfortable clothes so you can feel somewhat normal after the tiresome and crazy birthing process.
Download a hospital bag checklist online.
Only pack the essentials.
Keep a list of items you want/need to bring to help keep your bag organised!
Don’t bother packing diapers and wipes because your hospital should supply those.
Do it last minute so you don't overpack, there is nothing worse than trying to carry all your gifts, newborn baby and an overly packed bag. If you are like me trying to lug a tribe around as well = not an easy task.
Don’t stress if you forget something you will have plenty of visitors or your support person can grab stuff for you and it helps them feel useful.
It’s really hot in the hospital so light clothing.
Make sure you have plenty of snacks for yourself and lots of water.
Pack early, things don't always go to plan.
Do your research and have an idea of what you like!
Don’t overdo it, your partner/parent can always go home & get extras during rest periods.
Pack it early! Things don't always go to plan.
Don’t forget nipple cream!
Write a list, pack a bag for labour and leave the other in the car. That way you have labour essentials rather than everything.
Don't need so many clothes. You just want to stay in your PJs.
Only pack a small bag of clothes to take to the hospital and have a second bag at home. I barely used anything I had packed. Also, the hospital is warm so no need for really warm clothes.
Pack a few pairs of PJs just in case.
Brax was a month early. Without pre-packing I wouldn’t have had what I needed as we had to travel an hour from home to have him.
You don't need to bring as much stuff as you think. Travel light and get hubby or partner to go home for stuff if you think you need it.
Pack the number of pads and undies you think you need and then double it.
Don’t over pack. You don’t need to be shuffling through your bag when all you want is a pair of undies etc. If it’s something you really need your partner can bring it in for you.
Don't forget the comfy undies, clothes and blue Powerade.
You don’t need that much. If you end up having to stay longer someone will be able to bring you more stuff.
Make sure you take the time to pack one, you never know when labour will come on. And take advice from friends as to what to pack, cover your bases! You’re better to overpack.
Lay it all out on your bed before you pack and research.
Pack a 0000 outfit for your newborn I only had 000 and they didn't fit.
Don't overpack, someone can always bring in things you've forgotten.
Always pack extra than you think you need! More pads, more nappies and more snacks.
Take some comforts of home.
Pack extra large undies (2 sizes bigger) and snacks.
Go to the hospital in comfy/stretchy clothes that you can also wear home. Saves packing an outfit!
Do it! I imagined I would be able to do some light packing while I was in early labour but it happened so fast that I didn't have time to pack anything once I was in labour. I just grabbed what I had already packed when we left for the hospital! Pack it early!
Think comfortable clothes for yourself and pack size smaller and bigger for baby too...they don’t always come out the size you think they will. :)
Pack more instead of less.
Bring nursing clothes.
Just take whatever you like and as much as you want!
Pack comfy clothing, don't worry about fashion.
You don’t need a huge amount of snacks despite what all the books say, but all the coconut water and underwear.
Find a checklist online they are a massive help.
Be prepared for all outcomes, baby coming early, caesarean or natural etc.
Pack a hospital bag ahead of time, leave a list on top naming items that need to go in last minute.
Make sure you pack extra of everything in case you end up staying longer.
If your not sure if you will need it, just bring it anyways. I left a lot of things out I wish I would have brought.
Do it early. Both my kids came at 38 weeks. My second came so quickly we barely made it to the hospital. Make sure the bags and car seat are installed and ready to go.
Have separate little bags for your items as it's easier to go through.
Pack a range of newborn clothes - from different places. My son didn’t fit cotton on newborn clothes but did bonds so lucky I didn’t pack all cotton on.
Pack for a few days, just in case you need to stay longer than anticipated.
Make a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Things that make you feel physically comfy - soft cotton undies, PJs, lip balm and nice face cream.
The hospital has diapers, wipes, lanolin, hats, and swaddle blankets for baby. Don’t worry about packing them unless you have something special.
Write down a list and have it handy so you can keep adding to it as things come to mind... Don’t forget to pack LOADS of undies for yourself... You may soak through them before and after labour. Don’t forget to have a hospital bag for your partner too!
Don’t overthink it. Pack the essentials for you and Bub.
Bring comfy clothes that make you feel good. Invest in a couple of new things for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it!
A range of sanitary pads, different sizes and shapes. Plus a nice big towel. My own pillow was comforting too.
Just pack extra. At least 2 extra items of everything for clothing just in case you have to stay longer than you expect.
Pack food and snacks for husband/partner.
I was woefully ill-prepared, consult someone who knows.
Be organised and don't forget the creature comforts that make you feel good.
Lots of undies.
Bring food for your supporters too!
10. Hospital bag checklist PDF.
Written by Nikki Clarke.