The Quintessential Hospital Bag Checklist.

The Quintessential Hospital Bag Checklist.
Nikki C is wearing the 'Casual Tank' in mint and the 'Swift Bra' in stellar.

Did you know that 21% of mums-to-be pack their hospital bag around four weeks in advance? Now, that's organisation!

At Cadenshae we surveyed 250 amazing mothers in regards to when they packed a hospital bag, how long they packed for, and most importantly - what they packed. With their help, we created a downloadable checklist full of the best tips so you can be prepared! Score!

Here's what you'll learn from our survey:

  1. When did they pack a hospital bag?
  2. Were they first time mums?
  3. How long did they pack for?
  4. How long was their hospital stay?
  5. What were the most commonly packed items?
  6. What didn’t they pack they wished they had?
  7. How many bags did they pack?
  8. What was the second bag for?
  9. What advice do they have for packing a hospital bag?
  10. Hospital Bag Checklist. [Download & Print]

1. When did they pack a hospital bag?

when-to-pack-a-hospital-bag

  • 8% The day they went to hospital.
  • 17% 1-7 days before going to hospital.
  • 27% 1-2 weeks before going to hospital.
  • 24% 2-4 weeks before going to hospital.
  • 21% More than four weeks before going to hospital.
  • 3% Didn't pack a hospital bag.

2. Were they first time mums?

first-time-mum-hospital-bag

  • 64% Yes.
  • 36% No.

3. How long did they pack for?

how-long-to-pack-hospital-bag-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?

pre-packed-hospital-bag

  • 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.
  •  71% Snacks.
  •  69% Baby wipes.
  •  68% Drink bottle.
  •  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% Inflammation cream.

6. What didn’t they pack they wished they had?

21% Nothing.

  • 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.

16% More food.

  • Snacks, the hospital didn't have anything gluten free.
  • More healthy and filling snacks (for dad too)!
  • 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.

9% Certain toiletries.

  • Thicker face cream as the air con dried me out.
  • Nose spray! Weird but it must be the hospital air...it dries everything out.
  • Distilled witch hazel.
  • Lavender or eucalyptus disinfectant spray for refreshing smells during labour. 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 while baby naps.
  • Notebook/diary and pen and my baby journal to document labour, birth and feeding bubs after.

7% Pillow and/or blanket. 

  • 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 nappies. 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, wondersuits, 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.

1% Fluids.

  • Powerade.
  • 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 e.g. Complan, brewer's yeast and kiwifruit juice.
  • An empty bag to carry all the bits and pieces people bring to the hospital.
  • 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 you have to remove. I ended up losing my earrings.

7. How many bags did they pack?

how-many-hospital-bags

  • 47% packed 1 bag.
  • 53% packed 2 bags.

8. What was the second bag for?

second-hospital-bag_

  • 70% one bag for baby and one for me.
  • 12% one bag for labour/birth and one for the hospital stay.
  • 8% second bag was for extras.
  • 7% second bag was for my partner and an overflow of mine and baby’s bag.
  • 3% second bag was for snacks.

When packing multiple hospital bags, the most popular method is to pack one for the baby and one for yourself. 

9. What advice do they have for packing a hospital bag?

  • 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 needed.
  • Take very large BLACK pants.
  • 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 stress about it, you will forget stuff and your friends and family are more than happy to bring you anything you forget.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Get it done early! I went into preterm labour at 32 weeks and 6 days, and my water broke so it was chaos trying to pack a bag for me and baby in 15-20 minutes.
  • Wearing a skirt was helpful for me. There were 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 all the newborn things we had packed.
  • 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. 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're hungry during your labour.
  • Pack your bag, then unpack it and see if there are things that you really don't need. Ask your friends what they put in their bags.
  • Find out what your hospital provides so you don’t bring those items with you.
  • Pack earplugs if you are going public! 
  • Wear a nursing bra in labour. Chances are you'll 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!
  • 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'll use most. Also flip flops, because your feet will swell even more after birth.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Make sure you pack extra breast and maternity pads. Having a bag pre-packed six weeks prior to my due date made me feel like I was prepared for labour (even though I totally wasn’t)!
  • Make a list, check it off as you pack. Then get a bag checklist (like this one) and check you’ve got everything on this list too. Also, you can never pack enough snacks.
  • Take your hospital bag with you everywhere! Leave it in your car.
  • Even if your midwife/OB tells you what size the baby will be, still pack clothes in a smaller and larger size!
  • Have a few extra baby singlets, rompers etc. in the car in case you get a spilly baby. I packed the same amount as when I had my first, but by day two of four, ended up going through them all including bub’s going home outfit (I needed it the middle of the night)!
  • You do you. Pack what you think will make you feel good/better/comfortable. 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 is a tip from me. Makes it easier if you’re not fighting with fabric while you’re getting to know your boobs.
  • Do pack decent toiletries for yourself, a nice moisturizer and body scrub is something small that will make you feel human again. Big black undies for the maternity pads.
  • 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!

10. Hospital bag checklist PDF. 

DOWNLOAD & PRINT YOUR HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST HERE! 

Written by Nikki Clarke. 


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