Baby Clothes
  • Hospital Bag Checklist: What You Need to Pack

    February 02, 2024 4 min read

    Hospital bag checklist for birth - Australia

    Essential Hospital Bag Checklist for Aussie Mums

    As your due date approaches, the excitement and anticipation of meeting your little one can be mixed with anxiety about labour and delivery. Packing your hospital bag in advance can help you feel more prepared and at ease. For first-time mums, knowing what to pack can be daunting, so we’ve created a hospital bag checklist with essential items.

    We recommend packing two bags: one for labour and immediate post-birth needs, and another for your stay on the postnatal ward. This organisation ensures you have everything you need without unnecessary stress. (If you have a straightforward birth, you may even leave hospital on the same day and may not need the second bag at all.) 

    Keep this checklist handy as you pack your bags:

    What should I pack for labour?

    • Paperwork: Include your Medicare card, health insurance details, hospital paperwork, antenatal card and birth plan.
    • Comfortable clothing: Pack loose, old clothes like an oversized T-shirt for labour, as it might get messy. 
    • Pain management tools: Consider a TENS machine (arranged in advance) and a heat pack (check hospital policies for microwaved heat packs).
    • Lip balm: You’ll be surprised how much your lips dry out during labour with all that heavy breathing.
    • Music: Bring a small portable speaker and load your smartphone with your favourite playlist. Whether it’s soothing music, hypnobirthing tracks, or uplifting tunes, having several hours of music is ideal.
    • Snacks: You’ll be thankful for some snacks in those early hours of labour.  Choose snacks that give slow-release energy to keep you going such as fruit, nuts or muesli bars.
    • Electrolyte drinks or coconut water to give you a boost when you need it.  The electrolytes help your muscles to contract efficiently and also help regulate your nerve function and blood pressure.
    • Hairbands: Keep hair off your face with hairbands or elastics.
    • Water Bottle with Straw: Staying hydrated is crucial, and a straw makes it easier to sip between contractions.
    • LED candles and essential oils: Create a relaxing atmosphere in the birthing suite.
    • Entertainment: Books, magazines, or games can help you relax or pass the time during early labour.
    • Partner's swimwear: If your partner is joining you in the shower or bath, pack bathers for them (the midwives will appreciate it).
    • Hand mirror: Optional, for those who want to see the baby's head crowning.
    • Camera or smartphone: Capture your baby’s first moments. Don’t forget the charger and ensure ample storage for photos.

    What should I pack for after the birth?

    • Nipple cream: Breastfeeding doesn’t come easy for everyone and your nipples can be sore and chapped after just a couple of feeds. Lansinoh will be your new best friend, and it doubles as a nourishing lip balm.
    • Nursing bras and shirts: Ensure easy access for breastfeeding.
    • Bottles and formula: If you plan to formula feed, pack the necessary supplies.
    • Ear plugs and eye mask: Try to sleep as much as you can in hospital, because once you’re home with your newborn it will be all systems go! An eye mask and earplugs will prove invaluable, especially if you’re in a shared room. Hospitals are noisy and you'll have nurses coming in to check on you all through the night.
    • Insulated coffee cup with a lid: Keeps your drink warm and safe while feeding.
    • Comfy, dark-coloured undies: You’ll be wearing big maternity pads but there may be leakages, so pack some extra pairs of underwear. We recommend packing a few “granny undies” - these can help if you've had a c-section as the waistband should be high enough to avoid your incision.  High-waisted undies can also help to support your belly and keep maternity pads in place. 
    • Maternity sanitary pads: Bring at least 2 packs for all the postpartum bleeding.
    • Easy-on footwear: Opt for thongs or backless slippers that are easy to get on and off.
    • Healthy Snacks: Pack some healthy and filling snacks to help tide you over between meals. Lactation cookies are a great high-energy option - breastfeeding makes you very hungry! You may want to pack your favourite tea or drink, as hospital supplies can be basic.
    • Loose, comfortable clothes: Bring button-down pyjamas for wearing in hospital, and comfy clothes for the trip home. 
    • Your own pillow: Hospital pillows may be insufficient. A C-shaped pillow can provide extra support when breastfeeding.
    • Essentials: Pack whatever you would for a night or two away from home: toiletries, glasses/contacts, tissues, phone, charger and headphones.

    What should I pack for baby?

    Your baby doesn't need much initially - just milk, warmth and love. Most Australian hospitals provide nappies, basic baby clothing and blankets to use during your stay. Check with your hospital or birthing centre first to confirm.  We recommend packing:

    • Swaddle: Babies love being swaddled. Ask the nurses and midwives to show you how to swaddle baby while you're in hospital. This will be invaluable once you’re home.
    • Socks and mittens. Pack a few pairs, depending on how long you'll be in hospital.
    • Hat: Keep your newborn warm when they're not sleeping.
    • Birth announcement: You may want to pack a special outfit and wooden milestone card for that perfect announcement photo.
    • Going home outfit for baby: Bring a couple of outfits in different sizes for your baby's trip home. 

    Final Tips

    • Keep valuables safe: Leave expensive jewellery and large amounts of cash at home. The hospital will provide a safe for important documents.
    • Be prepared early: Aim to have your bag packed by 34 weeks. This gives you extra buffer time in case baby arrives sooner than expected.
    • Last-minute checklist: Place a list on top of your bag with last-minute items and essentials that you might forget in the excitement, like your phone charger and toiletries.

    Packing your hospital bag is a great way to feel prepared and empowered for labour and delivery. Don't wait until the last minute - start checking things off your list now, and you'll be one step ahead when it's time for you meet your little one!