wellbeing lifestyle

Essential hospital bag checklist: mum and newborn baby essentials

You’ve waited so long for the magical day to come, and let’s face it - this is no standard overnight bag. Combine baby necessities with your little luxuries to create a bag of tricks to cater for every eventuality. It’s not every day you welcome your bundle of joy into the world!
The organised nester in you is likely to be keen to write a hospital bag checklist. Of course, you want to ensure you’ve got everything you need - but this is more than that. The day of the birth can be a whirlwind of change and unpredictability, but making sure you have everything (and more!) that you need is absolutely in your control. You’ve got this.
If you can, try to begin the packing process well in advance. There are many benefits to this. With this list to hand, you can keep an eye out for cute bits and bobs to add into the mix as you go, rather than having to do a huge order at once and stressing yourself out.  Secondly, it’s exciting! But thirdly, getting everything together will give you an idea of how much space your loot will take up. Because of this, you may want to consider choosing the actual hospital bag last.
The last thing we want is to overwhelm, so we've provided a realistic hospital bag checklist that won’t take you months to compile. However, some Mums prefer to pack a separate case for their own things and organise a separate one for the newborn baby essentials, so we’ve split our list into two, realistic hospital bag checklists. 

Hospital bag checklist for mum 


Dress for comfort with these clothing essentials, covering you from top to toe in those necessities you probably don't even realise you need. 

  • Loungewear - the comfier the better. Realistically you simply won’t know how long you are going to be in hospital, and so having soft, interchangeable items that you can layer means you’ll be all set. Think comfortable maternity leggings, vests or (our personal favourite) this super cosy nursing hoody! The NHS website recommends at least 3 changes of clothes.
  • Pyjamas or a nightie. Loungewear is fab for travelling and the early stages, but if you are anything like me, you’ll take comfort from getting into your own PJs. Get some ideas from our wide range of maternity pyjamas, or if you prefer a nightie, this gorgeous organic cotton nightie is perfect - soft jersey material, detachable straps and the length are generous without being restrictive. Top Tip - some ladies prefer to opt for men’s pyjamas for a looser fit!
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  • Dressing Gown. Generally, in the interests of both packing space and practicality, you may want to go for a lightweight dressing gown. It’s really just for something you can throw on if you’re on a shared ward or need to pop down the corridor for something. Fluffy and lightweight cotton or cool linen gowns are ideal for such an instance.
  • Slippers, Flip Flops or Sliders. We’re all different, but if you’re going to be pacing that hospital floor you’ll want something comfortable. Many women like to pack flip flops for the shower anyway, plus, these footwear options are so much easier to pop on and off depending on where you are sitting or standing.
  • Pants. Lots of them - the bigger the better! It’s the little comfort items that make a difference, and trust me - you won’t regret having a roomier pair. There are some fantastic ranges made specifically for you post-partum - like this Bodyguard range from Cache Coeur. High-waisted, all day comfort and 100% leakproof, plus you may just be able to avoid opting for disposable maternity knickers.


  • Soft nursing bras. Make sure these are comfortable and supportive and allow some give - the NHS reminds you that your breasts will be much larger than normal following the birth. Our essential 2 Pack of nursing bralettes have been reviewed highly for comfort!
  • Bikini. This is essential if you are planning to use the birthing pool. Even if you have planned to go au natural, you could feel differently about this on the day, so pop one in your bag just in case. There’s no use getting your nightie wet!


Now let's talk toiletries, they seem like a no-brainer for any hospital trip, but knowing exactly what you need to pack can be daunting. Of course, you’d pack your usual toiletries for an overnight stay, but this isn’t your average sleepover! Once the time comes, everything seems to move from going super slow to really fast, and before you know it you could have visitors pouring in demanding to see your newborn.

There are also a few new things you may need postpartum that you’ve not needed before, so we’ve included a checklist to cover everything from essentials to items that could make the process feel smoother for you.
  1. Washbag essentials: Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap or shower gel and deodorant.
  2. Lip balm: this is an absolute lifesaver! We might not always consider how useful this is, but throughout the birthing process, there’s a lot of heavy breathing which dries out the lips and mouth area. We recommend using one with soothing properties to give you some relief during and after the event.
  3. Moisturiser: for both your face and hands. Hospitals are full of hand sanitisers at each doorway and ward entrance, and this can be really drying. 
  4. Hairbrush and a flannel: two basic items that can take you from looking bedraggled to glowing! A must-have on the essentials list.
  5. Light makeup: trust us on this one! You may not think you’ll be bothered about makeup, but if you end up having unexpected visitors (let’s face it, brandishing cameras at you and the little one!) you may wish to freshen up a little. We recommend tinted lip balm and moisturiser to give you a bit of a lift, without going “full face”.
  6. Maternity pads: opt for the highest absorption level you can find, whether you go for maternity or sanitary pads. 
  7. Breast pads: whether you are breastfeeding or not, these will keep you dry and comfortable following the birth.
  8. Wet wipes/moist toilet tissue: these will be hugely helpful if you just want to freshen up quickly in between showers.
  9. Nipple cream: you'll thank us for this later! It can be a tricky time if you are adapting to nursing your new bundle of joy, and nipples often get dry, sore and chapped. Nipple creams containing Lanolin are very popular for providing relief, but check out this article to see which organic alternatives also prove popular.
  10. A peri-bottle: also known as a post-birth wash bottle. If you plan to have a vaginal birth, this can be a lifesaver following the event. You can opt to fill it with a washing solution or warm water and it will help soothe and ease the area when having a wee. 

Extra personal items you may want to consider in your hospital bag checklist:

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Some may consider them luxury items, but we think a touch of familiarity really helps you to settle into what can often feel like an overwhelming experience. You’d be so surprised at some of the things women missed out on during their time in the ward, so we wanted to share some examples:
  • Hydrating face mist. As well as, well, hydrating, some of these super fine mists have been known to provide a soothing and cooling experience when everything starts getting real
  • Headbands, bobbles or hair clips. The last thing you want is your hair flapping around in your face! Whether you have short or long hair, this is an easy obstacle to remove by packing a couple of these.
  • Your favourite pillow. Of course, you should have plenty of pillows provided, but there’s nothing like a small slice of your own bed at home! You might even want to push the boat out and get a brand new pillow for the occasion.
  • Pillow spray. Following birth, many women find they are exhausted but struggle to get to sleep as their mind races about their new maternal responsibilities! Using lavender and chamomile based pillow mist should help you to drift off for some well-deserved sleep.
  • Sweets! A packet of your favourite sweeties will give you something to nibble on and provide a bit of familiarity. Mints have also been cited as an essential to freshen your mouth up if you’ve been up for hours on end.
  • Your own juice. When it comes to hydration, I am a bit of a juice snob. I like a big bottle of my favourite squash rather than a tiny plastic cup of lukewarm water, thank you very much. Make up some large bottles of juice ready to come on the journey with you. Top Tip - pop one in the freezer to keep the other one cool in transit! And don’t forget to pack a straw or two!

C-section hospital bag checklist

If you plan to have a baby via a C-section, most of the checklist items still apply. In some cases, even if you have planned to have a vaginal birth, a decision is made by the doctor to perform the last-minute caesarean. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with these key points to consider that could be more pertinent if you are having a caesarean.
During birth, it is common to want to listen to music to relax. Plan your preferred playlist, podcast or meditation and have it available. 

Pants: Often the advice can be to “size up” on your normal knickers style. If you are undergoing a C-section, a standard waistline would rub or aggravate the area of the scarring. Make sure to go extra high-waisted on the front of the pants!

Following the birth, it’s likely you’ll find it difficult to sit up. Having things within easy reach is a must, as is having bendy straws to help you to keep your fluids up.

Mums need entertaining too!

You’re in it for the long haul, and it’s likely there could be a lot of waiting around. Rather than praying for the unlikely event that it’s over in a flash, your best bet would be settling in. Think of it as a flight! Having varying entertainment sources during this time is going to help the time fly by and distract you.
  • Phone charger. You may be using your phone to watch videos or read, so it’s likely the battery will go down quickly. Plus, you may be getting an influx of congratulations later down the line and will want to capture some pictures. 
  • Portable charger. Sometimes it can be tricky to find a plug socket right where you want to be, so charge up a power bank before you go so you can move around with ease.
  • Books. If you’re a reader, packing a couple of interesting books you can look forward to is a great idea. The escapism that books provide will help you to settle in and take your mind off any early pains. If you’re not traditionally a reader, you might want to pack a Baby Names book!
  • Magazines. Having a few magazines with you can also break up any books or video watching, and often include games or puzzles in the back.

Newborn baby essentials and necessities list

Okay, enough of you - let’s get to the cute stuff! If you’re a first time Mum it can feel daunting to know what to bring, and how much of everything you need. Depending on your proximity to the hospital, the likelihood is that either your birth partner can nip back for some extra supplies or any other visitors can bring something you forget. But to put your mind at ease, here are some of the basics:
  1. A selection of vests. Baby can go through a few of these, but if you’re only planning a short stay then around 4 is a good number.
  2. Sleepsuits/ babygrows. With so many adorable designs, you might struggle to pick a favourite. Consider packing a couple of sizes as you’ll want to make sure it's as comfortable a fit as possible for the baby!
  3. A hat and scratch mittens. Those tiny nails can cause more harm than you realise, so it’s a relief to pop these on whilst travelling.
  4. Socks or booties - it can be mighty chilly for little toes that aren’t used to the outside world yet!
  5. Lots of nappies (newborn size) and baby wipes. Don’t underestimate how many you might need - it’s best to be prepared!
  6. Muslin cloths. These will be super useful and ever present across your shoulder, certainly in the early days. We love this patterned Pack of 4 100% cotton sets.
  7. A cosy baby blanket or shawl. This will be useful to bundle them up in the hospital and of course to tuck them in for the journey home!
  8. Bottles and formula. Even if you are planning to breastfeed, it’s best to plan for every eventuality. It can often take a little time to get into the swing of things, and there’s a lot to think of with a newborn, so have a plan A
  9. and a plan B.
  10. The car seat! OK, so this one won’t quite fit in your overnight bag, but of course, you’re not going anywhere without one!


For more adorable options for your little one, pop over to our newborn checklist page where you'll find everything you need in one easy space.
The whole journey of pregnancy, birth and finally taking your baby home is a truly magical one and you’ve got all of the best bits ahead of you! It can also feel very overwhelming, so we hope that these lists are helpful to ensure you feel confident and as prepared as you can be.
Got the baby retail therapy bug? Check out our piece on our top Spring/Summer picks from birth to one year old!
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