Useful things to bring into hospital when you have your baby

It is a good idea to pack your bags 2-3 weeks before your baby’s due date. If you are having complications in your pregnancy, or you are having multiples, you may want to pack your bag earlier.

Having a bag for yourself and one for your baby helps you to find things more easily. It is best to use a rucksack or small case as some hospital beds have limited space around them and you could be asked to take large cases home if having your baby at Poole. You haven’t got to pack the kitchen sink, just the things you really need for a couple of days, as your family and friends can bring in and take home things as you need them.

Printable checklist

For mums

  • Handheld notes

  • Birth Plan (if not in your notes)

  • Any medication you are taking

  • Something loose and comfortable to wear during labour that doesn’t restrict you from moving around (you may wish to wear swimwear or just a bra if planning to labour in the pool)

  • A couple of changes of clothes

  • Two supportive bras, including nursing bras if you are planning to breastfeed

  • Breast pads

  • Two packs of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads

  • 5-6 pairs of either disposable underwear, or cheap ones that you could throw away

  • 2 loose fitting night shirts or t-shirts

  • Socks (if your feet feel cold in labour)

  • Dressing gown

  • Slippers (some women prefer to wear flip flops as they find them more practical)

  • A bag for your dirty washing

  • Wash bag

  • Hairbrush, shampoo and conditioner (you may want to bring dry shampoo to save time)

  • Shower gel or soap

  • Flannel

  • Sponge

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Lip balm

  • Deodorant

  • Hair ties

  • Towels for yourself (we provide baby towels)

  • Make up if you like to wear it, for your photos!

  • Water spray to keep you cool in labour

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine (TENS) if you plan to use one (if you’re planning to have your baby at Dorset County Hospital, they will provide this for you)

  • Something to help you to pass the time and relax, such as music or books

  • A pen and notebook to complete menus and write down anything you wish to discuss with the maternity staff. Some mums use their phones for this

  • A camera if you don’t use your phone – make sure it is charged!

  • Phone charger

  • Healthy snacks and drinks

  • Money (it is useful to have some change for car parks and vending machines).

For your baby

  • Plenty of nappies – babies can use several in a few hours!

  • Cotton wool

  • Vests

  • Baby grows/sleepsuits

  • Cardigan

  • Socks or booties

  • Hat

  • Scratch mittens

  • Blankets

  • Muslin squares

  • An outfit for going home

  • Formula: if you have made an informed decision to formula feed your baby, you will need to bring in a starter pack of ready-made infant formula feed (stage one or first milk).

  • Car Seat: these take up a lot of space, so please bring your car seat in as near to discharge as possible.

Also remember to plan your transport to and from hospital. If you are planning to use a taxi, check with the companies in advance as some companies will not transport labouring women.

Read more about what to pack.

For dads and partners

It’s a good idea to have a few things packed for yourself in advance so you are ready for the big day. Packing your bag at the same time as your partner can be fun and can help to make sure you don’t forget anything important.

Space in some areas of the Maternity Units can be limited, so it’s best to pack a small bag or rucksack for yourself. Things you might want to pack include:

Hospitals are usually very warm, so it’s a good idea to wear layers you can add or take off to stay comfortable. Loose clothing is more comfortable, and many partners wear shorts and t-shirts even in the winter. Flip-flops are a good idea as they keep your feet cool. Keeping a spare set of clothes in the car is useful too. Pack a plastic bag so you can take home your partner’s dirty clothes to wash (make sure you know how to use your washing machine if this isn’t usually part of your routine).

Will help support your neck if you are sitting in a chair for a long time. If you are planning to stay with your partner overnight after the birth (where permitted), it’s a good idea to keep a blanket in the car as you will need to provide your own.

The Maternity Units provide some refreshments, and there are kiosks and vending machines on site. It’s a good idea to pack some snacks and drinks, such as cereal bars and energy drinks, to keep your energy levels up. Try not to take strong-smelling foods as your partner probably won’t like this during labour!

You might be at the hospital for a while, so it’s a good idea to bring your deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste (and some mints if you don’t have time to brush your teeth!). In some units you’ll be able to use the en suite bathroom in your partner’s room, so a towel and some shower gel would be helpful.

If you are taking regular medication, bring this with you. If you have a condition such as diabetes or epilepsy, it’s a good idea to tell the midwife caring for your partner, in case you become unwell while you are there.

If you wear lenses, you should pack spare lenses and cleaning solution. Be sure to pack enough for a few days just in case. Eye drops and a pair of glasses will help stop your eyes getting tired and sore.

Make sure you have some loose change for the car park and vending machines. Try not to take valuables with you as the hospital can’t take responsibility for them during your stay.

Check they are fully charged and pack a charger just in case you have a long stay. It’s a good idea to talk to your partner about who they’d like to contact after the birth – make sure you have these contacts saved to your phone in advance. Watching films or playing games on your phone can help the time pass, so download some of these in advance. Download some music for you and your partner too. It’s also a good idea to pack some headphones in case you are on a ward and either of you would like to watch or listen to something.

Can be a good distraction if you are in for a while.

If you plan to use a camera for photos, make sure it’s fully charged and that you have a memory card with plenty of space on it!