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What to pack in your hospital bag for labour

What to pack in your hospital bag

Don't miss a thing

By Al Ferguson

Al Ferguson is the CEO and founder of The Dadsnet.

Published on 23/08/2022

If you are expecting your first child soon there will be plenty on your mind. From preparing the nursery to working out the quickest route to the hospital. But you also need to think about what to pack in your hospital bag.
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This is an essential part of the labour experience. It holds everything your partner and the baby will need during the birth and afterwards. It is not something you can do when the contractions start. For one, you need to be able to support your other half rather than be distracted throwing stuff in a suitcase. In addition, it might all happen so quickly that you don’t have time to make sure you’ve ticked everything off your hospital bag checklist.
 

When to pack the hospital bag?

When it’s too late to pack the hospital bag, it’s really too late. You need to be ready well in advance. Even with a routine pregnancy, your baby can arrive much earlier than expected. So it is worth packing it at around week 35 or 36. That way, it is done and you don’t have to worry about it. Stick it in the boot of the car or next to the door and you are ready to grab it as you run out of the house to the hospital.

Golden rule for packing the hospital bag

Are you ready for some wise words from those who have gone before us. Yes? Here it is:

Dads, you MUST pack the bag yourselves. Otherwise your partner will ask you for the flannel and you’ll be hunting through the bag frantically, rummaging through an abundance of inanimate objects. The image of a man routing through a bag, tipping the contents out onto the floor is not what anyone would want to see in a labour ward. So, dads – pack the bag so you have a fighting chance of being able to locate the necessary items at the right time.

What to pack in your hospital bag

What to pack in your hospital bag

The hospital bag can make or break the labour experience. Cover all bases. Take more than you think you need and then take some more. You need to prepare for every eventuality. You never know, a storm might come in and you’ll be stuck in the room for weeks on end. You might get taken hostage by crazed hospital porters. A swarm of angry invading locusts might flood the air conditioning units. Look, this stuff is obviously a joke, but labour and babies can be unpredictable. Be prepared for anything to happen.

So, if you really want to know what to pack in your hospital bag, this is the Dadsnet hospital bag checklist. Sure, you can leave out some of this stuff. But you do so at your peril.

Hospital bag checklist

  • A cold flannel
  • Massive knickers (paper ones are terrible apparently)
  • Your own towel or 2
  • Dressing gown and pyjamas
  • A change of clothes for yourself as well as your partner
  • Camera
  • A fan or water spray, especially for the summer months
  • iPad – not for you to play on necessarily, but to play music from or use to help with distraction techniques
  • Any paraphernalia you might need for your relaxation techniques. Oils, aromatherapy stuff, candles, massage things
  • Money – for the shop and car park
  • Snacks – energising snacks
  • Baby clothes including hat and mittens
  • Nappies
  • Paracetamol for you because hospitals will only give it out to the mums and let’s be honest, you might end up with a headache too!
  • Slippers
  • Your own pillow
  • Roll mat to have a kip on for those longer labours (you never know!)
  • Car seat (well, not actually in the bag, but don’t forget to take it!)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Lip balm
  • Frozen / cold drinks
  • Toiletries – shower gel, soap etc
  • Hair scrunchy
  • Cotton wool
  • Socks
  • Hairbrush
  • Nursing bra
  • Tens machine
  • Birthing ball (some hospitals can provide these)
  • Penknife (Because men should always have a pen knife)
  • Books, magazines etc
  • Maternity pads
  • Nipple cream – Lansinoh is by far the best
  • Breast pads
  • Swimming trunks for water birth
  • Comfy shoes

It’s a lot, obviously. But it is necessary. Now let’s organise it.

What to pack in your hospital bag

How to organise the hospital bag

The best way to organise the hospital bag is to split it into three sections. Despite the term ‘hospital bag’, it’s really three slightly smaller bags, really. These three sections you need are:

  1. Things the mum will want and need
  2. What the dad will want and need
  3. Items the baby will want and need

That way you’re not fishing through a roll mat, three baby grows and the camera to find the wife some clean knickers. Sensible eh?

Do you think we need to add another item? What would you put in? Leave a Comment below

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4 Comments

  1. neilkwalker

    I read so much beforehand on what I needed to take, that in the end I think I entered the ward like a pack pony. In hindsight it would’ve been better to split the immediately required labour ward items from the stuff that would be needed once we reached the general ward. There’s not much room in the labour ward usually, so if you’re able to leave a lot of this in a secondary bag in your car nearby seems to make more sense IMHO. You’ll also welcome the chance to pop out for five minutes later for fresh air!

    • Al TheDadNetwork

      Thanks for your comment.

      Pack pony is about right. We have loads and loads and loads of stuff…

  2. Tom IdeasforDads

    Pair of shorts for dad to be. Hossies are like tropical hot houses and the last thing you want to be doing is passing out as Mums to be take real exception to this!

    • Al TheDadNetwork

      That’s a great tip! I’ll add in a pair of shorts… but it’s going to be a very tight squeeze to get the zip shut!

      Thanks for the comment

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