Kelly Austin

A midwife’s guide to packing your hospital bag

So, after months of researching every baby product, breast pump and swaddle, we come to the all-important hospital bag… but what do you really need for that sweet stay in hospital with your gorgeous newborn? We asked midwife Kelly Austin to share her tips and tricks.

As a midwife working in a hospital setting, I have a little bit of extra insight into what you might need in hospital, so without further ado… here is my personal guide to what to pack! Now, we say ‘hospital bag’, but let’s be honest, it’s more like two and half bags… So, let’s start with the little baby’s bag.

Your Baby Bag

Hospitals used to be quite generous to new parents; you’d arrive in your postnatal room to a lovely stack of nappies, wipes, baby bath soap and moisturiser, but alas now that is not the case. You’re on your own!

How much of everything you pack will depend on how long you plan to stay. Most public hospitals will advocate for an early discharge, somewhere between 6-24 hours, however I think it’s a good idea to have enough to get you through two overnight stays. This is unless, of course, you know you’ll need an extended stay, for example, if you have a planned c-section. Don’t forget to label your baby bag, especially for shared room stays.

The basics:

  • 6-8 cloth or disposable nappies per day (my eco-warrior favourite is Tooshies)
  • 1 pack of wipes (my favourite is Gaia Natural baby wipes)
  • 2 singlets, jumpsuits per day (because spews and poos happen)
  • 1 pair of socks
  • Baby wash (if you’re in for longer than 24 hours you might want to bath babe)
  • A newborn-sized beanie
  • A baby blanket or two

Optional extras:

  • A baby towel
  • Sleeping bag/ Swaddle 
  • Small teddy/ toy
  • Announcement board/ card 

Your Labour Bag

Your labour bag is very personal, and it comes down to the comfort measures you know will help you through the labour and birth process.  

The basics:

  • Registration paperwork, hospital record card/ book
  • A copy of your birth preferences
  • Comfortable clothes for labour 
  • Bathers or separate underwear, for use in the bath, but naked is fully acceptable!
  • Water bottle – an insulated one is great if you’d like to keep it cold
  • Lip Balm
  • Snacks, snacks and more snacks!

Optional extras;

  • Essential oil diffuser (avoid peppermint as it can suppress milk supply)
  • LED Candles
  • Printed affirmations
  • Blanket or pillow from home
  • Music/tracks/playlists – speaker, if not supplied

Your Hospital Stay Bag

This bag is similar to baby’s bag in the fact that it contains what you need be comfortable depending on your length of stay.

  • Stretchy soft knickers – 1-2 sizes bigger than you’d normally wear.
  • Maternity or super pads – Bring 6 per day (my pick)
  • Comfortable loose-fitting clothes/PJ’s
  • Dressing gown
  • A pair of thongs or slip-on shoes
  • A pair of slippers
  • Socks
  • Toiletries – anything you’d take away for a long weekend…
  • Maternity singlets – In the early days your breast size fluctuates; bras can be restrictive and can impact milk supply and block ducts.
  • Breast pads – I’d definitely recommend bamboo reusable pads as they have less toxins. These aren’t overly necessary until your milk supply comes in so it depends on your length of hospital stay.
  • Snacks! Breast feeding makes you HUNGRY and thirsty! Throw in some pre-prepared lactation cookies to really get that supply happening. 


So that’s it! Obviously, each birth experience is different so these may need to be tailored to your personal situation but here is a good place to start! Happy packing!


Do have a topic you’d like us to address? Email us, we’d love to hear from you!


Tags: Trimester 3

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