I’m not quite sure why the packing of the hospital bag invites such confusion – the practicality of the occasion should override any vanity concerns. Yet, here I am lamenting about the fact it took me two weeks to work out what I was going to pack.

I think it’s also harder to imagine first time around. In the end, my partner was still popping home to drop things off and pick things up.

The below is comprehensive and you shouldn’t really need much more for a 5 night stay:

Just remember:

  1. Comfort is your number one priority.
  2. Make sure the family have a set of keys so they can pick things up if you need.
  3. Don’t try and get it perfect.  You’ll be close to home so worst case scenario someone will pop home or to the shop and get whatever you need.
  4. If you already have a child/children get them a little birth gift – a little toy or keepsake so that they are part of the experience as well.

For you, the Mum:

  • Comfort and easy access is key – someone will need access to various parts of you at any given time so choose clothing that will allow easy access.
  • Sleepwear (4 night dresses/nursing gowns) – I had a jersey dress like nursing gown which was easy to pull down (and up); and a kimono style wrap gown which was equally easy to open.
  • Leisure wear for day (e.g. tracksuit).  Comfy cotton pants e.g. lounge pants with a tie no elastic, a maternity tee or two and a cardigan or sweater that has easy breastfeeding access.
  • Underwear (6) – get maternity underwear – it’s so comfortable.
  • Nursing bra (3) – forget lace, go soft cotton.
  • Light dressing gown (2) – this will be great for the first day when you don’t feel like getting out of your nursing gown.

  • Comfortable footwear (i.e. slippers or slip on shoes).
  • Warm, comfy socks
  • Toiletry bag – hairbrush, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser/oil, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, face spray, body oil, hair bands, wipes or cotton wool balls.
  • Maternity sanitary pads – 4 packets.
  • Breast pads eg Bamboobies, Organyc, Mama Minx
  • Nipple cream &/or butter – have both with you to see which one works best for you.
  • Tucks pads – i.e. Witch hazel pads.
  • Your birth plan and maternity notes
  • Water bottles
  • Snacks for you while you are in labour
  • Nursing pillow
  • For a bit of home luxury – take your own towel and face washer with you

For baby:

  • 8 onesies (grow suits) – I prefer the two-way zip variety with turn-over mittens; also the kimono style, cross over grow suits as they are easy to get on and off.
  • 3 singlets.
  • 2 pairs booties/socks.
  • 1 knot hat or beanie.
  • 1 pair mittens (not necessary if you have this built in to the onesie).
  • 1 x going home outfit (optional).
  • 6 wraps/swaddles – 3 x lighter bamboo or muslin;  3 x warmer cotton / bamboo.
  • Small cot blanket – warm, knitted.
  • Dummy – cherry shaped i.e. NOT orthodontic (optional).
  • Newborn nappies – plan 10 per day for breastfed babies, try Ecoriginals.
  • Baby wipes (unscented, natural or organic) eg Wotnot or Bambure.
  • Baby bath soap/ body wash – natural/organic products recommended.
  • 1 x small emery board.
  • 1 x Baby towel.

For Dad:

  • Comfortable clothes & shoes (e.g. jeans, track pants, t-shirts, jumper & sneakers) for the length of his stay.
  • PJ and slippers if he is staying overnight.
  • Toiletries.
  • Watch with a second hand, to time contractions.
  • Snacks.


  • Check with your hospital about what paperwork they will need to admit you – e.g. blood group card, health insurance details, Medicare card, pregnancy & medication records from your obstetrician and photo id.
  • Your car must be fitted with an approved Australian Standards baby seat/capsule prior to going home.
  • Keep valuables e.g. jewellery to a minimum.
  • Bag for laundry.
  • Camera, charger, batteries and spare memory card.
  • Phone, tablet and chargers.
  • Headphones.
  • Keep books and magazines to a minimum.
  • Notebook and pen – keep track of contractions, visitors, memories.

For those of you who have “been there, done that,” what was the one thing that made the biggest difference to you in hospital?

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  • This is a great list, and a great article!


  • yeah it can be overwhelming the first time that you ever have to pack a bag.


  • When I was packing my bag I was freaking out! I kept getting told so many different things.
    I ended up packing maternity singlets, dark pj and yoga pants, two cardis, socks and undies. Then toiletries! I loved having my own shampoo and conditioner for my shower, plus my own body wash and my own towel! Simple comfort items!
    For baby I packed three/four bonds jumpsuits, a going home suit and nappies/ wipes. The hospital had everything else I needed!


  • all i can say is i wish someone had of helped me with what i needed! i went in blind and missed out on all the comfort items that i couldnt for the life of me think of.

    the lists though do seem very long, i didnt need nearly as many things for bubs as what I thought I would. i actually needed more for myself that my partner actually had to bring in afterwards for me.


  • I agree with some of the others sorry this list is far too long, the list I received from the hospital is shorter! I also used the orthodontic dummy which was suitable from birth


  • looking really good and great


  • Wow you will need a trailor for your stuff, i think just the basics for hospital stay, your not going to prison, lol.


  • Good list, but too much stuff. Looks a lot like the list I had for my first son. 2nd time round my bag was smaller.
    Yes, you need a toiletry bag, and back your fave shampoo, lotion and bodywash, it does feel nice to have a shower and cone out smelling all fresh and pretty, helps with the exhaustion.
    As for outfits, pick something you can wear for wandering through the hospital but is comfy to sleep in at the same time. Really you don’t have time to get changed 10times a day, because you feel like the outfit isn’t right. You need cloths to change into quickly, because you got peed on, puked on or poohed on – or because you got blood on. Pack stuff you are willing to chuck when soiled. Really do you want to take bloody knickers home and wash them 3 days later?
    You are not going on a holiday, nobody is going to judge you, if toy wear the same robe several days.
    And baby needs comfy not pretty outfits, think layers (they never get the temperature right in hispitals).
    Other than that make sure you bring a bunch of flexibility and are ready for anything.


  • Wish I saw this list before I had my bubba.
    Love the idea of a birth gift for the older child so they don’t feel left out


  • I found that when we were doing pre natal classes at the hospital they gave us a list of what they expect you to bring. Use that as a starting point and yes comfort is key.


  • Fresh pairs of undies and enough pads made the difference for me.


  • Wow that’s an extensive list and might be necessary if you’re staying for a week but unless you’re having a planned c-section, I would suggest to pack much light than that and assume you’re only in for one night. Have a second bag at home that hubby can bring in if you do need to stay longer.
    With my first, we packed a lot and everytime we got moved to another room (4 times in 4 days) we had to cart it all with us and I barely used any of it.
    With my second, I packed lightly and it was much easier!


  • I brought a couple of my favorite cd while in hospital and it was really comforting to listen to them when I was in my room during pre-labor and labor.


  • I’ve got three months to got before I will put this list to the test!! I love a recommendation.


  • Good points, you really need very little but the basics are essential


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