The ONE item you MUST pack for hospital…and a few others

You will find thousands of lists on the internet and in baby books and magazines with suggestions for what to pack in your hospital bag.

If you packed everything they all listed you would need a removal lorry to take you into hospital.

My suggestion would be to think sensibly about your situation and circumstances and pack accordingly. If you are on your own then you probably more feel the need to pack for every eventuality, but if you have someone who can easily bring things in for you if you need extra then don’t go overboard.


There is never much room and whatever you take with you and don’t use has to be put away when you get home. When you have a newborn and perhaps other little people to look after, you don’t need to create more work for yourself.

I became a bit more efficient at this fourth time around and didn’t go home with that much unused.

Things I wouldn’t scrimp on are:

  • Maternity pads
  • Comfy BIG knickers to hold the maternity pads in place
  • Snacks – especially if you have a food intolerance as many hospitals won’t cater for this
  • Muslin cloths

The one item I packed all four times which I could not have managed without, is not a standard hospital bag list item.

A friend suggested it to me before I had my first child and I will always be grateful she did.

Unless you are having a planned c-section, pack a plastic jug. You know the kind, just a big standard plastic measuring jug that often costs less than £1 .

Why is this an essential item?

After a vaginal delivery things are a little well, let’s say…different. No, different doesn’t exactly cover it…tender…no, that doesn’t work either. Things are unrecognisable for a while, going for a wee can feel like torture and anything else makes my eyes water just thinking about it.

You can however ease some of this discomfort by taking a jug of warm water to the toilet with you. As you wee, you pour and things are a little calmer all round.

So once you have packed your compulsory jug, feel free to slot in any of the following:

  • Birth plan and maternity notes
  • Dressing gown
  • Comfy PJs
  • Slippers or flip-flops
  • Old nightdress or t-shirt or oversized shirt to wear in labour, plus a tankini top if you are planning a water birth (it makes you feel a bit less exposed)
  • Lip balm – your lips can dry out quickly on a warm
    labour ward
  • Snacks and drinks to keep you going in labour
  • Things to pass the time or help you relax, such as a magazine, facial spritzer etc – lots of women don’t have time for these but you might use them afterwards
  • Hair clips – there is nothing worse than your hair sticking to your face when you are trying to push
  • TENS machine and spare batteries
  • Music
  • Phone and phone charger
  • Camera
  • A going home outfit – something loose and comfortable
  • A couple of  packs of breast pads
  • Nipple shields
  • Nursing bras
  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • Maternity pads
  • Hairbrush
  • Make up
  • Sleep suits and vests for baby
  • Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Muslin squares
  • Hat
  • A going home outfit for baby
  • Car seat

Finally – don’t forget to attach the roof box to fit it all in!

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17 comments on 'The ONE item you MUST pack for hospital…and a few others'

  • Great tip! And even though you said it anyway…nappies. Never forget nappies. They very rarely have any kicking around! I learnt this the hard way with baby no.1! I had 3 bags….how did I forget nappies?!?! hehe!

  • So true about the pain, though no one ever suggested packing a jug to me!

    Always helpful to give people a bit of experience based advice on hospital packing – as you say, there are an overwhelming number of lists about.

    I didn’t use much of what I packed first time (& never made it to hospital second time so used even less!) I think part of the difficulty is not knowing how long or how a labour will progress. I imagine people who have long labours that are not too intense in the first few hours would want things to keep them busy, food, etc. But, if the labour is fast or very difficult, those things never get used. Life would be so much easier if you knew exactly how labours would go. & when they would happen!

  • It’s so interesting to see what is and isn’t provided in the hospital in different countries. Here in the US, we didn’t need to provide our own nappies (and cloth ones weren’t even an option in the NICU). My girls came 7 weeks early, so my bag wasn’t even packed! My (now) ex ran out and bought me a breastpump when the twins were just a few hours old. Honestly, that was the only thing I used that wasn’t hospital-issued after my C-section, and only because the hospital-grade pumps didn’t work as well for me.

    Thanks for linking with #TwinklyTuesday!

    • Wow – that is quite different then. Like you say, really interesting to know how things are done in other countries.Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Brilliant one item. I never thought of this both times and would seem to help those that have had a tear the most! Great tip. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round #sharewithme

  • Great list and I’m sure people will find this so necessary. We had home births so from that we had everything we needed. That being said I think we should have had a bag for an easy go to rather that running around finding things. Thanks for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky hope to see you there this week.

  • I had my baby at 27 weeks but I still had a bag packed despite the MW saying I wouldn’t deliver early. I had black pyjama bottoms which looked like yoga pants. I am so glad I bought them, not only were they comfortable they looked so much like trousers that the NICU staff thought I was fully dressed not in pyjamas, handy for unit visits. I also had giant post c section knickers that were so comfortable. I had packed a toy for an incubator and a laminated photo of us on our wedding day.

    The toy stayed in that hospital 10 weeks, so did the photo, it was amazing that everything I packed came in to use!

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