Maternity Bag: What to Pack and What Not

There’s nothing more exciting than getting ready to give birth and welcome your new family member. However, things can get quite serious and the atmosphere rather electric as your due date approaches, so it’s clever to get prepared in time.

One of your key preparations is packing your maternity hospital bag, both for you and your baby, with all the essentials that will make the whole process and your stay at the hospital as comfortable as possible.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when there are so many things to think about, so here’s a practical list of things you might need when you go to deliver your baby.

Mommy’s bag

Your most essential wardrobe will be your sleeping gown (3 or 4 pieces), a dressing gown, underwear, nursing bra (also a couple of pieces), breast pads and an old nightdress or oversized T-shirt for the actual birth. It might turn out that you’ll need to pace up and down the corridors during early labour, so having a few sleeping gowns of your own will make you feel more comfortable. Also, make sure you bring your slippers for pacing the room and a separate pair for the shower room.

A lot of moms-to-be say their feet get really cold during labour, so it’s a good idea to pack a couple of pairs of warm, soft socks. Also, if you have your own U-shaped or a memory foam pillow that helps you get comfortable, pack that as well. And don’t forget your hairbands, medicines and nipple creams, hygiene pads and essential toiletries. Consider buying neutral soaps and shampoos as strong odours may not sit well with your new baby.

You’ll most certainly feel very grateful to have a breast pump at hand at the hospital to help you regulate all that upcoming milk, but things such as makeup, perfumes, nail polish and the latest Kinsella books will end up quite useless when you’ve got serious business to focus on!
It’s another story for your partner, if that’s the arrangement you want. They can pack up a small bag with a change of clothes, swimwear to join you in a birth pool or shower, comfortable shoes, a hand-held fan to keep you cool while in labour and a charger and a camera to film the amazing event!

Baby’s bag

The essential bag no.2 is the bag you pack for your baby. If you’re having your first baby, it can get quite difficult and confusing to decide what to pack. One thing’s for sure: you won’t need 7 different stuffed animals, a bouncer and a baby carrier! But you will need basic baby clothes (bodysuits, socks and booties), bibs and pacifiers. Make sure you buy your baby clothes in two sizes – the newborn and 0-3 months, so you can have some wiggle room as you can’t really tell how big the baby will be in reality.

Finally, throw in just a few more items: your medical paperwork, ID and insurance card, a few soft towels, an extra empty bag as you’ll inevitably get stuff from the hospital and your visitors to take home (formula/samples, swaddle blankets, gifts), a one-piece fleece baby coat or a blanket (if it’s winter) and a car seat for the baby for the time when they officially leave the hospital.

If you feel like it, you can also prepare small bags of goodies for the nurses as a thank-you gesture for all their help during your labour. You can pack assorted chocolates, chap sticks, fragrant soaps and hand sanitizers and maybe some gift cards. It’s just a small sign of gratitude from you, but a big packet of joy for them!

As the big day approaches, you’re bound to have a lot of questions and insecurities. Hopefully, tips listed here will help you get organised and prepared in time and with joy!



Article written by Sara Solomon, mother of 2 children and 1 dog, and writer, photographer, and food blogger.