The ultimate hospital birth checklist: What to pack for you and your baby

Posted in Preparing for baby.

Take the guesswork out of the birth day and hospital stay with this essential checklist for you and your baby! Whether your hospital stay is a day or a week, this list of everything you could need will help you be packed and ready to bring your new little life into the world, and then home. 

Check through this comprehensive list to make sure you have all bases covered. 

Baby’s hospital essentials checklist 

Firstly, remember to keep in mind how you’ll be bringing your baby home. If you’ll be travelling by car, make sure you have your baby’s car seat installed safely in the rearward facing position well ahead of time. It is recommended to have your car seat installed by a professional. In NSW, you can find a suitable local child restraint installation service on the Service NSW website.

Baby bag:

Packing your baby’s hospital bag with teeny tiny clothes is one of the parts of late pregnancy that brings home the reality: yes, you really will be leaving hospital with your brand new baby! Most hospitals will provide baby gowns for your baby to wear, but if want to dress them in their own clothes, it’s worth bring a few changes just in case. And if you want to streamline the shopping process, you can opt for Dymples Baby Size 0000 14 Piece Hospital Pack – White, and get all your baby’s tiny hospital clothes in one fell swoop. Sorted!

  • Baby’s first outfit – choose outfits that are easy to take on and off, like onesies with easy-snap buttons.
  • Baby singlets – be prepared with singlets in tiny sizes, like Dymples Baby Rib Vest 3 Pack – White – Size Newborn.
  • Nappies and wipes – choose newborn nappies for going home day, like Huggies Newborn Nappies. The hospital will also have cloth nappies on hand for your stay.
  • Baby beanie – babies lose heat through their little heads so choose a weather-appropriate head covering for their tiny head, like  Dymples Baby Rib Beanies that come in sizes 00000-00.
  • Socks or booties
  • Baby mittens
  • Baby wrap or swaddle
  • Dummies – you may not need these but if you end up staying for a while it doesn’t hurt to have some, like the Medela Baby Soft Silicone Soother 0-6 month 2 Pack, just in case. Remember to sterilise them before you pack. 

Packing tip! 

Pop items in separate zip-lock bags or reusable cloth bags so you can find what you want easily. 

pregnant woman and maternity bag

Birthing parent checklist

Whether you’re planning a vaginal birth, caesarean section or water birth, this list covers everything you’ll need to be ready to labour in the way that you need to on the day.

If you have a partner with you, they’ll also need to be prepared to support you over several hours. Let them know they’ll likely need snacks, drinks and a change of clothes they can get wet in, in case they need to hop in the shower or bath with you. 

Labour bag:

  • Birth plan – if you have made one. Remember to bring a few copies for the midwives, the attending obstetrician and your birth partner/s.
  • Medicare card
  • Private insurance information and/or any pre-admission paperwork for the hospital if needed.
  • Phone
  • Tablet or laptop – you may have time in the lead up to birth where you’d like entertainment. This will also useful for your hospital stay. Remember to bring speakers and/or headphones.
  • Birth music playlist – create a compilation of tunes that will be soothing to you, or bring along the playlist you used while you practiced your breathing throughout pregnancy.
  • Chargers and cords for phone, tablet, laptop
  • TENS machine – if you’ve been practicing to use a TENS machine for pain relief during labour, be sure to have this handy item ready to go.
  • Affirmation cards – during labour, affirmation cards set around the room or read out by your birth partner can help you feel empowered and calm.
  • Face washers – cool your face during labour with a wet face washer. Simple washers like House & Home Face Washers will do the trick. 
  • New cloth nappies or towels – to put in warm water and press on your back for pain relief.
  • Warm socks – your feet can get cold during labour and having a pair of warm socks can help to keep you snug.
  • Maternity bra, tankini or bikini top – if you’re planning to have a water birth or think you may want to get in the bath or shower, you may feel more comfortable with a top like the Brilliant Basics Women’s Seamfree Maternity Bra to use in the water. 
  • Snacks – plain crackers or biscuits, energy bars, muesli bars and lollies to suck on can give a much-needed energy boost throughout labour. 
  • Drink bottle with a straw – you’ll want to stay hydrated throughout labour, and a straw will help you to sip at the times you can’t swig. 
  • Massage oil – for a relieving massage during labour.
  • Lip balm
  • Hair bands 
  • A comb – to use as a distraction technique during labour pains. This is a well-known pain relief technique used by midwives! 


Hospital stay bag:

Once your baby is Earthside, you’ll need a few essentials to keep you comfy and prepared for a few days stay in the hospital:

  • Supportive nursing bras – bring one for each day you anticipate you’ll be in hospital.
  • Comfortable underwear – you can’t have enough pairs of comfy undies!
  • Maternity leggings or comfy pants
  • Breastfeeding singlets or tops
  • Cardigan or jumper that’s breastfeeding friendly
  • Pyjamas
  • Dressing gown
  • Nipple cream
  • Breast pads
  • Nipple icepacks – you can place these in your bra for relief if needed. Choose ones like Rite Aid Hydrogel Breast Discs that you can pop in a fridge to keep cool.
  • Heavy-duty maternity pads
  • Personal toiletries – the hospital will provide some toiletries but by bringing your own, you can choose scent-free and gentle products. Include your skin care items like face cleanser and moisturiser, body moisturiser, deodorant, body wash, shampoo and conditioner.
  • Your regular toiletries bag, hairbrush and hair dryer if needed. 
  • Super-soft toilet paper – the hospital will have toilet paper but your post-birth body will appreciate gentle paper. Trust us.
  • Pillow and pillow case – the hospital will provide pillows but bringing your own will add homey comfort.
  • Towel – while the hospital will have these, you’ll appreciate a nice soft towel from home for your first post-delivery shower.
  • Ear plugs – hospitals can be noisy and if you’re staying for a few days you’ll be glad to be able to block out some of the extra sounds.
  • Eye/sleep mask – if you think you may be sensitive to light in the ward.
  • Thongs – you may want to wear these in the shower, or if you want something easy to pop on your feet.

Packing tip!

Bring a laundry bag for your and your baby’s used clothes so they’re easy to separate out when you get home. 

Going home bag:

  • Your going home outfit – choose an outfit that’s easy to breastfeed in.
  • Underwear
  • Shoes – simple slip-on shoes are best. You really won’t feel like bending over to deal with shoelaces or straps!

Extra essentials for support people and older siblings

  • Gifts from the baby – if you have older children, lots of parents love to give gifts from the new baby to the new older sibling! It’s a big day for them too.  
  • Special activities – like sticker or colouring books for when older siblings visit the hospital.
  • Chocolates or a tin of biscuits – to give with a Thank You card to the hospital staff and your birth support person or doula, if you have one.
  • Baby keepsake book – it can seem in the moment that details like your baby’s birth weight and eye colour will stay with you forever, but if you have the inclination to write them down now, you’ll be glad later when the busy-ness of caring for your baby at home begins. You may want to choose one like the gorgeous May Gibbs Baby Records Book with iconic gumnut baby illustrations. 

Want to print out a hospital and home checklist you can keep and tick off? You can download BIG W’s Baby Checklist here. 

This is a sponsored post by BIG W, where you can find everything you need for pregnancy, baby and beyond.


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