What Should I Pack In My Hospital Bag (UK)?

Sunday 7 November 2021

No comments

If you're a first-time mum like me, you definitely Googled, "what should I pack in my hospital bag?" or asked a friend/family member who has already been through it all. You probably read/received plenty of conflicting answers... The truth is, everyone has their own opinion. However, if you're clueless (like I was), you need a good place to start. 

I gave birth in April, so it was nice and mild. Hospitals are notoriously warm, so it's also worth keeping that in mind when picking outfits to take. To help out, I've created a simple list of essentials, nice-to-haves, and items I didn't need/don't rate.

What to pack in a hospital bag uk

For the mum-to-be


  • Maternity notes aka the "yellow book"
  • Your own pillow (it might seem a bit excessive but you'll thank me)
  • Flip flops or slippers for walking to the bathroom / having a shower (they can be grotty)
  • 2 open button nightshirts/pyjamas for skin-to-skin and/or breastfeeding
  • Nursing vests (if you plan to breastfeed - I recommend the H&M strappy ones)
  • Comfortable going-home outfit - forget style, you'll still be bloated and sore. You also won't care what you look like... I wore maternity leggings, sandals and a smock top.
  • Your favourite socks
  • Peri water bottle (probably my favourite purchase)
  • 6 pairs of large high waisted 'granny pants' (if you're using maternity pads)
  • Toiletries - I splashed out on expensive travel-sized haircare and skincare. The best decision ever. I was sick during labour and felt like a new woman after a shower with my favourite products
  • Maternity pads or maternity pants (I rate Boots' own brand pads or Always Discreet Pants)
  • Nipple cream (if breastfeeding) - Lanisoh is the most popular one but I didn't love it
  • Expert Midwife Spritz for Bits
  • Water drinking bottle for keeping fluids up - if you have a catheter fitted during labour, you are required to pass a 'pee test' once it's removed. So you need to drink a decent amount of water.
  • Casual clothes for birth 
  • Bikini top if you want a water birth
  • TENS machine (if you fancy it - I started using mine in early labour)
  • Freya App (if hypnobirthing is your thing - I thought it was incredible)
  • Phone charger with a long lead
  • Your camera

Nice-to haves:
  • Cute ziplock bags for separating your clothes and baby's
  • Snacks for you and your birth partner - I couldn't keep any food down and Sam wasn't hungry (despite a 43-hour labour)... but I ate snacks the day after giving birth. We had to buy Lucozade during the final stage of labour so I recommend packing isotonic drinks
  • Cool bag with ice packs for your colostrum if you expressed any (labelled)
  • Change of clothes for your partner

I didn't use:
  • A nursing pillow - newborns are tiny anyway, even 8lbers!
  • Fairy lights, essential oils, or headphones. Maybe if I had a shorter labour I would've been into this... I did use headphones during the car journey there to keep myself  'in the zone'
  • Earplugs / an eye mask for the ward - I wanted to be alert and let's be honest, it's unlikely you'll sleep anyway (I had one full hour the night I gave birth)
  • Breastpads - at the earliest your milk comes in on day 3 so they are pointless unless you have to stay in due to complications
  • Nursing bras - I just used my nightdress/pyjamas and baby boy was constantly feeding anyway

For baby
  • Clothes - I took way too many. If you're only in for a couple of days you won't need much. I'd suggest 3 sets (vest and sleepsuit combo) and a going home outfit that includes a cardigan and a hat
    • I 100% recommend wrap-over/kimono style vests as putting your newborn in a vest feels like such a struggle when you're a first-time parent. They are really wriggly and very hungry so the quicker the change, the better! Zip sleepsuits are a game-changer too
  • Water wipes - midwives prefer them and they are more convenient than cotton wool
  • Nappy sacks
  • 15 - 20 nappies (to be safe)
  • Barrier cream - apply this after every nappy change. I recommend Weleda Calendula Nappy Cream
  • Blanket for going home (they get wrapped in a hospital blanket for your stay)
  • Stash of muslins
  • Car seat

In my experience (I heard two midwives moaning), hospital staff don't love it when you rock up with an endless amount of bags and to be honest, it's just not needed. I took a small carry-on suitcase (shown below) and a backpack. My husband had his own backpack with snacks and a change of clothes. 

Suitcase for Hospital Bag

One final tip:
As I gave birth at 41 weeks, I had plenty of time to prepare my nails - I suggest avoiding gel nails as they can interfere with the pulse oximeter. I didn't expect to end up in theatre and assumed Barry M Gelly Nail Polish wasn't proper gel polish, but I was wrong. Thankfully the staff just rotated the device so a reading was still possible but I'll avoid gel nails next time (although I did feel cute). 

Have I missed anything? I'd love to hear your must-have items and what you didn't rate/use!

Read More