Hospital Bag Essentials

As a new mother I was always excited to spend a little time getting the hospital bag together. I used to start this around 6 weeks before baby’s due date and loved to do this each time, even when expecting my 4th baby!

However, as a midwife I will often find some new mothers are either unprepared that is, not all the essentials have been considered or they just didn’t get a chance to pack, as baby was premature or another type of pregnancy related emergency and there just wasn’t enough time to pack.

I do think 6 weeks in advance is a good place to start with respect to getting your hospital bag together however, a list would have been very helpful at the time.

So here is a list of what I think are important essentials when preparing for your admission for confinement ( your post natal stay in the hospital). Finally, as I work in a private hospital some mothers may opt to stay 6-7 days in confinement and on some occasions longer for the benefit of establishing breastfeeding and baby’s well being. However, in the public hospital this could be only 48hrs or even less! Nevertheless, a few essentials never go astray.

The most important thing is being well prepared. This means having everything you need ahead of time, checking to make sure that all is in order, and storing the things you need to take with you in your Hospital maternity bag somewhere convenient so your partner knows where to grab it in a hurry. Obviously, you need a compact bag to put everything into. Make sure this is within the maximum size allowed or you may have to unpack it at reception.


  • Your antenatal record/card
  • A printout of your birth plan/preferences
  • Your wallet with Medicare card and private health insurance card, if applicable.
  • A large water bottle that is easy to drink from – we recommend one with a straw.
  • Healthy and practical snacks for labour – coconut water, raspberry leaf tea, bliss balls, muesli bars, nuts, fruit etc.
  • A nourishing body oil for massages
  • A heat pack for pain relief
  • Tens machines, birth comb, affirmation cards, rebozo, exercise ball (optional)
  • Comfortable clothes to labour in – think something loose, easy to take on and off, with easy access to your belly to listen to baby’s heartbeat. We recommend a large t-shirt, a robe or a sarong.
  • Lip balm – air conditioning and nitrous oxide gas can make your lips very dry.
  • Music (you may have to bring your own portable speaker)
  • Diffuser (your hospital may provide one) and essential oils. We recommend clary sage to aid labour, lavender to help you relax, and peppermint in case you get nauseous.
  • Electric candles and/or fairy lights if desired
  • A book on breastfeeding may be helpful look here for a great resource


  • Personal toiletries, including soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush etc. ( some hospitals may have shops in the foyer and a pharmacy especially the big ones – but not at 3 am).
  • A travel pillow or bed pillow in case you have time for a nap or overnight stay
  • You may like to try some of the more novel ideas such as Breastfeeding cookies or breastfeeding teas that are thought to support your supply
  • Headphones
  • Hair ties, clips or a headband to keep hair out of your face
  • Nipple balm
  • Phone charger
  • Prescription and non-prescription medications, if needed (please let your care team know)
  • Thongs or slippers, and perhaps non-slip socks (footwear must be worn at all times)
  • Maternity pads (3 packets)
  • Nursing bras or a wire-free bra or support top (like those used for exercising)
  • Underpants – waist-high, full brief (rather than bikinis) and lots of them!
  • Nursing/breast pads
  • Camera
  • Nightwear – a nightie or night shirt, pyjamas, and a dressing gown
  • A keepsake or notebook to write down some first thoughts and memories



  • Birth partner or support person
  • Snacks and drinks
  • A change of clothes
  • Personal toiletries, including soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush etc.
  • A travel pillow or bed pillow in case you have time for a nap or overnight stay
  • Headphones
  • Hair ties, clips or a headband to keep hair out of your face
  • Lip balm
  • Phone charger
  • Camera

And there you have it. If you leave yourself the time to pack your bag you usually will find you have thought about everything! Maybe print this list as a reminder.

To shop Nursery bags check out our collection here

To learn more about babies and getting prepared look here