The essential list of what to pack in your hospital bag

The essential list of what to pack in your hospital bag (especially for any future c-section mums)

For my first pregnancy I spent ages packing my hospital bag, and definitely over packing it as well. It was packed weeks in advance, and lists were made. I think that I must have packed pretty much all my maternity clothes along with every single baby vest and sleep suit we had at the time.

Truth be told you don’t actually need loads of clothes for you or the baby. If you’re in for a few days after the birth you will most likely be in a hospital gown, or comfy PJs, and your baby will not need the number of clothes that some books and magazines may tell you.

So I’ve compiled together an honest and essential list of what you actually need to pack in your hospital bag, that accounts for the possibility of having a c-section and a longer hospital stay.

The essential list of what to pack in your hospital bag

For you

Bottles of water

This may seem like a really obvious one, but you will be surprised by how much water you will get through. Hospitals are renowned for being boiling hot, and the last thing you want to keep doing whilst in labour is to keep asking your midwife for water.

TENS machine

I found this invaluable when my daughter was born. Although I ended up having a c-section, I had a 60 hour labour prior to this, and just pressing that button on the TENS machine whilst in the early stages definitely helped to ease the pain. Plus it also gave me something to take my mind away from those contractions.


Take plenty of these. I spent just under a week in hospital and I got through a fair amount of chocolate, sweets and crisps in that time. Labour is long and you will need something at hand to keep you going, and to keep your energy levels up too!

Big black pants

I never bothered with the paper knickers and instead bought 10 pairs of big black pants. You will need these. The aftermath of childbirth or having a c-section is messy, as you will bleed (a lot). I found Tesco big black pants to be the best, as they came up really high over my incision.


This may sound like an odd one, but if you intend to breastfeed or give your baby your colostrum in the early days, you may need to syringe it from your nipples if your baby has trouble latching on. The hospital may provide you with these, but take a few more as you will get through them pretty quickly. Using a syringe is also a great way to see how much your baby is getting, which is something the midwives will want to know.

Nursing Bras

You will need these if you are breastfeeding. They are really easy to use and just unclip from the front compared to a normal bra. For your hospital stay you will probably only need a maximum of two, or one will suffice.

Make Up

This may not seem like an essential, but after childbirth and once you’ve had a shower, you will probably want to apply a bit of mascara or lippy to make yourself feel better. Plus you may also want to be looking a little less pale or tired for all the baby photos and any visitors.

Miniature toilettries

Having a shower after my c-section was a terrible experience, I could barely stand up. However it was something I was craving, and packing those miniature travel toilettries (shampoo, conditioner and shower gel) was well worth it.

Eye mask

If you do stay in hospital overnight then use an eye mask. The bays and wards are really bright, and you will need your sleep. So it’s best to grab a few hours of shut eye in the dark as best as you can.

Flip flops

The bathrooms in hospitals can be pretty grim, so make sure that you pack a pair of flip flops for trips to the toilet and shower. If you’re due a summer baby it’s also good to have a pair of flip flops to go home in, as you may not be able to bend over very easily.

Comfy going home outfit

I have never understood why there is so much focus on the going home outfit. You need this to be comfy, something that you can easily wear and something that doesn’t irritate any wounds or scars. This is not the time to be trying to get back into your skinny jeans. After my c-section I went home in a pair of leggings and vest top, as these were the only clothes that I could bare to touch my incision.

The essential list of what to pack in your hospital bag

For your baby

Clothes and a hat

You don’t need to go overboard here. I would pack 5 vests and 5 sleepsuits, and no more. If you need more you can send your birthing partner home to bring more. A hat is also valuable especially if your baby is born during the colder months of the year.

Nappies and Wipes

I can’t place a figure of how many nappies you will need. So I would be prepared and take enough for 2 days. A newborn baby needs more frequent nappy changes than a slightly older baby, so maybe pack about 20 nappies. We also never bothered with cotton wool, and instead went straight to wipes, so also take a pack of these.

Ready Made Formula

Even if you intend to breastfeed it is always worthwhile packing a few bottles of ready-made formula. You may struggle with breastfeeding initially or your baby may not latch on. Having been a first time Mum who experienced just that, I wish that I had packed a few bottles in my hospital bag. It may have prevented the 11% weight loss, and all the worry and anxiety it caused in the beginning. Please be reassured that there is nothing wrong with taking ready made formula into hospitals. I am a firm believer that a baby should be fed, and mum should be happy, rather than mum struggling and worrying. You can at the same time continue with breastfeeding.


If you are going to take ready made formula in your hospital bag you will need to take some bottles to feed the baby. We initially started with the Tommee Tippee bottles, and this time round I want to try the Minbie bottles in the hope that we can easily switch between breast and bottle.

Alongside this there are many other items to pack including your phone, camera, and phone charger. You may also want to pack a book, magazine or music to distract you. For your baby you may also want to pack a few muslins, blanket and a soft toy. One thing you do not need is scratch mitts as they just fall off and many newborn sleepsuits come with built-in ones.

Here is also what other bloggers would recommend to pack in their hospital bag:

Then there were three says “A hand held fan that spritzes water! I didn’t realise how hot I would get during labour and all I wanted was water thrown in my face and to be fanned.”

Mummy and the chunks says “For a c-section I really recommend those huge disposable pants! They sit high above your cut and it doesn’t matter if they get bloody.”

Hi Baby Blog says “I had an emergency c-section and the thing I packed which I really appreciated was a water mist spray – I think mine was an Evian one. I found the ward very hot and it helped me feel more comfortable. With a catheter / stitches it wasn’t easy to hop up and move to sit near a fan etc.”

Leelee Loves says “If having a ceasarian pack night shirts instead of pyjamas. You won’t want anything pushing on the incision.”

Sophia Ella and Me says “Plenty of maternity pads! You will still need them after a c-section too.”

Something About Baby says “My must have for an c-section is peppermint tea for the trapped wind – I didn’t pack any for my second csection as I didn’t suffer after my first but suffered BAD after my second!”

Flying with a baby says “A pillow from home. It’s so nice to have something from home and an extra pillow helps with comfort! I so agree about the fan and water spray too.”

Me, him, the dog and the baby says “Food! I had an emergency section and was in hospital for 2 weeks. I wanted home comforts when I could finally eat and not the rubbish hospital food.”

So that’s my list of what to pack in your hospital bag especially if you know or if you are likely to have a c-section. Even if you are planning a natural birth it is best to prepared for every eventuality.

Also do not worry about the hospital bag for your birthing partner, that is their responsibility…..not yours. You have enough to do in the final few weeks of your pregnancy, whilst trying to remember to relax at the same time. Just make sure that they remember the baby car seat, and enough change to pay for the hospital car park.

I hope that this list helps, and I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy and childbirth.

Claire x



  • Noleen Miller

    With my first daughter – I didn’t have a hospital bag packed as she was born prematurely via an emergency c-section. I still remember my husband had to pack the bag and forgot almost half of the stuff. Thank goodness for my mom remembering to bring all of it that same day. Then with my second daughter, knowing what to expect – I think the hospital bag was backed 2 months before I had to give birth. Also to add to your list would be maternity pads, breast pads, a good book for mom to read (that’s if there will be time to read) #fortheloveofblog

  • The Rhyming Mum

    I packed so many things “just in case” which never got used. I also had an extra bag with some more stuff in the car just in case I needed to stay in. I did end up having to stay in but I certainly didn’t need all the things I’d packed. I often wonder if I’d be the same if we have another child. I’d like to think not but I’m such a worrier that I’ll probably still pack for every possible outcome! #fortheloveofblog

  • This Scribbler Mum

    First time, I packed too much I think but in the end it was good that I did because the birth was a bit complicated, ended up having to stay in hospital for a couple of days. Second time, I pretty much knew what I needed and still overpacked a little bit just in case (although I didn’t have to). Whether breastfeeding or not, it’s always good to bring formula milk as back up. The ready-made ones in disposal bottles are very handy. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Sara @ Magical Mama Blog

    Fabulous list! We were lucky to have a group of friends that made us a huge snack basket! I had GD and could not eat anything I wanted to, so they packed up all the sweets I had been craving for 4 months! It was the best gift!
    My only suggestions to add would be a little snack basket for the nurses’ station. The nurses all thanked us for helping give them a boost in the middle of the night and we got a lot more attention than other rooms!

  • Tubbs

    I remember reading the various books – yes books! – to see what you needed as the Internet wasn’t such a big thing 14 years ago. They were all very insistent about lots of Big Knickers!

  • Briony

    Eye mask and flip flops were essential for me, and big fluffy slipper socks. The box of maltesers wasn’t a bad call either!! I didn’t pack anywhere near enough for me but way too much for the kid, as I ended up staying for a week there were several trips home for things anyway #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Ali Duke

    I knew I was having a C section so I packed loads of baby clothes knowing I would be in for a few days. I don’t think I used half of them lol.

  • Helena

    It’s so important to surround yourself with the things you love and the basics. If you need anything else write it down and ask your loved ones visiting you to bring it next time. #fortheloveofBLOG

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