The Only Hospital Packing List You Need by Amy Malpass Hahn


As a card-carrying Type A, there’s not much I love more than a good list. One that can be successfully checked off? Even better.

However, as the mother of a (very, very active) toddler, the days of completed lists are unfortunately long gone. So, when the opportunity arose to crease the ultimate packing list to prepare for the birth of my second son, I was ready.

Armed with experience from my first birth (surprisingly, my pre-pregnancy jeans were not taken out of the suitcase?), a wealth of recommendations from fellow birth-givers, and a well-formatted Excel spreadsheet, this was going to be one list well executed.

Having now delivered my little (actually, very large) Charlie, I can confidently claim that this list is the definitive guide to hospital packing. Assuming a 4-night hospital stay, all you need is a few weeks pre-birth (for organisational sanity – see prior Type A note) and a highlighter. (And perhaps a handy credit card, as I’ve included links to buy.) Let’s get listing.

Firstly, we need to start with two bags:

  • Your labour bag
  • Your hospital stay bag

Your labour bag
This is going to be a smaller-sized bag, which you can happily carry in to hospital while knee-deep in rolling contractions. My pick is a hard-working overnighter like this one from The Grace Collection.

In here, you’re going to store everything you need for labour:

  • Your birth plan
  • Any documents your doctor has been using throughout your pregnancy
  • Your phone
  • Your wallet
  • A charger
  • A book (something light, please)
  • Lip balm
  • A room spray
  • A massage oil
  • A good water bottle with a straw
  • Snacks! (Nuts, dried fruit, and easy things to eat.)

In this bag, I also recommend popping in your toiletry bag. If you’ve scored a good-sized overnighter, you should have no issues squeezing it in. It may also be nice to have your hairbrush and other essentials nearby for those visitors who insist on arriving exactly thirty seconds after your placenta.

Your Toiletry Bag

When it comes to the actual bag, I can’t go past this set, which is not only a great sized, sturdy bag, but also includes many of your essentials (so you’re not frantically packing your moisturiser as you head out the door). In here, you’ll pack:

  • Make up wipes
  • Cleanser (included in your set above)
  • Moisturiser (included in your set above)
  • Deodorant
  • Tinted moisturiser
  • Concealer
  • Something for your brows
  • Waterproof mascara
  • Cream blush
  • Hair brush (whatever is already sitting in your cupboard)
  • Straightener (if you don’t already have one … You don’t need one now.)
  • Hair elastics (I know you have these already)
  • Dry shampoo
  • Razor (surely you don’t need a link for this)
  • Shampoo (included in your set above)
  • Conditioner (included in your set above)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste

Your main bag
For your stay, use your favourite small suitcase – ideally a carry-on size (it may seem small – but with this clever list – you can do it). Now, get packing:

  • 2 x maternity bras
  • 8 x pairs of big, black undies
  • Pack of maternity pads (if you run out mid-stay, remember that your partner or friend can pop down to the hospital’s pharmacy to grab you some more)
  • Pack of breast pads
  • A dress and robe you can use throughout the day and night (those times do tend to merge!) – this set from Francis and Henry has you covered
  • Slippers
  • Flip flops (thongs)
  • Comfy shoes (and socks if you need them with the shoes)
  • 2 x pairs of bed socks
  • Post-birth compression shorts
  • 4 outfits (if you decide to make it out of your pyjamas and robe):
  • Loose t-shirt and tights
  • Maternity singlet and loose pants
  • Oversized shirt and tights
  • Loose t-shirt and pants

As well as a:

  • Cardigan
  • Light scarf
  • Going home outfit (something easy that you can also nurse in)
  • Going home outfit for your baby (a onesie is a good idea)

And finally:

Another bag tucked inside to pop all your washing in for at-home; a canvas bag from your supermarket is fine! (And you can then use the extra room in your suitcase for all those gorgeous gifts you’ll inevitably receive and hospital mementos.)

Make sure you check with your hospital to see if they provide essentials for your baby. If so, you’re all set with the list above. However, if they don’t provide bits and bobs for your bubba, you’ll also need to include:

And you’re done! It may seem light-on, but with this super simple packing list, you’ll be set with just what you need for your hospital stay – nothing more, nothing less. Is there a better way to pack?



Amy Malpass Hahn lives in Sydney with her three loves – husband Scott, and sons Isaac (3) and Charlie (brand new!). She is also the co-founder of The Ten Activematernity activewear and marketing consultancy The Communication Studio.

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