What to bring into hospital

Knowing what to bring – and what not to bring- into hospital with you leaves many mothers in a panic. It will vary a little from hospital to hospital but your basic needs are the same. Try not to bring too many bags with you, and lots of ‘just in case’ extras; unless you are planning to have no birthing partner and no visitors, things that you have forgotten or need can always be brought in for you.

It’s a good idea to pack 2 separate bags; one for your things for labour and birth and the other for the postnatal ward; labour ward rooms can have limited space for lots of luggage. Remember it is not a siege and you do not need to bring everything but the kitchen sink!

It is essential to bring any hand held maternity records with you to the hospital. If you are on regular medication, please bring it with you. It is very important that you make this known to the midwifery staff on the ward.

Useful things to bring for the birth

  • Maternity records (if you have any)
  • Medication (if you are on any)
  • Knee-length T-shirt or nightie for labour; roomy, cheap, thin cotton is best. There will be hospital gowns which you’re welcome to use, but they will not be as comfortable and often do not cover your bottom properly. If you are having a planned caesarean section, you will be given a hospital gown for the birth.
  • Clean nightie to change into (if you have a normal birth you will be able to wear loose fitting pyjamas/lightweight track suit afterwards if you want to, but in the event you may temporarily need a bladder catheter, pyjama bottoms can be difficult to wear)
  • Lip salve
  • TENS machine if using one
  • Fine water spray
  • Cartons of non acidic juice or 1 or 2 isotonic sports drinks (not fizzy)
  • Toiletries
  • A nappy, stretchsuit, vest and hat for the baby
  • Snacks for yourself & birth partner – bananas, cereal bars or a sandwich work well. (glucose tablets are not very useful during labour as they are too short-acting.)
  • Something to read
  • Phone charger (mobiles may be used, but keep on silent & use with discretion)
  • Dressing gown and slippers or flipflops
  • Mobile charger & phone
  • Magazine/books

Suggested pack list for after the birth

  • Nighties, pyjamas or loose comfortable clothes (remember it is usually very warm in hospital)
  • Toiletries *
  • Comfortable knickers * –the best sort are comfortable brief style cotton knickers. Paper disposable pants are generally quite uncomfortable, not cheap and quite small. If you have a caesarean section wound or perineal stiches, low cut, minimal style non-cotton knickers will be very uncomfortable and will rub. You also need to be able to fit a maternity sanitary pad inside them. There are many stores that sell multi packs at very reasonable prices.
  • 3 – 4 well-supporting feeding bras, breast pads and nipple cream if you are breastfeeding
  • Clothes for going home
  • Maternity pads *
  • A small hand mirror (if you are unable to get out of bed on the first day and have visitors coming, you may not want to have to rely on your partner to say you look yourself!)

Packing for your baby

  • 5-6 sets baby clothes; all-in-one stretchsuits + vests are the most practical
  • 2 cotton baby hats. Don’t buy expensive hats, as usually a hat is put on the baby to keep him or her warm almost immediately after birth and it may get stained.
  • Muslin cloths or bibs – these are not essential, but quite useful for general mopping up.
  • Nappies *
  • Formula and bottles if you are not breastfeeding *– Check with the hospital whether they have a milk preparation kitchen with facilities to prepare powder formula. You may find that liquid feed will be more convenient whilst you are in hospital.
  • Going home – you will need a warm outer layer (either a snowsuit or jacket and a hat or a warm blanket and hat) to take your baby home if it is cold weather. If the weather is warm, a light jacket or cardigan and/or blanket will be fine.
  • It is a legal requirement to have an appropriate baby seat if you are travelling home by car. You do not need to bring the car seat and going home clothes with you when you come in to hospital, just get someone to bring them on the day that you leave.

* If you are going to the private Sir Stanley Clayton ward after your baby is born you will be able to reduce your packing as some baby items are provided and are included in the charges. Baby linen, towels, disposable nappies and cotton wool are provided. Readymade formula (SMA, Cow & Gate, Aptamil & Hipp Organic) are available if needed. Baby bathing products are not kept on the ward, as we recommend using as few products as possible on newborn skin; babies are bathed in plain water and nappy changes are with cotton wool and water. Babies wear their own clothes in hospital.

The Stanley Clayton ward provides bath towels, sanitary pads, disposable mesh knickers and The White Company toiletries for mothers.

If your partner is staying overnight, please ask them to bring nightwear with them to avoid embarrassing encounters, as staff will usually need to come into your room at night to help you.