You should have your hospital bag packed and ready to go four to six weeks before your due date – and make sure dad or your birth partner knows where it is. See below for our comprehensive list, or download it here.
For me during labour
• Birth plan and medical notes – print a few copies to take to the hospital
• Old t-shirt or nightie – something you’ll feel comfortable in
• TENS machine – easy-to-use pain relief. The NHS has more information about your pain relief options
• Bottle of water – choose one with a sports lid
• Healthy, energy-boosting snacks – labour can be a long and tiring business
• Hair ties – the last thing you’ll want is your hair getting in your face
• Water spray or hand-held fan – mums often say cooling down made them feel better
• Socks or slippers – conversely, your feet can get cold during labour
For me after the birth
• Maternity towels – you can expect to bleed heavily after birth
• Disposable maternity knickers, or some pairs of old knickers – as above, this isn’t the time for your nicest knickers
• Two nursing bras – even if you’re not breastfeeding, your breasts need comfy support. Get at least two so you’ll have one to wear when the other’s in the wash
• Breast pads – protects your clothes by helping to soak up leakage
• Nipple cream – works wonders on sore nipples during breastfeeding
• Towel, robe and fresh nightie – will feel like a little bit of home
• Slippers or flipflops – nice for getting up for the loo or having a little walk
• Toiletries, makeup and hairbrush – a shower after birth will be heavenly
• Mobile phone and charger – let close friends and family know the happy news
• A comfy going home outfit – you’ll probably still look 5 to 6 months’ pregnant and you’ll want your clothes to be comfortable
• Pack of newborn nappies – not all hospitals supply them
• Nappy cream – good to have to hand
• Nappy sacks – for obvious reasons!
• Cotton wool or baby wipes – you’ll be changing nappies up to 12 times a day
• Hat, mittens and socks – you’ll need to make sure your baby is warm enough
• Baby clothes – three or four sleepsuits and three or four vests or bodysuits should be enough for the first day or so
• Going-home outfit or pramsuit – choose something special!
• Cosy blanket and soft baby towel – lovely for cuddles
• Soft muslin squares – useful for pretty much everything
• Car seat (Group 0+) – it’s illegal to take your baby home in a car without one
For dad/birth partner
• Magazines, newspaper, tablet and music – there’s often a lot of waiting
• Phone and charger – everyone will want to know how you and baby are
• Camera/camcorder and spare batteries – for baby’s first pictures, you might want something more substantial than your smart phone
• Change for car park/vending machine – in the rush, this is easy to forget
• Snacks and drinks
• Contraction timing app – very handy indeed! Find one for your Apple or Android device
Other bits and pieces
• Lip balm – the air on hospital wards can feel very dry
• Support pillow – hugely helpful for the first feeds
• Contact lenses or glasses – only if you need them!
• Flannel or sponge – even a quick wash will help you feel fresher
• Disposable bags – useful for taking home dirty clothes
Need to know! Make sure you’ve got these details to hand
• Important phone numbers
• Where my hospital bag is
• How we plan to get to hospital
Tesco Baby Club top tips
• Don’t worry – if you forget something important, the hospital can provide it or a visitor can bring it in for you.
• Do make sure your birth partner checks roadworks or potential disruptions on the hospital route.
• If you think you’ve over-packed, leave non-essential or larger items in the car boot. Your partner can always pop out to retrieve them for you later.
• Find out what other mums packed: start by watching blogger Liza Prideaux’s hospital bag video or reading up about what blogger Alex Gladwin took to hospital
From pregnancy to preschool, Tesco Baby Club is here to help you at every stage. If you’re not a member already, join the Club now for great savings, prize draws and expert advice.