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, which you can also download and print out, ready to tick off items as you get them.
For me during labour
• Birth plan and medical notes – print a few copies
• TENS machine – easy-to-use pain relief
• Old t-shirt or nightie – something you’ll feel comfortable in
• Bottle of water – choose one with a sports lid
• 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
• Maternity or 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
• Breast pads – helps soak up leakage
• Nipple cream – works wonders on sore nipples
• 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 5-6 months’ pregnant and you’ll want 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 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 (Group0+ and ISOFIX base) – it’s illegal to take your baby home in a car without one
For dad/birth partner
• Magazines, newspaper, Kindle and music – there’s often a lot of waiting
• Camera/camcorder and spare batteries – for baby’s first pictures
• Phone and charger – everyone will want to know how you and baby are
• Change for car park/vending machine – in the rush, this is easy to forget
• Snacks and drinks
• Contraction timing app on phone – a very useful little app! Get it for Android or iPhone
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 Loves Baby 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 road works 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.
• Remember you can get everything you need for your hospital bag at Tesco!
From bump to toddler, Tesco Loves 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.