Matalan Hospital Bag Checklist Competition! (Competition now Closed)

When I was pregnant with LP I spent ages pondering the contents of my hospital bag – Choosing the right bag, packing it, repacking and making sure I had everything I could possibly need. Even though I had a homebirth it’s advised to pack a bag ‘just in case’ and it contains everything that anyone having a baby in hospital would pack.

With Little Man I packed the bag last minute and only had a few items in it! I think second time you are more relaxed about what you will need in hospital and you know that if you don’t have something, especially after the baby is born, you can always ask someone to bring you something or send your partner out for supplies.

Packing your hospital bag is quite a milestone in any pregnancy and Matalan have put together a list to help you with the packing. Here it is:


This list has pretty much everything you will need and Matalan have even created it as a downloadable pdf so that you can print it and check the items off as you pack them. Even better you can use the Checklist online and click the highlighted sections to zoom to the relevant parts of the Matalan website! There are a few things on the list I wouldn’t pack but it’s better to have too much first time around and feel confident that you are prepared for any eventuality.

The best things I had in my change bag were HUGE pants for after the birth and maternity pads – Awful things but very, very necessary! I also had a little battery fan in case I got too hot during labour and a big bag of jelly babies on advice of the midwives! I also had a contraction counter app on my phone that was amazing during labour and great to look back on afterwards. I also had quite a lot in the hospital bags that didn’t get used – Too many baby clothes and things like make up – I didn’t put make up back on for AGES after the babies were born! I did pack loads of muslins though, you really can’t have too many!

What are your top tips for packing a maternity bag? Is there anything that you couldn’t have managed without or anything that you didn’t need but everyone tells you to pack? Leave a comment with your top tips and add your entry to the Rafflecopter below. One comment will be picked at random to win a Β£50 Matalan Voucher!

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364 thoughts on “Matalan Hospital Bag Checklist Competition! (Competition now Closed)

  1. Both times I packed too much for baby and not enough for me- hospitals are soooooooo hot so you only need vest tops & light pj bottoms or nighties to wear esp of you have to stay in like I did!

  2. Pack early! All my six children arrived weeks before their due dates! Disposable maternity pants look so unsexy but they were one of my best buys and would defo recomend them along with maternity pads!

  3. Pack two separate bags – one for baby and one for you – this is so you don’t feel you need to compromise. Pack a “just in case” list for if you have to stay in longer than expected like we did (a week) and don’t have enough things that way your partner or a friend can go and get the things you need on the list. Make it like a tick box so you can tick what you need with a brief description of where it is. If you have younger children who will be visiting – pack a little something for them – a gift from baby perhaps so they feel involved and don’t get bored.

  4. Make sure you have plenty of maternity pads (sanitary towels) & pairs of knickers, plus extra nighties/pyjamas. It can be quite hot in hospital maternity/delivery wards & you find you get quite sweaty. Everyone overpacks for the baby but forget about themselves! Extra baby grows are recommended too. New baby’s do like to throw up quite a lot!

  5. Something to light to read .. you might be there a loooooong time .. twenty five hours with my first.

  6. With my eldest I did not pack enough baby grows etc, so I would say its better to pack more to be on the side of caution. Also I bought size 2 nappies instead thinking size 1 is soo small and maybe 2 would be better – that was wrong! I did okay with my next two’s hospital bags cos I learned from my mistakes πŸ™‚
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  7. If you can take in your own form of music player and earphones. Whether it be iPod, phone mp3 player with your chosen music. It is great to help you relax and drown out the hospital noises. A notepad and pen for all those last minute lists and thoughts. With my youngest I took in some boxes of Christmas cards and my list and passed the time getting that chore out the way.

  8. Pack something to read to take your mind off things, I found this helped take my mind off things while waiting for the next contraction in the earlier stages!

  9. Pack maternity pads as normal pads arent as good for first few days. Be prepared early just in case baby comes early

  10. Snacks!! They generally only feed you at mealtimes in hospital. They gave me my evening meal at 5pm, then that was it until 7am. When you’re up ALL night with a ward full of newborns that’s no good at all. So stock up! Lip balm (your lips get very dry if you have gas & air) and anti-bac hand gel. I took makeup both times but it never saw the light of day. And take a nightie – I ended up with a section and therefore a catheter. Doesn’t quite work with PJs!

  11. find out what your local hospital supply as often there are bags of baby bits there that way you will have extra room in your bag for your things!

  12. remember to pack snacks & cereal bars. I remember being so hungry during labour but i didnt want my partner to keep leaving. You can not take too much πŸ™‚

  13. Decant things into smaller containers. Rather than take a whole pack of wet wipes, take some out! it takes some planning but you will end up with a much smaller, more organised bag in the end.

  14. Don’t take everything but the kitchen sink!! I took so much the first time (just in case) and never used most of it

  15. I’m doing this right now as I’m having my little girl in 15 days! I know, I’m late! πŸ™‚

    The best thing to have in my bag is a camera as you can’t always charge a mobile in the hospital room so means I can still get a tonne of snaps of baby as soon as she’s here!

  16. Don’t forget phone numbers – sometimes during labour we have other things to worry about than charging the smartphone – a hand written list of numbers and some change are always a good idea

  17. Pack early so your not rushing around at the last minute trying to think of what to put in there. Slippers are a must have x

  18. Energy drinks are a must. I struggled to eat anything last time, so the drinks really helped put some calories into me.

  19. It is not a fashion show, just take light clothes like loose clothes like cotton t shirts, dressing gown etc… more items can be brought be others if needed.

  20. Be prepared and pack a few weeks ahead. I took loads of drinks and snacks for me and hubby. Also don’t forget your phone charger

  21. I always overpack when I go on holiday – I’m talking a few outfit options – so why should it be any different for hospital πŸ™‚

  22. Its a long time ago so I don’t really remember. The only thing that stands out for me is the packet of rich tea biscuits! Helped with the sick feeling before and after and kept me going!

  23. Don’t take too much stuff, half of it you wont use and your partner will eventually be told to go home at some point, so can pick things up for you, and most hospitals have a small branch of Boots where you can get any essentials you might have missed. When I went into hospital to have my first, it looked like I had packed for a 3 week stay!

  24. Pack essentials in one bag and prepare another bag for a longer stay incase you need to stay in longer than anticipated but leave that bag in the car or at home and someone can bring it in for you if needed.

  25. The best tip I can give is to pack early. One of my daughters was born two weeks early and luckily I was prepared and had the bag ready by the front door!

  26. Toilet wipes for when you have stitches, they’re so much gentler than using hospitals sandpaper like loo roll

  27. A plastic spray gun the sort you get I the garden shop ! Great for sprit zing your face and body with iced water !

  28. Take plenty of clothes for the new baby. I didnt realise how much a baby can be sick, and only packed a couple of sleepsuits etc. Had to send the other half home to get more

  29. A spritzer spray and something light and protein packed to nibble on – some raw cashew nuts are perfect

  30. Pack early, use a tick list to make sure you have the basics, don’t get hung up though someone will always bring in anything you have forgotten. so enjoy

  31. Pack in advance and be ruthless about what you take if you don’t really need it then it’ll be in the way.

  32. Snacks and some bottles of water – hospital water can taste awful and you don’t want to get dehydrated. Take a couple of extra changes of pyjamas/nighties – accidents happen!

  33. Pack it early – I was so disorganised when my daughter was born a month early, my mum was on holiday and I had to send my husband out for so much stuff and i just wanted him with me.
    My favourite thing I packed was dried apricots!

  34. Cloth maternity pads – commercial pads are the devil, rough, scratchy, gather-up, prevent air-flow so make you all sweaty and irritated, and full of nasty chemicals, so irritating and higher risk of infection – cloth pads are a lot more comfortable and hygienic. When you get home these also work better for pad-popsicles too.

    Hygienna solo – device you attach to water bottles to turn them into a personal bidet to stay clean, without any irritation from dry scratchy paper, but smaller than packing a spray bottle. Pair-up with ‘family wipes’ too.

  35. Food glorious food – you never know how long you’ll be there & don’t want to risk sending your partner out for food.

  36. Pack early but don’t overpack, you will never use it all. Don’t forget your favourite cold drinks and snacks.

  37. For yourself pack at least 5 pairs of knickers, maternity sanitary towels, those crack and use ice packs (at least 2), some wet wipes, some breast pads, 1 nighty, 1pair of pyjamas, slippers, bra, a bar of chocolate (very important for instant energy), some small cartons of juice, a packet of biscuits, some paracetamol, and a magazine or book.

    For baby pack at least 10 newborn size disposable nappies ( more if you can), at least 5 babygros with one being 3 to 6 months as you never really know how big your New arrival will be, baby wipes, some cotton wool, a baby hair brush, and if it is winter, pack a padded baby suit and a thick baby blanket for when you leave.

    Take your mobile phone with you because hospital phones cost a fortune to use and you can order a pizza delivery while you are in hospital, but prepare to suffer the envy of other hungry New Mums who did not think of this. If your mobile phone also gets internets, you can blog, tweet, facebook or even watch T.V. Ehich is again a heck of a lot cheaper than the hospital T.V. Pay to use and you can listen to music on your mobile too with a ear plug so you do not wake other sleeping Mums if you have to stay in and you can take photos with your mobile as well.

    Do not talk to the people trying to get your personal details and offering you a free bag of baby items and help filling in child benefit forms. It is a marketing ploy and you can get the child benefit forms for free From your local council or benefits office or online.

  38. energy tablets were fab! i couldn’t keep anything down, even the horrid energy drinks they kept giving me. But they were like sweets & gave me that boost i needed!

  39. I had a fan and wet wipes, helped as even though I gave birth in September I was sooooo hot during labour and they came in really helpful πŸ™‚ also water helped a lot too πŸ™‚

  40. Plenty of drinks and snacks because the meals come at set times, and you will want something in the middle of the night, especially if like me you have an early morning c section and then can’t eat all that day.

  41. Pack early, pack enough but not too much, pack something refreshing like drinks, face mist or mints. Music helps too x

  42. Nighties not pj’s – I ended up having a c section and had only packed pj’s which I then couldn’t wear. Had to stay in hospital gown until hubby brought some in!

  43. Just because it’s your first baby doesn’t mean he/she wont be early. Pack your hospital bag as early as possible- minus food. I kept putting it off and had to pack in a rush- not fun! I forgot lots of things and Hubby wasn’t happy as we didn’t pack any food or drinks :/

  44. I would recommend packing two separate bags. One for yourself and one for the baby. Add lots of snacks. You will be starving afterwards.

  45. cotton wool balls, they come in handy for everything – wiping baby’s eyes, cleaning baby’s bottom, cleaning up small amounts of sick, they can be used to cool down mum’s forehead in labour when they have been soaked in water…

  46. Some nutritious snacks, something with some protein in – I can remember the only option for a meal one time was a cucumber sandwich, not great fuel for giving birth, or recovering from a difficult labour

  47. Pack for your expected length of stay, but pack a second bag with all the extras you might need for a longer stay. Leave it somewhere obvious, so that if you do need it, it can easily be found and brought to hospital, (saves someone having to rummage to find what’s needed)

  48. I’d say, after packing all the “Essentials”, pack a hair brush and a camera to take photos of the special “moment”…well, nobody will want to see a photo of the proud parents and baby and mummy has her hair all over!

  49. An energy drink! 2 bottles of powerade kept me going through my long labour! Lots of baby grows – I didn’t take enough and had a very sicky baby!

  50. Have your bag packed early. My daughter arrived 4 weeks early, but I’d had my bag packed by 32 weeks just in case!

    Also – big pants. Might not be sexy but necessary. I had a c section with my son and my midwife recommended wearing hubbys boxer shorts instead of pants as they sat higher up on my waist not on my scar

  51. bottles of water with sports cap for when in labour and lots of energy drinks and snacks for birth partner

  52. I made the mistake of packing pyjama’s , because i had an epidural i couldn’t wear the bottoms until the catheta was removed. it’s not something anyone tells you about but it’s probably best to take nighties.

  53. More than one flannel, so you can ease the hardness and pain in your breasts when ‘your milk comes in’ …run the flannel under the hot tap and apply to them and then run the flannel under the cold tap and apply. It works and really relieves some of that rock hard feeling.
    Plenty of snacks, that don’t need Refridgeration, (especially when you’re veggie)
    Plain and simple vests and babygroes as they do tend to posset when you least expect it.
    If you’re lucky enough to have a Cool Pad that you place over your mattress take it so you’re not overheating. Scratch mitts for baby.

  54. Always remember to take some loose change, honestly it helps, and if you have forgotten something you can pick it up.

  55. Make sure your facial spritzer is non scented. I made the mistake of bringing a kiwi flavoured one in and tho it helped at the time, I now cant smell anything kiwi without feeling queasy!

  56. have one bags with all your overnight essentials in it ~ but if you have a complicated labour then there is nothing worse than sending the partner home to get more supplies, so have a 2nd bag packed with double of everything in it! You can guarantee that if I asked my partner to bring in some fresh nightwear he would bring a onesie πŸ˜‰

  57. Pack early, but not too early. You’re probably going to end up adding more things that you’d β€œforgotten” over time. So the earlier you pack the more you’ll have, and you definitely don’t want to overpack, trust me.

  58. Paper knickers for afterwards. I was told this by a member of staff on the maternity ward who happened to be a friend of mine also and the staff actually came to see if I had any spare for anyone else.

    You bleed for about 6 weeks afterwards as I recall so you might as well have something completely disposable, at least at first

  59. don’t forget a hair bobble!! your head sweats loads during childbirth, you really want it tied back

  60. Make a list and pack as early as possible, baby wipes are essential so are some nice nighties or pj’s and plenty of pants, big ones. Some sweets are good too, midget gems or wine gums x

  61. pack maternity clothes to wear to go home in. I really didn’t realise I would still look heavily pregnant after having my baby. This was news to me ….. luckily I’d packed some maternity and normal clothes !!!!

  62. Cooling facial spritz spray, I like the body spray wipes you get, as you stay fresh but dont have to use a spray around baby. Lip salve, or vaseline… later being better as it doubles up for other ailments. Nice comfy lounge cardie as although hospitals are VERY warm it is good to get out into the fresh air for a while and the change in temperature can feel like more as you have come from the oven that is hospital.

  63. Don’t bother with hair straighteners or make up.You won’t be needing them for along time.

  64. relax and enjoy your new arrival just take the bare minimum your bound to get loads of gifts and babies love baby grows x

  65. Pants and pads to be at the top!! I had a c.section and the nurse was rooting around to find the things i needed bless her x

  66. I never went to hospital when I had my little girl, well I went but they told me I wasn’t in labour & sent me home and I gave birth an hour later on the bathroom floor. But one thing I did have packed that came in very handy over the next few days were energy/glucose tablets they just gave me that little boost I needed when getting up in the night to feed her.

  67. Still compiling my list for my first arrival later this year, however I’ve heard snacks for the dad to be are a must!

  68. A packed lunch, you will be there hours and either you or your birth partner is going to get peckish.

  69. Pack early and not when in labour like i did …. my other half had to go back home and get things that i hadn’t put in lol

  70. I’ve not had to pack one yet… but I should imagine a comfy nightie would be top of my list (and some gigantic knickers) x

  71. Due 30th with my 3rd my advice is not to over pack but have a pile of extras in a drawer at home just incase you have to stay in hospital longer and is easy to ask partner or family member to collect and saves all the panicking in finding things xx

  72. Nappies for your older child/ren. If they need changing when visiting the new arrival Dad may not have brought any in all the excitement (I speak from experience!!).

  73. Dont overpack. Less is more.
    Lavender shower stuff for mum is amazing when u have a shower after birth. Really relaxing

  74. You can never pack too much, best to make sure your prepared and have everything you might need πŸ™‚

  75. Make sure you have plenty of undies and put extra in a draw at home just in case you have a longer stay in hospital. At least then you can direct your partner to where to find the new items otherwise you can end up with anything being brought in!

  76. Two bags are better than one and remember hopefully you will not be there long so keep things simple πŸ™‚

  77. Not a nice thought but lots of maternity pads and small baby grows I must have thought I was giving birth to giant babies when I had my twins

  78. Even if you don’t pack loads it’s worth leaving extras somewhere they will be easily found at home in case you are in for longer than expected. We ended up in SCBU then transferred to another hospital with my little girl, didn’t make it home for almost 2 weeks and the last thing I wanted to think about was giving my mum instructions on where things I wanted were.

  79. pack early, you never know if the new arrival will arrive early, and plenty of pads and disposable pants

  80. Pack enough for 1 day… and have another bag packed with a further 2 days worth of clothes and nappies incase you stay longer… someone can always bring you the 2nd bag is needed and that way you won’t end up taking too much.

    Also, pack a new piece of your favourite ‘everyday’make up… putting eyeliner on after having a 52 hour labour made me feel (and look!) more human again.

  81. Pack lip balm- with my first baby anytime i had a drink i was sick so they gave me a drip instead so my lips got really dry

  82. Wet wipes. They didn’t occur to me when I had my first as I was, of course, only going to use cotton wool and water (sterile if possible). Second time round I realised they would do for my hands, face and other bits. The bed table on which my food was served. The toilet seat before I sat on it. Baby sick etc, etc, etc.

  83. I found disposable nickers very useful and only packed them as my friend told me how brilliant they were. She wasn’t wrong!

  84. Have an extra bag packed with more supplies for you and baby just incase you need to stay in longer. Saves a very stressed new Dad trying to figure out what you both need and more than likely bringing the wrong stuff!

  85. Take comfy clothes that allow for tender nether parts e.g. loose skirt or similar. I had to send hubby out shopping before I could get changed to go home as couldn’t wear the outfit I’d brought with me!

  86. Take lots of change as I find alot of the entertainment cards and vending machines etc in hospitals only take correct change. Also take lots of wet wipes to keep you and your baby fresh and a mirror, as you may have be feeling too sore or poorly or to walk to the bathroom to have baths or wash properly in the first few days x

  87. Kendal mint cake is great for energy!

    I found it better to take 2 seperate bags; one for me and one for bubba. I was in labour in hospital 5 days before having emcs and then obviously a bit longer after the baby was born and it was so much easier to be able to just get what i needed from each bag than going through everything.

  88. Don’t rely on your husband to remember it! Chances are he will be in more of a panic than you! πŸ™‚

  89. Pack plenty of sandwiches and hot soups etc. because labor can make some women throw up the entire contents of their stomachs – I know I did and when it’s all over you can be hit by a tremendous hunger. And hospitals don’t have room service !

  90. Be realistic and pack loose fitting clothes for yourself. You will not instantly ping back to your pre-pregnancy size.

  91. Take some newborn clothes for the baby but also some 0-3 months if you expect a bigger baby as my little man was bigger than expected and the newborn didn’t fit him πŸ™‚

  92. Pack a bag well in advance just in case you get taken in early. I also packed a second bag just in case I had to stay in any longer it was left at home for my partner to bring into hospital if need be. Plenty of maternity pads and disposable knickers also comfy nighties and a hairband.

  93. Separate bags for me and baby. Also, a personal fan as I got very warm and my own bottle of water, as I was so thirsty and they were not very quick at getting me a drink!

  94. Bring snacks – cereal bars are good. If you are sent to the ward late at night you are unlikely to be given food until morning.

  95. Pack early and don’t take too much as extra things can always be brought in if you need to stay in for longer then expected.

  96. Don’t take too much, I ended up losing things as whilst I was sleeping the staff were planning on moving me to another room, as I’d had a c-section and they moved my stuff. Really annoying but then I did have far too much with me.

  97. Sneak some healthy snacks in your bag… You might be in a long time and hospital food isn’t for everyone…

  98. the only other thing i can think of that another mumss haven’t said would be bring your own comfortable underwear that pads would sit on properly. darker the underwear the better consider you bleed a lot for the first couple of days.

  99. take some extra clothes for Mum too incase you have to stay, that was a mistake I made and my hubby had to collect stuff for me, he didn’t have a clue bless him, I ended up with all sorts!

  100. I wish I’d taken more pyjamas & pants, & not bothered with the novel & the CD to listen to during the birth! πŸ™‚

  101. dont forget your slippers πŸ™‚ pack well in advance then you have time to add to it rather than panicking at the last moment

  102. You must pack something that makes you feel gorgeous, as after all the work and shock of a new baby, you will really appreciate a mini pampering session even if it’s in the hospital showers!
    I packed a mini bottle of vera wang’s princess shower gel. I felt like a new woman after that, like I could face anything. It really helped me!

  103. pack yours and baby’s bags separate. when i had my daughter i packed just one bag and was endlessly rummaging through it. much easier to have things separate xx

  104. big knickers that you wont need again and big pads! nighty that opens up for breastfeeding and bring spares!

  105. If you’re having your baby in hospital double check what they provide. There’s no point taking in baby blankets and bottles if they give you these while you’re in.

  106. I’d say don’t stress too much about it! I think the only thing I really missed was a pair of headphones and my music – it can get quite noisy on the ward, and that would have helped to get some peace…

  107. Pack big knickers and comfy trousers for coming home, with a loose top for breastfeeding. Don’t forget some baby wipes – for yourself not the baby!

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