Hospital bag for labour and birth

You should pack a bag in plenty of time to bring to the hospital so that you are ready to go when your baby is due.

Hospitals have limited space for personal items, so try to pack lightly.

Ask your partner or support person to take your outdoor clothing after you're admitted.

It is best to leave valuables at home.

Your partner or support person can bring in anything that you might have forgotten.

Below is a list of suggested items to pack for your hospital stay.

What to pack for you

This is what you will need to bring to hospital:

Files and medication

  • pregnancy records including birth plan
  • any prescribed medication


  • 2 comfortable maternity bras or support vests
  • 2 nursing bras if you're planning to breastfeed
  • dressing gown
  • 3 to 4 nightgowns or pyjamas (light ones – hospitals can be warm)
  • wide opening nightshirt pyjamas if breastfeeding
  • an old t-shirt or shirt for labour
  • consider a v-neck for breastfeeding
  • underwear – choose large cotton or disposable
  • a pair of socks for labour (your feet can get cold)


  • slippers
  • flip-flops or other waterproof sandals for shower

Hair clips and bands

  • hair clips and hair bands to keep your hair off your face during labour

Towels and toiletries

  • towel (choose dark colours to avoid staining) for each day you're in hospital
  • toiletries - lip balm, toothbrush, hairbrush, face cloth, tissues
  • breast pads and nipple cream
  • 2 large packs of maternity sanitary towels
  • small bottle of hand sanitiser

Getting breastfeeding off to a good start

Body changes after birth

Snacks and water bottle

  • healthy snacks (such as fruit and rice cakes)
  • refillable water bottle

Birthing equipment

  • any birthing equipment like a birthing ball or TENS machine if you plan on using one

Birthing balls and other equipment for labour

Ways to deal with labour pain

Other items

  • phone and phone charger
  • camera
  • things to help you pass the time and relax (books, magazines, newspapers or music and earphones)
  • your own pillow, if you want to bring one. Use a pillowcase with a colour or pattern so it is not mistaken for a hospital pillow

After the birth

  • pen and paper (you may have to record baby’s feeds)
  • change for the car park
  • loose-fitting clothes for the trip home (which fit you at 26 weeks pregnant)

What to pack for your baby

These are the items you need to pack for your baby:


  • 6 baby vests, 6 baby grows and 6 bibs - all baby clothes should be washed before packing
  • cardigan
  • hat

Towels and blankets

  • pre-washed baby towels
  • 2 cellular baby blankets

Sheets and cloths

  • 2 cot sheets (if your hospital doesn't provide them)
  • muslin cloths


  • 1 pack of 24 newborn nappies
  • 1 roll of cotton wool or pack of cotton wool balls
  • baby wipes
  • nappy cream

Car seat

  • car seat (to be brought in on the day you are going home)

How to change a nappy

Valuable items

Do not bring valuable items into hospital.

Make sure your home contents insurance will cover the loss of any items you bring to the hospital. The hospital insurer will not cover any losses.

Plan your journey to hospital

Plan your route to the hospital. Make yourself aware of the parking arrangements.

Arrange childcare for your other children.

Have the number for the maternity ward or admissions office stored on your phone and on display in your home.

Learn your Eircode. This will help an ambulance find your home quickly if you need one.

Slaintecare logo
This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 26 March 2019
Next review due: 26 March 2022