Preparing for Parenthood: What to pack for Labour, Delivery and Recovery

Preparing for Parenthood: What to pack for Labour, Delivery and Recovery

Our Hospital Bag Checklist suggestions for Mum, Baby, and Support Person

Packing your hospital bag in preparation for the arrival of your baby/babies is always an exciting milestone for parents, marking the anticipation of your new arrival. It symbolises the start of the next chapter of your lives, a time which comes with excitement, nervousness and anticipation.  

As your due date approaches, having your hospital bag packed and ready to go is essential, whether you're a first-time parent or adding to your family. Checking off the essentials ensures peace of mind that you’ve done everything you can to prepare for a smooth and comfortable experience during labour, delivery, and those first few days postpartum.  

Here is our comprehensive list of hospital bag essentials for mum, baby AND your support person, to help you prepare for this momentous occasion. Of course you can definitely add on top of this list, but this is a helpful starting point for you to build upon ❤ 


For Mum: 

  • A copy of your birth plan and preferences, and anything to help you achieve it  
    • Music and a playlist  
    • Essential oils for aromatherapy and massage 
    • TENS machine if you are planning to use one for pain relief. A TENs machine provides natural non-invasive pain management without medication, helping reduce labour discomfort through electrical impulses, helping to reduce labour discomfort without medication. 
  • Comfortable Clothing:
For Labour 
    • Loose-fitting clothes you’ll be comfortable to labour in – you can use the hospital gown or bring along a baggy t-shirt, a birthing wrap – something accessible and free flowing is favourable 
    • Bikini top or sports bra – if you’re planning a water birth 
    • Socks – your feet can get cold during labour
For Postpartum recovery 
    • Consider nursing-friendly tops, pyjamas, and a robe for easy breastfeeding and mobility. 
    • Comfortable underwear - high-waisted black cotton underwear at the best – that are large enough to wear over maternity pads. 
    • Socks 
    • Slippers or slides 
  • Toiletries:  
    • Any Medications you take  
    • Toothbrush 
    • Toothpaste 
    • Shampoo and conditioner 
    • Deodorant 
    • Hairbrush and hair ties  
    • Glasses, contacts and contact solution (if you use them).  
    • Lip balm 
    • Moisturiser – Face and Body – the maternity ward can be quite warm and drying for your skin 
  • Nursing Bra and Breast Pads: If you plan to breastfeed 
    • Easy to open tops 
    • Nursing Bras 
    • Breast pads to absorb leaks 
  • Postpartum Care Items:  
    • Maternity pads – Some birthing units provide maternity pads, check with your Lead Maternity Carer as you may want to consider bringing your own as a precaution 
    • Any postpartum recovery products such as witch hazel pads or perineal spray 
    • Nipple cream 
  • Snacks and Drinks: Labor and delivery can be long, so pack nutritious snacks like nuts, muesli bars, dried fruit, bananas, dark chocolate to keep your energy up. 
    Don't forget a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated. Just be aware some birthing units prefer for Mama's not to eat during labour – something to check with your Lead Maternity Carer. 
  • Comfort items: Items which will make you feel more at ease and help pass the time during early labour and recovery. 
    • Your own pillow from home 
    • Books 
    • A tablet loaded with your favourite movies or TV shows 
    • Phone charger 

For Baby: 

  • Infant Car Seat: Make sure you have a car seat which is suitable for a newborn ready to go for the trip home. In New Zealand, it’s a requirement to have a car seat fit for a newborn, for when you’re discharged from a hospital or birthing unit. This can be a capsule, which is specifically designed light for infants so it can be easily moved in and out from the car for portability; or a convertible car seat, which is also newborn ready, and can be adjusted later to accommodate for older children. 
  • Newborn Clothing: Ensure you pack several outfits and layers of clothing for your baby. This includes: 
    • Bodysuits 
    • Sleepers 
    • Pants 
    • Socks/Booties 
    • Warm jumper 
    • Don’t forget a going-home outfit with beanie.  
    • It’s wise to opt for soft, breathable fabrics like cotton or merino. 
  • Packing Multiple outfits will ensure your baby stays comfortable during your hospital stay, especially if it extends longer than expected 
  • Swaddles 
  • Blankets 
  • Nappies 
  • Wipes 
  • Baby Toiletries:  
    • Baby wash 
    • Lotion 
    • Nappy Cream
While hospitals typically provide basic baby care items, you may prefer to bring your own. 

For your birth support partner: 

  • Comfortable Clothing:  
    • Sleepwear 
    • Swimwear – if they plan to get into the birthing pool with you or help you shower after baby is born 
    • A change of comfortable clothes 
  • Snacks and Drinks: Keep your support person fuelled with their favourite snacks and beverages to stay energized during labour and delivery. 
  • Toiletries:  
    • Toothbrush 
    • Toothpaste 
    • Deodorant 
    • Glasses, contacts and contact solution (if you use them).  
    • Lip balm 
    • Any medications they usually take 
  • Comfort items: Items to make their stay more comfortable and help pass the time during early stages of labour 
    • Books 
    • A tablet loaded with your favourite movies or TV shows 
    • Phone charger
    • Camera and charger (if you’re planning to capture the moment) be sure it’s charged and that you have a spare battery and/or charger 

Remember to pack your hospital bag and baby’s car seat ready well in advance of your due date, ideally by the beginning of your third trimester. 

Even if you’re planning a homebirth, it’s a good idea to have a hospital bag ready just in case your birth plan changes, and you’re required to go to the hospital unexpectedly. 

Having these essential items prepared and organised can help alleviate some of the anxiety surrounding childbirth and ensure a more comfortable experience for everyone involved.  

If you get to the birthing unit and realise you forgot something, it’s no sweat; the chances are your partner or family and friends will be more than happy to assist and bring anything you’ve forgotten, just focus on getting your baby here safely. 

Wishing you a smooth and beautiful delivery, bringing your baby earthside! 


babycity's hospital bag recommendations: 

Britax Car Seat


Viva La Vulva



Newborn ready Car Seats

 In New Zealand, it's a requirement to have a car seat fit for a newborn when you're discharged from the hospital or birthing unit

Viva La Vulva

Specialising in postpartum care to take care of you down there, so you can take care of your baby 

Mokopuna Merino

New Zealand made garments using 100% super fine merino wool


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