Bringing a new baby into the world is cause for great joy, but it can also be very stressful, especially if you find you’re underprepared. Preparations usually begin months before the birth, but in the heat of the moment, when labour finally arrives, it’s easy to forget certain essentials for a 2-4 day stay in the hospital. Use this list of delivery room essentials to make sure your hospital bag is packed and ready to go.

The bare necessities

There are few things more important than having your favourite pyjamas on hand in the postpartum recovery suite, but your identification, insurance information, hospital forms, and birth plan all make the list. The last thing you need on such an important day is the stress of important details being mixed up or forgotten! Toiletries also fall under this category, and it’s not just about the toothbrush, toothpaste, and bath towel anymore. Be sure to bring a quality lip balm to eliminate any discomfort during labour, and stock up on maternity pads – regular ones won’t cut it when you’ve just had a baby.

Comforts from home

A few days is a long time to go without your favourite foods or entertainment options, so add them to your must-have list. If there’s ever a time you deserve to be pampered and indulge in things that make you feel good, this is it, so pack all the snacks, entertainment, and pillows you can fit in your hospital bag. The combination of your favourite music, magazines, and a few pillows from home can do wonderful things, and it’s a great alternative to anxiety-inducing COVID-19 news, for you and your partner.

Wardrobe basics

There are no fashion rules around going to the hospital to give birth, but there are plenty of clothing items you’ll need for a comfortable stay. Make sure you and your partner both pack enough warm, comfortable clothing to see you through a few days at the hospital, including items you’re willing to get dirty.

You’ll need all of the comfort essentials, including thick, warm socks, a robe, a few maternity bras and nursing pads, and underwear that’s large and strong enough to hold up a maternity pad. Comfortable sleepwear and a sleeping mask are also great hospital bag additions – even if you’re a heavy sleeper, maternity wards can be crowded and noisy, and you’ll need all the sleep you can get to keep unnecessary stress at bay.

Important gadgets

This one is pretty obvious, but you won’t want to be hanging at the hospital for several days without a few technological devices. Mobile phones and chargers are a must, especially if you have family and close friends waiting on updates about the new arrival – remember, though, to savour the first few hours with your new little family. A camera is also great to have on hand for higher quality pictures of the moments you’ll want to capture. Even if you’re not exactly looking your best post-labour and delivery, the moment you meet your brand new baby will be one to remember forever.

Car seat

It’s all too easy to put off buying a car seat for your new baby until, suddenly, you’re on your way to the hospital! A car seat is a legal requirement and an essential safety measure, so make sure you’re prepared well in advance! Some car seats can be especially tricky to install as well, so don’t wait until the last minute to make your first attempt – get familiar with the instruction manual early on.

Equipment for baby

Buying adorable outfits for your new baby is one of those exciting milestones all new mothers look forward to, so don’t forget to bring your haul along to the hospital. You’ll need a few bodysuits, several pairs of socks and booties, and a super-cute outfit for pictures, of course. On the more practical side, nappies and a baby blanket make the must-have list – stocking up on everything you need to keep baby warm, dry, and clean will take much of the stress out of the first few days.

This checklist isn’t exhaustive, but it covers all the basic things you’ll need to make it through labour. Every experience of labour is different, and although bringing a new life into the world is never a small ask, having the right equipment and support will make a big difference.