What's in my hospital bag - What to pack for baby

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I have T-minus 10ish days until my little boy joins us in the world (unless he comes early like his sister did, in which case I may only have 1 or 2 days to go!!!!), and I have finally finished packing his bag for hospital! They always say you should have your bags ready early, as you just never know what might happen, but I’ve really been rather late to the party with this second pregnancy. But, after a couple of really achey days and loads of cramps and contraction like symptoms, I decided enough was enough and washed everything that needing washing, and packed everything into it’s place. I had packed my own bags a little while ago (click here to read) and I can officially say we are ready! To be fair, babies don’t care whether you’ve taken the perfect photo of their bags before they decide THEY are ready to be born, but it does feel good to have packed everything I’ve wanted to pack, as well as photograph it all and write this blog post.

What you pack will largely depend on what hospital you go to, and what that hospital provides you with during your stay. Some hospitals give you a baby bag with lots of essentials (like nappies, cotton wool etc) and others don’t. Your hospital also won’t provide clothes for your baby, and if you’re anything like me, you might be quite particular about the nappies & products used on your newborns skin. I will be having my baby at Mediclinic in Pietermaritzburg (if all goes according to plan and I am able to have the VBAC delivery I am hoping and praying for, and if I need to schedule a caesar for any reason, I am hoping to book in at Life Hospital in Hilton) and they give new moms a lovely baby bag upon delivery which contains one pack of newborn nappies, as well surgical spirits for the umbilical cord, cotton wool, and a few other sample sized versions of baby wash/shampoo/lotion. Even though these are really lovely extras, I will be packing everything baby needs from the nappy & skincare side myself, and then will share below what blankets and clothes I’m packing too.

what to pack for baby for hospital citygirlsearching blog

Here is the basic guide I was given by my hospital:

  • Five sets of clean baby clothes: vest, babygro, wrapper/receiving blanket, socks, beanie

  • One warm blanket

  • If you are bottle feeding, our milk kitchens are fully stocked and equipped. You are welcome to bring your own bottles, teats, formula milk and sterilising unit if preferred

  • Dummy and holder (optional)

Here is a breakdown of what I’m packing for baby, as well as the brand names in case you like what you see and want to now where I got each item from. I also am pretty sure I’m going to add things to the bag last minute (like more swaddles/receiving blankets) but I am trying not to overpack like I did with Everly:


  • 1 soft cotton receiving blanket (Woolies)

  • 1 soft cotton swaddle blanket (Giggle & Beans)

  • 1 bamboo muslin (Kapas Baby)

  • 1 fluffy fleece blanket ( Not packed or pictured yet)

what to pack for baby for hospital citygirlsearching blog

Nappies & Wipes

We used cloth nappies from the newborn stage with Everly (I started cloth from about Day 5, just after we had gotten home from the hospital) and plan on doing the same with BabyBoy. But I’m not going to pack any cloth nappies for hospital, opting to rather use bio-degradable disposables which I had family bring over from the UK.

Eco-friendly/bio-degradable nappies are unfortunately really pricey here in South Africa, but they are available online from places like Faithful To Nature and The Organic Shop. I love the Kit&Kin range of nappies (from the UK) and luckily had family go there on holiday who could bring them back for me. I’m packing 2 packs (40 nappies in total) for our hospital stay. In case you’re wondering what I do with the packs of disposable nappies I get given (like for example the packs that come in the Dischem Baby Bag (click here to read about how to get your free baby bag) and the Mediclinic Baby Bag) I either donate them or re-gift them to friends. I do keep a couple on hand in my nappy bag for emergencies, but haven’t bought a disposable nappy for Everly in over a year!

As for wipes, I absolutely LOVE Pure Beginnings, and always to stock up on their wipes at the MamaMagic Baby Expo as they are always at a really good price. I also buy a pack here and there when I am in BabyCity or Dischem, as it hurts less to buy them gradually rather than all at once. The Pure Beginnings baby wipes are biodegradable (but please try not to flush them down your toilet…although the odd one won’t hurt, flushing wipes…even the ones that say ‘flushable’ can really wreck havoc on your drainage system! These wipes are so soft and gentle on the bum, and smell wonderful…I highly recommend them!

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I really, really, really love all the Pure Beginnings baby products I’ve used. And I especially like their Probiotic range for newborns. I used the cream wash and the body cream on Everly until she was about 5 months old, and still use the cream wash every now and again. For hospital I”m packing their travel sized products (where I can) even though we know we will only bath baby once during our stay, choosing to only do this right before leaving the hospital. I think it’s so important that baby. You can read up yourself as to why some parents choose to delay their baby’s first bath, here is a nice article.

Here is what I’m packing in a little toiletry bag:

  • Baby Wax (Oh Lief) this was a sample from Everly’s baby shower, and I just love how smal and compact it is and it does a great job at moisturising dry patches.

  • Wecsin Powder (for the umbilical cord…this all natural antiseptic powder is AMAZING for wounds, and so much nicer than the Surgical spirits traditionally used…it’s also amazing to use on your Caesar scar).

  • Probiotic Baby Cream Wash (Pure Beginnings)

  • Massage Oil (Pure Beginnings) I’m not sure if we will even use this as I prefer to use the Pure Beginnings Sensitive range for the first few weeks at least, but I love this oil and want to have it on hand, just in case.

  • Bum Cream (Pure Beginnings) & a small tub of Sudocream

Something else you might want to pack is a pair of nail scissors. Lots of babies (especially if they arrive past their due date) have really long fingernails. I personally just used to bite Everly’s nails while feeding her (they are so soft and easy to bite) and although it sounds weird, I was too scared that I would hurt her with the scissors and found I was able to be far more careful with my teeth. I only started using nail scissors from about 6 months or so.

what to pack for baby for hospital citygirlsearching blog


Eeeek this was really hard.

When Everly was born it was the beginning of September, and as the weather was more on the cool side, it was easier to pack for that than I’ve found now that I’m having a baby in the height of Summer. Hospitals are generally kept at a pretty standard temperature, but I’ve never been very good at gauging what I should dress Everly in. I have gone with what friends recommended, and that is long sleeve baby vests and long sleeve baby grows:


I have also packed each outfit in it’s own ziplock bag to help keep things organised:

  • 3 x outfits consisting of long-sleeved vests with poppers, long sleeve long leg baby grow/onesie, socks) and beanie (not pictured)

  • 1 x going home outfit consisting of sleeveless vest, long sleeve top with poppers, footed leggings and a beanie

  • Extras: 2 long sleeve vests with poppers, footed leggings, socks, beanie

Long-sleeved white vests: Woolworthes

Socks: Woolworthes & H&M

Onesies: Next UK & Woolworthes

Going home outfit (green & cream): H&M

Goodness me I can’t get over the size difference between certain brands. The two mostly white onesies above were Everly’s, and came from Next in the UK. They are TEENY TINY compared to the Woolies (blue) onesie and the other newborn outfit from H&M (green and cream). On the other hand, the newborn sleeveless vests I bought for Everly just before she was born only fit her for about half a day as they were SO tiny. I ended up having to use scissors (I kid you not) to cut them off her. It does seem that Woolies has adjusted their sizes to be more appropriate these days.

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I’ve also packed a dummy, a Blue NUK Silicone Size 0 Soother (part of the Blue & Rose collection). It comes in a set of two and also comes with a handy sterlizing/carry case to keep them clean. These are the same dummies Everly used, and the same brand she uses now. We didn’t ever have any problems with nipple confusion etc, and she took to a dummy pretty easily (thank goodness!)

I plan on breastfeeding, and so won’t be taking any bottles along with me, but you might choose to pack your own preference of bottles and teats. I was given a set of TommeeTippee Closer to Nature bottles for Everly’s baby shower, so I will have these on hand at home. We didn’t really do much bottle feeding with her, as I work from home and was around to feed her 99% of the time (click here to read more about our breastfeeding journey).

Sleep association/teddy/fluffy toy of some kind is also a nice extra to take with you. I won’t be packing one as I’d rather not worry about it getting lost in the nursery during our stay, and let’s be real, newborns are pretty much allllll about sleeping and feeding at this stage of their lives. Everly LOVES her Nattou Mini DouDou (you can buy these from Kids Emporium & Hamleys here in SA) but word of warning, whatever cuddly toy you choose for your baby (or whichever one they choose for themselves) make sure you rush out and buy a back up to have on hand for wash days/the times you forget it at Granny’s house ;)

There you have it, the items I’m packing in my hospital bag for my baby boy.

Here is a link to the post on what to pack for mommy (I have packed a bag for labor & a bag for recovery…just to help keep things organised and so hubby knows where everything I might possibly need is)…click here to read.

Please let me know if I’m leaving anything out, or of there’s something you wish you had packed. And as always, feel free leave any questions you may have in the comments below, I love hearing from you!


What's in my hospital bag - What to pack for mommy

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The photo below shows what was in my hospital bag for when I gave birth to Everly in September 2017.

I wasn’t sure how hot or cold the hospital would be (although I was told to expect all sorts of ‘seasons’ even during my 3 day stay due to the aircon working/not working). I had Everly at Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg, and had my husband and doula present through the entire labor (it ended up being an awful long time….nearly 36 hours!) and unfortunately ended up in an emergency ceasar. I feel as though I pretty much experienced both types of births (i.e. went into labor and laboured naturally, with no pain meds and then had the recovery for an emergency caesar) and would like to share what I packed and found useful, as well as the things I will definitely be packing this second time around.

I’m now 35 weeks pregnant, and have been told it’s probably a good time to get all my bags together (you know, just in case things start happening earlier than expected). So whether you are hoping for a natural birth or planning on having an elective caesar, this post should give you a good idea of what to pack. I

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Not everything I packed last time is pictured above, as I had two separate bags, one for labor and one for my stay in the maternity ward afterwards. It helped separating everything and not having to dig around in one huge bag, and it really helped Farmboy and my Doula find things when I wasn’t able to be very coherent. I’m also going to mention afterwards what I plan on packing this time around, so you will be able to see what I actually ended up using, what I wished I had, and what I would highly recommend packing in your bag.

What I’m packing this time around:

As I’m not sure how this birth will go (I’m planning on/hoping for a natural delivery and spontaneous labor) but have learned from my first birth to be prepared for everything. Because of this I’m going to make sure to pack for both a natural & a caesarian…what you would pack isn’t very different, but if you have a natural delivery you might only spend 2 nights in hospital, whereas a caesarian is generally a 3 night stay.

You still need ALL of those maternity pads (I thought you only needed them if you had a natural delivery!) and those mesh panties WILL become your new best friend.

I am also packing two bags again, one for labor and the other for the time I spend recovering in the maternity ward.

What I’m packing in my ‘recovery’ bag:

  • Feeding bras (I actually only ended up wearing one when I had visitors, and the rest of time was far more comfy without one). My favourite ones are the soft nursing bras from H&M. I also really like their nursing tops (strappy tops that have a built in bra that you can lower the straps down to breastfeed). These tops are amazing for layering under your clothes and give your tummy more support, while also making you feel less exposed when feeding.

  • Comfy Pyjamas: last time I packed about 4 different sets of cute pyjamas, and ended up wearing the same one. I packed long night dresses that buttoned up the front, but found the buttons to be a pain to keep having to do up. This time around I am packing one ‘nice’ sleep shirt that buttons up, a soft cotton/viscose nightie (these ones from Woolies are my favourite as they are easy to pull down to feed) and this top and bottoms from PerryWinkle…see below:

  • Breast-pads: Generally your milk only comes in around day 3 or 4, and before that your body is only producing colostrum and so you don’t generally need to worry about leaks. My milk came in when I got home, and from the very beginning I had a very forceful let down. What this means is your milk pretty much comes gushing out (of both sides) as opposed to it flowing in a slower, more manageable way for baby to be able to drink nicely. Often, women with a forceful let down have problems with baby having lots of wind as they are trying to drink as fast as the milk flows and end up gulping lots of air. There are lots of things you can do for a forceful let down (different feeding positions etc) and it’s generally considered a positive problem to have. But one of the effects of having such a strong letdown was a lot of leaking, and so went through boxes and boxes of breast-pads (the Pigeon ones were my favourite disposable ones, and the Biddykins Breast Pads were my favourite washable/re-useable pads). Having to wear breast-pads was always such a pain, and the worst was forgetting to pack a stash of them when leaving the house. I always make sure to keep a whole stash in the car for those ‘just in case’ moments.

  • Breastpump & Nipple Shileds: While it isn’t advised to start pumping before your milk supply has properly established (usually around 6 weeks) I highly recommend taking a pump with you to the hospital. I had a few moments when my boobs were so full and uncomfortable, and while I didn’t really know what I was doing with the pump, it did help relieve them a little. Ideally you would want to pop baby straight onto the boob rathe than pump, but Every was placed under the lights to treat her mild case of jaundice for a couple of hours a day, and so it was during that time on our last day in hospital that I found the pump really handy. All that I was able to pump was a teeny bit of colostrum, but it did help.

    What pump you buy is a very personal choice. I didn’t want to invest in a really expensive pump as I didn’t know how my breastfeeding journey would turn out. Personally, I would recommend buying a manual pump in the beginning, and then depending on how your breastfeeding journey goes, and if you have to go back to work, then perhaps you can invest in an automatic one if you find the manual one too time consuming/frustrating. I did pump quite a bit of milk and ended up building quite a large stash of milk in my freezer that I didn’t ever end up using. I donated my frozen stash to one of the Doula’s in the area who was helping a new mommy and her very prem baby. This was so special for me.

    The reason I didn’t end up using the stash I had so lovingly built up was because I work from home and so was always around to be able to feed Everly directly. When she got older and I did leave her with Granny, she didn’t every really take to a bottle (I didn’t force this issue because I realised I didn’t really need to and while it may have been nice and convenient to have hubby feed her, I really cherished our special time together). Once baby gets older they go longer and longer between feeds, and so you do end up being able to leave them for longer periods of time without needing to worry about feeding. In these instances it was me that ended up suffering more, as my boobs adjusted to not being ‘drained’ and so I made sure to pack my pump in the car with me just in case I needed to pump for my sake. This is another bonus of having a smaller, more compact manual pump as you can pop it in your bag for emergencies. I really liked the Avent Manual pump, but have heard from loads and loads of mums that the Clicks Manual pump is just as good and about half the price. I have also heard amazing things about the teeny tiny and compact silicone breast pump (you can buy this one online from Biddykins or Faithful To Nature.

    Before having Everly, I had no idea what a nipple shield was. It just sounded like some sort of weird kinky object, but now, after using them, I would recommend them 100% and strongly recommend friends pack them in their hospital bags for just in case. While a lot of the very ‘pro breastfeeding’ groups don’t recommend the use of them (they say they can cause nipple confusion and make your breastfeeding journey harder when it comes to weaning baby off them) I just feel that if they help you continue to breastfeed (even if they require effort to wean baby later on) they are 100% worth it. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, and doesn’t always come naturally to a lot of moms. I wrote a post on my own 13 month breastfeeding journey (click here to read it) and offer lots of tips and encouragement for new moms. I say pack a set of nipple shields in your hospital bag for just in case. You don’t have to use them by any means, but if you have them then at least you have the option if things get off to a difficult start with your little one.

  • Gown & slippers: definitely pack a comfy gown & slippers to wear while wondering around the hospital. Just bear in mind the time of the year (in Winter you might want to wear a fluffy gown and fluffy slippers vs Summer…although the hospital will be temperature controlled). As with all the clothes I packed for hospital, I washed everything in a baby friendly detergent. Newborns have such a sensitive sense of smell, their teeny little bodies haven’t had any time to adjust to their new life outside of your tummy, and so you want to try and ensure they aren’t going to get a rash/reaction to the smells on your clothes (the same goes for body washes, perfume etc). My favourite baby detergent is the W.LAB brand from Woolworths. I washed all of Everlys clothes in it until she turned a year (she only officially started crawling then and so before then her clothes didn’t really get very dirty) and after that started washing all her clothes and blankets in the same washing powder we use for everything else in our home (Ariel). You don’t have to use a baby washing detergent, it all depends on how reactive your baby’s skin is.

  • Pads & Panties: whether you have a natural or a caesarian birth, you will bleed (for up to 6 weeks postpartum) and so will need to have a stash of pads on hand. I am so thankful to my sister-in-law who told me about this, as I had no idea. Maternity pads are your best bet (the Carriwell and Dr White ones are great) and then I recommend having a smaller stash of regular pads for later on when the flow lightens up. You will be given a pack of pads to use during your hospital stay (I was also given a pack in my Dischem Baby Bag and in the Baby Bag given to me when I had Everly in hospital) but if you want to stock up, you can buy maternity pads at most pharmacies, and then Clicks and Dischem have a really good selection. You can also buy lots of the Carriwell range on Takealot. Then I have to mention the mesh panties…these bad boys will become your best friend! They are gently on your tummy (especially if you’ve had a caesarian) and are big and stretchy enough to be comfortable. They are basically designed to hold your maternity pad in place, and while they aren’t the most glamorous of things around, they are super comfy! They come in packs of two, and you can either throw them away after each use, of you can gently handwash/machine wash them and re-use. I gave them a good wash in the shower between uses and then they dried really fast as they really are just a soft mesh material.

  • Pillow, extra pillow cases, a couple of dark coloured face cloths & 3-ply toilet paper: I really, really, really loved having my own feather pillow in hospital. If you do pack your own pillow, make sure to pack an extra pillow case (it’s so nice to put a clean and fresh one on) make sure they are brightly coloured so you don’t loose it during your stay. Dark facecloths are so you can freshen up nicely in your first few showers postpartum (you won’t want to use a white facecloth during that time, trust me!) and then my absolute MUST PACK is soft toilet paper. Maybe it’s just me, but having something soft to use when on the loo felt like a HUGE luxury after my long labor. My mom was the one who thoughtfully brought me a small pack of 3 ply paper for my stay. Needless to say it’s not something I would have thought about before hand, but it makes such a difference to use that instead of the horrible and scratchy 1-ply that is usually in the hospital loos.

  • Snacks: while you will get a good 3 meals a day during your stay (as well as tea/coffee mid morning and afternoon…gosh those first few cups of tea were heaven sent!) I was hungry ALL of the time, and often just wanted something handy to snack on and drink. I really enjoyed those small juice boxes from Woolworths, home baked bran and raisin muffins, biltong, nuts and those yummy oat bars from Nature Valley. I made sure to stock up on all these things for home (we stay about 1.5 hours from the nearest grocery store) but while in hospital, it was easy for hubby to pop out and grab me snacks and drinks during my stay.

  • Comfy going home outfit: I packed one of my Cherry Melon maternity dresses to wear for the car ride home as it was loose fitting and nice & cool. Bear in mind you will (probably) still have a tummy for the next good while (I read somewhere that you still end up looking about 4-5 months pregnant after baby) and so I knew I wouldn’t want to wear anything tight. If you have had a caesarian, you will especially not want to wear anything that is tight on your scar. A dress was really comfy.

  • Toiletries & Makeup:

    • wet wipes: my absolute favorite are the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Oil Infused Cleansing Wipes as they are super soft, gently, smell amazing and leave my skin feeling wonderfully soft and moisturised) .

    • Face Cleanser, Cream & Tonic from Skin Creamery. Their all natural & organic range of facial products smell amazing, and are really gentle on the skin. I love that they contain no nasty additives and leave your skin feeling wonderful. Just what every new mom needs. I also use the Oil-Milk cleanser & Everyday cream on my body.

    • Shampoo & Conditioner

    • Concealer/BB cream, Pressed Powder, Blus, Lip balm & Mascara: just a few of my favourite makeup products so I feel a little more like myself, especially for photos during my hospital stay.

What I’m packing in my labor bag:

  • 2 Big fluffy towels: during my labor with Everly, I was in and out of the hot shower constantly. The hot water really helped with the contractions, and I really didn’t enjoy using a wet towel every time I came out the shower. The hospital did supply one towel, but I really liked having my own.

  • 2 gowns: I wore one gown while things were ‘easier’ in the beginning of labor (this is the same pink gown I had packed and used for my stay in the maternity ward), and then really liked having my fluffy gown on hand to use in between showering. It also was the only thing comfortable enough to wear that actually made me feel covered up, and at the same time was easy to take on and off when needed.

  • Slippers: I packed one pair of slippers that I had in my labor bag, and then used those same ones once I was in the maternity ward later.

  • Dark coloured face cloths: these were absolutely essential during labor, and my Doula used two for cooling me off and keeping me comfortable when things got tough later on in labor.

  • Snacks: I didn’t want to eat much while in labor, but devoured a whole bag of Woolworth’s soft gummy sweets. I also enjoyed being able to drink apple juice in the beginning, but later on only wanted to suck on ice chips and drink water. Having some of your favourite snacks and drinks on hand (this is hospital dependant and not always allowed especially if you have an elective caesar booked but pack them anyway, you’ll get to eat them afterwards in any case).

  • Music: having something to listen to when things really started heating up was essential. It helped me to stay relatively ‘out of my body’ and focus on my breathing. Make sure you pack your charger for your phone/ipod and that you have comfy headphones too.

  • Nice smelling candle: this was another MUST have for me. I had a very special candle from South Korea which I just love and always makes me feel nice and calm when lit. Some ladies prefer some essential oils for massage or their favourite hand cream.

  • Toiletries: I’ll have my toiletry bag with me during labor with everything packed as specified above. As I was in and out of the shower, it felt great to be able to put cream on every now and again, and to use face wipes as the time went on.

There you have a full run down of what’s going into my hospital bags this time around. It’s on my To Do list to make a video of the above, and if I get around to it I’ll post it below. I am also writing a post on what to pack for baby next, so keep an eye on the blog for that. I’ll link it below when it’s up.

Please feel free to leave me a comment below if you have any questions or comments, I love hearing from you! Also, let me know if I’m leaving anything out!