Packing for hospital: What to take for your newborn

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Newborn baby in hospital
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If you’ve never had a baby before or even if you have, you may be struggling to think of all the things your newborn could possibly need in the first few days of life. Baby’s spend lots of time sleeping in the first few weeks (even if they wake up often to feed) but despite that, there’s quite a few things you’ll need to prepare to ensure your newborn will be warm, safe, clean and comfortable.

You may like to talk to other new mums about the things they took to hospital, but you’ll get lots of ideas from the following suggestions.

Nappies and related items

  • Disposable nappies, cloth nappies or both, depending on your preference. If you choose disposables, make sure you buy the newborn size.
  • If you choose cloth nappies you’ll need safety pins or a nappy fastening device.
  • You may also wish to use disposable nappy liners and pilchers (plastic pants for baby to wear over the nappies).
  • A soft cloth or cotton balls for cleaning baby’s bottom when you’re changing nappies. All you’ll need to do is wet the cloth with tap water- baby washing products like wipes which contain alcohol or fragrances are too harsh for a newborn baby’s sensitive skin.
  • Zinc oxide cream or petroleum jelly- in case nappy rash develops in the first few days. These products are time-proven treatments used in many nappy rash creams. They create a barrier between skin and urine or faeces.

Bottle feeding supplies (if applicable)

Some women will know before they give birth that they will be bottle feeding their newborn from birth. If this applies to you, it’s important to go to hospital with all the things you’ll need to feed your baby from a bottle. It may be wise to check with the hospital where you’ll give birth, but at a minimum you should pack in baby’s hospital bag:

  • A tin of infant formula which is suitable for feeding babies from birth. Check the label to ensure it’s suitable for a newborn and also the expiry date
  • Two bottles
  • Two teats
  • One bottle cleaning brush
  • One plastic knife for mixing the formula with the water, or alternatively some bottles come with plugs so you can shake the bottle without the contents going everywhere

Clothing for baby to wear in hospital

A pregnant woman looking at baby clothes

If you’ve been stocking up on beautiful baby clothes you’ll probably enjoy packing them for hospital. Newborn outfits are pretty tiny so you can probably afford to splurge and pack a few more outfits than you’ll need, but consider:

  • Clothes that are not too hot and not too cold
  • Singlets
  • Jumpsuits or sleepers
  • Blankets or shawls appropriate for the weather
  • A special outfit for baby’s first photos- it’s very unlikely you’ll be out of hospital when the first photo shoot occurs

Things for going home

  • An approved baby car seat which is appropriate for a newborn, meets all safety standards and has been properly installed in the back seat facing the rear. You will not be allowed to leave the hospital with your baby unless you are travelling in a car that is fitted with an appropriate car restraint- hospitals are legally required to stop you leaving if you don’t have the right car seat. Don’t forget to pack the instructions so you know how to buckle bub up safely
  • A going home outfit which should include:
    • Jumpsuit
    • Singlet
    • A shawl or blanket (the thickness required will vary depending on the season and weather)
    • A hat
    • Also pack two nappies for the trip home- one for baby’s bottom and another in case you need to stop and change along the way

What not to bring

Don’t bother bringing baby toys or things to decorate their cot at hospital. Your newborn is too young to play with or even see them and clutter in the cot can be dangerous for baby. You will not be allowed to leave them in the cot at hospital.

Download the printable checklist


More information on packing for hospital

A doctor handing a mum her newborn baby For more information about what mums should put in their hospital bag see Packing for hospital- things mum will need during labour and after childbirth
Man folding a shirt into a suitcase For suggestions of things fathers to be should pack in their hospital bags see Fathers to be- what to pack for hospital
Couple driving a car For suggestions about how you can make a failsafe plan for getting to hospital when labour pains start see Getting to hospital for childbirth
Pregnant woman with bag packed, holding keys ready to go to hospital For more information about packing for hospital What to pack for hospital
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Date Created: December 8, 2011 Date Modified: July 3, 2018