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The only packing list you need for the maternity ward

newborn baby

💡 This packing list includes some recommendations that you won't find in other lists (based on research and extensive experience from healthcare), so it's truly the only packing list you need.

The time is almost here! The day when the adventure of becoming a parent (or becoming a parent again) truly begins. You've been waiting for what feels like hundreds of months, and packing the bag can make it feel more real than ever.

There are many packing lists for the maternity ward, and they are often quite long. The truth is, you'll need much fewer things than you think. The time at the hospital will pass quicker than you imagine, and if the delivery goes well, you'll be able to leave the hospital just a few hours later. If that's the case, you'll regret dragging half your home with you. So resist the urge to settle in at the hospital and try to go home as soon as you can.

When should you pack your maternity bag?

This is, of course, somewhat individual and depends primarily on how your pregnancy has progressed and how many children you are carrying. Most babies are born after the 37th week, so if everything has been going well, you can wait to pack your bag until week 35 or 36. If you want to start earlier, you can pack the baby's things, as you won't need them during the later stages of pregnancy.

However, if you have had complications during pregnancy or if you are expecting twins, it may be comforting to pack your bag as early as week 30. It is impossible to predict when you will give birth even if you have had complications, but packing your bag can be a way to mentally prepare for what is to come. When it comes to twins, they are often born early, with about half of the twins being born before week 36.

This is all you really need on your packing list

For the baby:

  • Car seat or baby carrier (depending on how you will get home from the hospital)

  • Outerwear (based on the season, of course) and a small cotton hat to keep the baby warm on the way home (although there are babies who refuse to wear a hat from the beginning, especially if the baby has hair on their head)

  • A baby blanket (there will be sheets at the hospital, of course, but it can be nice to bring your own blanket to use when things have calmed down)

  • 2-3 onesies or pajamas (make it as easy as possible for yourself and wait with cute outfits until you get home and feel more comfortable)

  • If you don't plan to breastfeed, you can bring formula and a feeding bottle

  • The diaper bag can be brought to the delivery already so that you have what you need to change diapers if necessary on the way home. However, diapers and other necessary items for changing diapers will be available at the hospital.

Everything for the baby fits in the diaper bag except for the means of transportation home (car seat or whatever you need).

newborn baby after cesarean section

For the mother:

  • A proper sports drink with electrolytes (not soda, juice, or energy drinks since electrolyte drinks often contain bicarbonate, which helps counteract lactic acid during childbirth. Read about the "Samarin study" at SÖS where bicarbonate was also tested)

  • 1-2 pairs of sweatpants or leggings

  • A longer cardigan (a light one in the summer and a thicker one in the winter)

  • 2 nursing tank tops or t-shirts

  • Pajamas with buttons if you plan to stay at the maternity ward for a few nights. Buttons make it easier to breastfeed smoothly.

  • 1-2 nursing bras

  • Mobile phone, charger, wallet

  • Toothbrush and other essential toiletries (leave makeup and perfume at home)

  • Many lists recommend bringing slippers, but if you wear shoes to the hospital that are easy to take off and put on, like lightweight sneakers, you can skip that. There's a chance you won't even use the slippers you brought.

For the partner:

  • An extra set of clothes

  • Sleepwear or pajamas

  • Mobile phone, charger, wallet

  • Toothbrush and other essential toiletries

What you pack for yourself as the mother and for your partner will not require more space than a backpack or something similar. Also, don't bring your favorite clothes to the hospital as you may get stains on them that might not come off, and you'd rather throw the garment away when you get home.

Do not bring the following: Don't bring breastfeeding accessories, pacifiers, and similar items. Wait with such aids until you get home and know if they are needed. Sometimes it's also recommended to bring pillows and wheat bags, but they are actually quite unhygienic. Hospitals also have gel packs (disposable items) that can be heated up like wheat bags.

In general, it's better to bring as few things as possible.

You often don't need to bring snacks or drinks (except for the sports drink) as you will be offered food and drinks at the hospital. However, this can vary between hospitals, so you should talk to your midwife about what is available at the hospital when planning for the delivery. If you want to bring snacks, you should plan them as if preparing for a workout. Giving birth is like running a marathon.

It's also popular to bring entertainment to the hospital. This is, of course, very individual, but you'll need less entertainment during the actual childbirth than you think, so having your phone should be enough. If you plan to stay at the maternity ward for more than 24 hours, it may be a good idea to bring something to read or watch.

Some lists also recommend bringing soft toilet paper to the hospital, which is most likely unnecessary. You may have difficulty using the toilet at all in the beginning, and then it can be more comfortable to pee in the shower (when you can finally do it).

newborn baby in the hospital


Babies have been born throughout history without a lot of "nice to have" items, so limit the packing to make the stay and subsequent transportation home easier. Once you become a parent (or if you already are a parent), you'll understand how nice it is not to drag around unnecessary things. If, by any chance, there's something you're missing, you can most likely solve it when you're at the hospital.

Make the most of your time at the hospital, ask for help, and ask more questions rather than fewer. Hormones and emotions are running high after giving birth, and there's no better time than then to ask for help.


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