Experts recommend you start packing your maternity bag – or rather, bags, one for you and one for the baby – anytime after the 34th week. During the 37th week, everything should be organized, seeing as your baby could be born at any point in time. To pack your bags, bear in mind that you’ll spend at least three days in the hospital. For the baby, however, consider picking clothes for two daily changes – if you lean more on the cautious side, its ok to take more than two outfit changes. Organize the baby’s outfits in sets – bodies, pants, socks and overalls, for instance – in little cloth bags with the baby’s name, separated for each day. Remember to include in your selection at least two special outfits – one for the baby’s first picture in the nursery and another for when you leave the maternity ward.

It’s important to consider the time of year when packing the bags. To leave the maternity ward, for example, the baby’s hat can be made of linen or mesh if it’s warm out or wool, for colder days.

Usually, there is no need to bring hygiene products with you as the hospital can supply them. However, double check beforehand so you’re not caught empty-handed. The following lists cover the indispensable items you’ll need:

Your maternity bag

  • Phone charger
  • Some form of ID and medical insurance card for both parents
  • Birth plan (if you have one)
  • Souvenirs for guests
  • Door decoration
  • Camera/video recorder
  • Pyjamas or a nightgown with a frontal opening for breastfeeding
  • Robe
  • Underwear
  • Breastfeeding bra
  • Nipple shields for nursing
  • Pads (proper ones for postpartum use)
  • Socks
  • 2 flip-flops (one to shower in and another to walk around the maternity ward)
  • Slippers
  • A small pillow to rest your arm and/or neck while you breastfeed
  • Nipple healing cream
  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, moisturizer)
  • A cute and comfortable outfit for you to wear when you leave the hospital (and to be able to take a beautiful picture to capture the start a new chapter in your life)

The baby’s maternity bag

  • 1 pack of newborn disposable diapers
  • 6 bodysuits or short-sleeve onesies for newborns
  • 6 pairs of pants (cotton or mesh pants with or without footies) for newborns
  • 6 pairs of cotton socks
  • 6 plush, linen or wool onesies for newborns
  • 2 linen or wool blankets
  • Little linen or wool shoes for newborns
  • A shawl
  • Linen or wool jackets
  • 6 nappies
  • Rash cream
  • Wet wipes
  • Liquid soap (for hair and body)