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Bags Explained

Labour & Hospital Bags Explained


The whole topic of hospital bags is a bit of a minefield so hopefully this page will help. 

When to pack your bags?

Not an easy question to answer, by all accounts, as every source I looked up had a different answer to this question! Anything from 30 weeks to 36 weeks seems to be the recommendation.

(From memory, on baby number 1, I had my bags packed around the 7 month/32 week stage but for the subsequent two it was probably closer to 8 months/36 weeks!)

Your labour bag

  • The bag that you bring into the labour ward/ delivery room
  • Should be a small holdall/ tote type bag
  • Should only contain a small number of items required for you and baby during and immediately after labour

Your hospital bag

  • This is the bag that will contain everything else required for your hospital stay
  • Will be larger than your labour bag – e.g. a small wheelie bag or large holdall (one of the frequent mistakes people make it bringing too big a bag with them – try to pack light!)
  • Generally, due to space constraints, hospitals prefer that this bag is not presented until after the birth and mum is out of the labour ward

Hospital Bag Checklist

I did a lot of work on hospital bag checklists as part of the research and design phase of, which I think might help those of you about to prepare your hospital bag.

I took 5 Irish hospital bag checklists (The Rotunda, The Coombe, Holles St, and Using an Excel spreadsheet, I cross-referenced the items on each of them and analysed them. I identified the items which were common to them all, and also other items which, while not necessarily common to them all, in my own personal experience made sense to include. I also included some other items that I had picked up along the way. Combining all of these elements, I came up with my own version of a hospital bag checklist.

I am not saying that my checklist is definitive or perfect, I’m sure it is not. But, like any other hospital bag checklist, it will give you a good steer in the right direction!

My advice to you? Pick just one checklist and work off that - it will make your whole hospital bag packing experience quicker, honestly!

Finally…and this is important...remember that as long as you have the essential items that you need during your hospital stay, you will be fine! And trust me, once you are holding that bundle (or bundles!) of complete gorgeousness and joy in your arms in the minutes, hours and days after the birth, that will be all that will matter!