06/12/2009 23:26 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Dilemma Of The Day: What Should I Pack In My Hospital Bag?

Q: I am due to give birth in around six weeks' time so it's probably time to pack my hospital bag! But this is my first baby and I don't have a clue what to put in there. Help!

A: Packing the hospital bag really brings it home that you will soon meet your little bundle of joy! The key to this is to be fully prepared but not over equipped.

However, you will need quite a few bits and pieces, so don't be afraid to pack two bags – one for the labour ward and one for the postnatal ward. The trusty holdall is about the right size for both.

Your labour bag is likely to contain the most things as it can be a lengthy process. So you will need:

  • Comfortable clothing such as a baggy t-shirt or roomy nightdress to wear during labour
  • A dressing gown, socks and slippers
  • Two or three pairs of big knickers – you will need these after the birth when your blood loss is heavy (you can buy disposable knickers)
  • Clean night dress or pyjamas for after the birth
  • Hot water bottle to help with contractions
  • A flannel to help keep you cool is useful
  • Toiletries - including any massage equipment that you would like your birth partner to use
  • Camera
  • Some women like to take a hand mirror so that they can watch the baby emerge
  • Clothes and equipment for your baby – two sleep suits, two vests, a hat, nappies and cotton wool

Once you little bundle of joy has arrived, you will be transferred to a postnatal ward. This bag should contain:

  • A spare nightdress/pyjamas
  • More pairs of knickers
  • A nursing bra and breast pads
  • Sanitary towels
  • Extra clothes and equipment for your baby, including 3 or 4 sleep suits and vests, cardigan, hat, and a coat for taking your baby home in.
  • You may like to take something to read if you find the time!

If you plan to formula feed, check with your midwife whether or not you need to take feeding equipment – not all hospitals will provide this. And don't forget you also need to remember your infant car seat as the hospital will not allow you to take the baby home without it.

What did you pack in your hospital bag? Was it too much or too little? Leave a comment below...