So you are packing the hospital bag and suddenly remember nappies! Do you even need to bring nappies to the hospital? Do they supply them? We answer all the burning newborn nappy questions!
Yes, you do need to bring newborn nappies to the hospital, in the UK & Ireland maternity hospitals do not provide you with nappies. They generally have stock for emergencies, but you are expected to bring your own.
The amount you need depends on several factors. How long you will be in hospital and whether you will be using disposable plastic nappies or reusable nappies. Generally for disposables, we recommend bringing in one pack of newborn size nappies. For reusable nappies, we suggest bringing in one day worth of reusable nappies (about 8). If you are expecting twins then double this, and read our guide to cloth nappies and twins!
The time in the hospital may not be known in advance. Some hospitals now just keep newborns in for a matter of hours, but if you are having a planned cesarean or even end up with an emergency cesarean your stay in hospital may be much longer!
Do hospitals allow cloth nappies?
YES! The way you nappy your child is totally your choice so if you have chosen to use cloth nappies then you may use them in hospital. Many parents have a special first nappy custom made which is a lovely idea.
If bringing reusable nappies to the hospital bring 8 for each day and two wet bags. One to store the clean nappies and one to store the dirty nappies. Each day you are in, send your partner home with the dirty nappies and ask him to bring in a set of new ones. If you know you are going to be in hospital for a few days have several bags made up at home. We recommend having about 4 wet bags each with about 8 nappies prepped at home ready to go in.
You will not need to bring in any ‘night nappies’ or liners or boosters for your hospital stay. These are not required until your baby is much older, about six months.
How Many Disposable Nappies?
Even if you are planning to use cloth nappies, you may opt to use disposables at the hospital. This is a sensible choice especially if this is your first baby. There is so much for new parents to think about, that disposables are just one thing you don’t have to worry about.
If you are planning to go to the hospital with your baby then it is best that you bring some nappies. The hospital does supply them but there will be times when they run out – if this happens, don’t panic! They usually have a few spare ones in storage so just ask at reception or nursing station. You can also buy nappies from the hospital shop.
There is nothing worse than packing for a hospital stay and realising that you forgot the most important thing: nappies! If you’re not sure how many nappies to pack, we recommend bringing at one whole pack. This will allow you to change your new baby as often as needed. You might also need a plastic bag for nappies to dispose of them, known as nappy sacks. You can opt for biodegradable ones. Check with your hospital in advance if they require them.
Reusable Hospital Bag Essentials – Plastic Free Hospital Bag Checklist
We’ve gone through and also made you a plastic-free hospital bag checklist!
- Maternity pads – you can reusable maternity pads so you won’t need disposables! Cloth sanitary towels will also need a wet bag to store the used ones in. No need for disposable ones!
- Replace any plastic bags with reusable wet bags
- Lip balm – you can now get lip balm in plastic-free cardboard containers.
- Hair ties – yep you might not realise but many of these contain plastic but there are natural rubber ones that are biodegradable.
- Birth partner snacks – either bring some healthy snacks in reusable containers (we love these from Klean Kanteen) or look for snacks and drinks which are in compostable plastic-free containers. pack plenty, it could be a long labour!
- Reusable water bottles – vital for all!
- Breast pads – again you can get reusable breast pads.
- Water spray – lovely to keep you cool but again consider a reusable bottle option.
- Plastic Free Toiletries – shampoo bar, conditioner bar, shower gel block, soap, toothpaste tablets. Eco-Friendly Toothbrush toothpaste are widely available, we found a great selection of plastic free toiletries here.
- Plastic-free make-up – yep there is a wide range of environmentally friendly make-up options.
- Eye mask – a nice cotton one is very comfortable and will help you sleep better.
Maternity Bag Requirements
It’s a good idea to have your hospital bag for the baby and then a second bag with all your requirements in. Two bags make it much easier to find things when you have just given birth. When packing your hospital bag you will need the basics for when you are on the hospital ward. Most of these are sustainable so no need for a plastic-free list!
- Dressing gown, this is vital if you are in a public ward and walking to toilets etc, a dressing gown can help with privacy.
- Nursing bras
- Change of clothes for you to go home in! You probably will not want to wear the same clothes you went in labour in!
- Muslin squares (read our guide to muslins here)
- Slippers or flip flops
- Ear plugs
- Tens machine
- Other toiletries maybe some aromatherapy oils to help you through the labour?
- Something to pass the time and get some rest.
Have your bag packed well before your due date. Ensure your birth partner knows what’s in your bag and has easy access to your birth plan and any relevant hospital notes. In the early stages of labour, it’s really important that you are not worrying about your bag. Start packing it when you get to about 7 months, just in case you go early.
Baby Bag Requirements
- A few outfits for a tiny baby including a going home outfit
- Scratch mitts
- Car Seat with blankets
- Reusable Nappies
- Wet bag
- Reusable wipes – our guide to reusable wipes is here.
You will also need wipes or cotton wool. In this article, we go through the difference about which is better for newborns, baby wipes or cotton wool balls but generally, this depends on whether you are using natural cotton wipes or chemical baby wipes in your baby bag.
Good luck! Giving birth is an amazing experience. We hope this list helps you get organized and think of all the possibilities to create a plastic-free hospital bag!
This article covers the plastic-free essentials for a hospital and baby bag. From reusable nappies to nursing bras, we’ve got you covered with all of your needs in mind. Remember that it’s important to get organized early so start packing when you get about 7 months pregnant! You will want everything ready before labour starts so don’t wait until the last minute. Good luck on giving birth and enjoy this new chapter in life!