Hospital bag 101

I had Zay at a hospital in Johannesburg, he was 4 weeks prem and I had to deliver very unexpectedly, luckily my hospital bag was packed (at 30 weeks).  

This list is based on a maternity ward at a private hospital in Joburg, South Africa.


Packing your hospital bag doesn’t have to be a chore or a daunting experience. Depending on where you choose to birth, most hospitals will provide you with a basic list. Take a picture of this list so that you have it on your phone the next time you’re running an errand, so you can buy items that are required when you see them. Again, take advantage of the specials at the mama magic expo (coming up in May). If you’re a loyalty benefits member at Dis-Chem, you’re entitled to a baby bag – find out how here. This bag will have all your essentials to keep you prepared.  Your medical aid may provide you with a baby bag as well depending on your plan.

It is recommended that your bag be packed by at least 30 weeks pregnant as anything can happen from then, should you not carry to term.

Here is a checklist of the essentials:


  • ID document
  • Medical aid details and card
  • Pen


  • Cell phone charger and two-pin plug
  • Ear plugs/ear phones (it gets noisy in the maternity ward)


To make your life easier (as well as that of the nurses), pack each day’s clothing/outfits in large individual Ziploc bags and number the bags (per day). Also write down what each bag contains.

You will need at least 6 Ziploc bags and fill each with the following items:

  • 1x nappy
  • 1x outfit (onesies are easiest, also take a mix of sizes, newborn as well as 0-3 months)
  • 1x baby beanie
  • 1x socks
  • 1x mittens

Extra essentials for baby:

  • 2 x swaddle blankets
  • 1 x heavier blanket especially for winter
  • Car seat


  • Extra nappies
  • Wipes (try the Pure beginning range)
  • Towel
  • Surgical spirits
  • Gripe water
  • Baby oil




Here is a list of what to include (for you, mama):

Depending on whether you give birth naturally or by C-section, your hospital will decide on how long to keep you (be prepared for both). Yes, the ideal is to be able to breastfeed but be prepared (to not breastfeed) and that’s ok.


  • 1 x gown
  • 3 sets of Pjs (preferably button down, as its easy for breastfeeding, also try to choose darker colours
  • Maternity bras (will be do a post on bras soon)
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Going home outfit (make sure its something that you wore half-way through your pregnancy, you may still be swollen)


  • Shower gel
  • Face wash
  • Shower cap (you may find that you really don’t have time or the energy to wash your hair)
  • Dry shampoo
  • Hair bands

Face and body:

  • Body and face cream
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Basic makeup (lip-gloss, eyeliner and blush) to brighten up your day especially when you’re inundated with visitors
  • Breast pads (pigeon or avent)
  • Nipple cream
  • Maternity pads (I found maternity pads extremely uncomfortable, so I used Always night, you can double them up or use more than one at a time)
  • Linen savers


  • Anything you can read (magazine, books or articles on your cell phone/iPad) as a distraction when baby is asleep and to allow you to relax.


  • Snacks for late night
  • Zam-Zam or spring water (I got extremely thirsty after birth and it was the only thing that quenched my thirst)
  • Dates (for you and baby)



Other info:

  • Pre-register at your hospital so its easier if you’re in an emergency situation
  • Leave all jewellery at home
  • You’re going to spend a lot of time in your pjs and gown – I suggest you take a fancy gown as you will feel miserable and you will want to walk the hallways looking half decent. I decided to take a kaftan/”sameera” (long silky gown with floral prints) and was asked a number of times where it was from 🙂
  • Take a breastfeeding pillow, your hospital may not have one
  • It’s ok to ask for the best from your hospital, that includes staff, rooms, food etc. You will get nurses that are not so nice, (try keep calm) you will also get nurses who are very nice, use this as an opportunity to ask a many questions as you need to.
  • If you are sharing a ward, its really ok to just greet the person and not talk if you don’t feel like it
  • Get a lactation consultant (your hospital will have someone to assist in the ward or you can hire privately)
  • Know all you need to know about immunization and whether your hospital registers your baby (do this upon pre-administration)

Remember, you will be fine.

Any further questions drop me a mail.

*This is not a sponsored post


2 Comment

  1. Shylv says: Reply

    Hey there.. Love yr blog! So informative.. Would love to know where to get those gorgeous suit cases, the white with brown details. Thanks so much
    Keep up the fab work

    1. nazmira says: Reply

      Thanks so much for the kind words. Its by Kate Spade, they can be purchased online 🙂 all the best x

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