I can remember clearly someone warning me to pack my bag early because she had a premature (and thankfully healthy) baby. So I started on my bag when I was 8 months pregnant. But I couldn't put everything in because I was still using my pajamas, big dark underwear, and my toothbrush. Well when my waters broke at 36.5 weeks it was a mad scramble to get everything ready and into the car!
In our ante-natal classes, the midwife told us that we would only need one day's worth of items. I was in hospital for seven days altogether and had to not only ask my partner to bring items, but I had to ask a friend to purchase the car seat, more maternity pads, more underwear and pajamas (since mine were in the wash).
So I am going to do a proper job of it this time.
There isn't much storage space in hospitals and you will likely get moved around a time or two. So you actually need to have two or maybe three bags for your average labour. You will need one bag for labour. The other bag can contain items if you need to stay longer. This second bag and the car seat can be kept in the car. Then send your birth partner out for them when needed. (If you don't have a car, you will still need a car seat if you are using a taxi to get home. But you will also have to lug everything with you).
Hand held notes and Birth Plan
Phone and charger
Music--ipod, cds or tapes
Comfy clothes to go home in (or you can wear what you wore to come in)
Snacks for you and birth partners: juice boxes, nuts, cereal bars, biscuits
Entertainment: newspaper, magazines, etc---birth partner might get bored with long waits
slippers/slip on shoes
Dark, cheap or disposable underwear
Sleepsuits x 2
Vests x 2
Nappies x 5
(you are advised against using baby lotions, soaps, powders and wipes for the first three months due to baby's delicate skin)
Nightdress---using the hospital gown for labour means less laundry for you when you get home
Makeup---I hear this is important to lots of women....
Check with your hospital about:
Pack light and ask someone to take away your dirty laundry each day and bring you more items.
toothbrush and toothpaste
soap, shampoo, conditioner
witch hazel---to soothe your sore bits
or button down nightdress (if breastfeeding)
dark, cheap or disposable underwear
slippers/slip on shoes
cardigan or robe
notebook and pen