Whether you plan to deliver in a hospital or birthing center (I’ve done both) you’ll need to pack a bag for the birth. With each baby I was able to pack more of the essentials and leave out the things I didn’t have a use for! Hopefully this helps you plan for your upcoming delivery. I usually plan to pack my bag around 36 weeks, but you can start whenever you feel comfortable! I begin tossing in a few things little by little until I feel prepared. I just use a weekender bag because I tend to pack light, but feel free to use a suitcase. Don’t fret too much about forgetting something in your bag. Unless you live far away, you can have your spouse run home (or to the store) for you!
Tip: Don’t install the car seat until closer to the due date. In the unlikely case of even a minor car accident, you might find yourself scrambling to replace it depending on the brand!
With my first I delivered in a hospital and the last two were at a birthing center so what you pack will vary a little depending on how long you’ll stay after the birth. With a hospital, it’s typically 24-48 hours, and longer for c-sections or complications. With a birthing center you’ll likely leave around 4 hours later so you might not need as much. Even if you are using a birthing center, I recommend packing like you might be at the hospital in case you or baby have complications and need to be transferred.
Tip: Have dad pack a bag as well with a bathing suit (for laboring in the shower/tub), a change of clothes, a toothbrush, deodorant, phone charger, and some snacks. He can leave it in the car if you don’t want to bring it to your room.
- Insurance paperwork and identification if you’re delivering in a hospital (pre-registration is helpful!)
- Labor gown (if you’re delivering in a hospital, you can use that one!)
- Swim top or soft bra to labor in if you’re using water
- Socks with grips
- Phone charger
- Breast Pads (Cloth, or disposable works)
- Sanitary pads (in a hospital you’ll likely be provided some)
- Nursing bra if you wish to breastfeed. For overnight stays I recommend 2.
- Nipple cream if breastfeeding (I find I don’t need it right away, but you might!)
- Toiletries, if you wish. Personally—I didn’t care enough to use my own soaps but I did appreciate my toothbrush, deodorant, hand cream, hair ties, and brush!
- Cosmetics if you want to do your hair/make up for photos. Not essential!
- Lip balm
- Eyeglasses, or contact lens solution and case.
- Candy (candies you can suck on really helped me when I was laboring!)
- Lightweight bathrobe, lounge wear, pajamas, or nursing nightgown plus a sweater for after the birth.
- Underwear (you might not care for the mesh undies)
- Comfortable clothes for the drive home (you’ll be about the size you were at 6 months pregnant)
- Essential oils & a diffuser if you use them. My birthing center had them already!
- Light snacks (granola bars, dried fruit, etc) in case you deliver in the middle of the night.
Things I skipped that you might find helpful: my own towels, pillow, slippers, food, music, reading material, nursing pillow, breast pump, written birth plan
- Car seat
- Pediatrician contact information
- Coming home outfit + an extra (those babies are unpredictable!) Make sure to bring a cozy hat.
- Photo props (swaddles, onesies, embroidered hats, name signs, etc)
- Baby journal if you’re creating one
- Baby blanket if you want to use a specific one, like we did. We chose a rainbow one.
- Plus one for the ride home.
- Diapers (if you’re using cloth, like we did, you’ll need to bring them. Typically disposable diapers are provided in the hospital but it certainly doesn’t hurt to bring a couple along).
Things I skipped that you might like: cord blood kit, clothes, pacifier, sound machine, baby mittens, baby clippers/nail file