Birth Bag Tips and Checklist

Packing a hospital bagWhether you're giving birth at a hospital or birthing center, it doesn't so much matter the where as the 'what' to bring with you. Remember, only bring what makes sense to you and leave your valuables at home -- it will be one less thing to worry about. This is a comprehensive list that you can use as a guide to pick and choose the items that seem right for you.

Things you can do before you go into labor

Pack items into the car:

  • Keep your bag(s) in the car you use, especially when going to see the midwife.
  • Install the car seat properly.
  • Keep the gas tanks full.
  • Include two pillows with garbage bags over the pillow like a pillowcase, possibly with pillowcases over the garbage bags. These are useful because you can sit on them even if your water breaks.
  • Bring along a barf bag or two, since people in labor may throw up
  • Bring a few towels

Miscellaneous things to prepare for:

  • Keep pets' food and water bowls full and the litter box clean (pregnant ladies, not you -- get your partner to do it). If you need to make special arrangements for your favorite canine or feathered friend, now is the time to do it.
  • Ask a friend to run errands if you need anything at the last minute.

Items that are helpful for labor:

Clothing Items:

  • Don't wear your own socks during delivery! They are most likely going to get trashed after the delivery! Or if you really want to you can bring a really, old pair of socks for delivery. Slippers for after everything is done is nice too.
  • Labor and delivery shirt. Make sure it's comfortable and long enough if you wish to cover up your lower portions. If you're going to be outside at all, say at a birthing pool, you'll want to have a change of clothes for each stage (more likely you won't want any).
  • Sarong
  • Loose underwear

Toiletries:

Unless your place of birth has all of these items, you'll want the comforts of home to clean up after birthing:

  • Hair band
  • Lip moisturizer
  • Mouthwash
  • Lotion
  • Gentle shampoo and soap (We suggest Castille)
  • Brush and comb
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Nail clippers

For Partner/Coach:

  • Watch with a second hand to time contractions
  • Toiletries
  • Change of clothes
  • Snacks and Liquids
  • Raspberry leaf tea (electric tea kettle & a mug)
  • Fruit and Nuts

Labor Activities and Items:

  • Tennis balls or rolling pin (for back labor massage)
  • Massage oils or lotions and a massager (but hands work great!)
  • Relaxation materials: books, magazines, games, music, candles (check about the candle policy where you go to and don't forget a portable stereo device! Some hospitals don't let you plug anything into the wall, so your music player and other support items should be battery-operated.)
  • Book for partner to read aloud
  • Paper and pen

Information and documents to take with you:

  • Birth books
  • Birth plan
  • A list of the last-minute packing items (e.g. ID.s, partner's driver's license, etc)
  • Hospital paperwork
  • Pediatrician info
  • Insurance card and phone number
  • Phone numbers for family and friends
  • Phone number for services to cancel depending on date (e.g. milk delivery)
  • Calling card and/or change
  • Folder for new paperwork
  • Birth announcements
  • Baby name book!

Support Items:

  • Pictures of someone or something you love (the inspiration you may need to see you through to the end)
  • Bring your own pillows and a bath pillow for the Jacuzzi if there is one.
  • Hand-held fan
  • Watch with second hand
  • Change for vending machines and phones

Items for after childbirth:

Items for Recording Memories:

  • Camera with film/tape/dvds
  • Address book
  • Stationery/Stamps
  • Birth announcements
  • A list of phone numbers to call with your news (in order of importance!)
  • Extra batteries, memory card, PC to download pictures
  • Disposable camera
  • Pregnancy book and pen
  • Camcorder
  • Your journal if you keep one.

Items for your new bundle of joy

  • Something for the baby to wear home
  • Newborn Diapers
  • A hat for baby to keep their body heat in (even in the summer!)
  • Receiving blanket (a heavy one if weather is cold)
  • One pair socks or booties
  • Bunting or snowsuit for winter
  • 2 Newborn sleepers (For going home, but it is just like a newborn to soil one moments after being placed in one!)
  • Don't forget the car seat!
  • Wipes
  • Baby Nail clippers

Clothing for You

  • Pajamas
  • Outfit to wear home
  • Slippers or flip-flops
  • Bathrobe (if hospital or birth center doesn't supply one or you want your own)
  • Socks
  • Nursing bra
  • Breast pads/shields
  • Sweat pants for the trip home
  • 2 or 3 pair underwear
  • A couple of large T-shirts

Toiletries for after childbirth

  • Maxi-pads
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo/Soap
  • Towel/Facecloth (hospital issue can be stiff and gross)
  • Hair Ties
  • Lotion
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Lip Moisturizer
  • Face Moisturizer
  • Stool Softeners
  • Blow Dryer/Curling Iron

We hope that this list helps you to get ready! If you have other items or suggestions and didn't find them here, please share your tips in the comments below.

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