How to Pack Your Birth Bag

Labor and birth is the portal through which you become a parent (or become a parent again). You’ve likely spent some time preparing your space to accommodate the baby and to get all the supplies you need. Maybe you’ve taken a childbirth education class (check ours out here!), created a birth plan, and hired a doula. Now, it’s time to pack your birth bags!

You deserve to be comfortable and have the items that make you feel your best during this big transition! Sometimes folks worry about taking too much stuff; however, we suggest you focus on your sense of comfort and let that guide what you need and want to take. The lists below offer some ideas for you to consider and customize.

Note: If you are birthing at Sweet Child O’ Mine, you’ll be headed home the day of birth and your bags may be a bit lighter. Folks who are birthing in a hospital may need a few extra items for postpartum, as the stay is typically longer. It is recommended to have a hospital bag packed even if you are planning a home or birth center birth, just in case you need to go to the hospital. 

What to Pack for Labor:

  • Birthing clothes, gown, sports bra or bikini top for water birth. Hospitals will have standard gowns, but some birthing people prefer to use their own clothing for comfort.
  • Slippers or sandals that are easy on, easy off
  • Robe
  • Pillow. It can be nice to have your own pillow that smells like you/home. Plus, sometimes hospitals run low on pillows. Consider using a colorful case so it’s easy to decipher from hospital pillows. 
  • Cozy blanket. Again, this can be an added comfort item that makes your birthing space feel more like you.
  • Speaker & Music. Creating a playlist or playing a favorite station can be a sweet and relaxing way to welcome your baby. The birth center has a bluetooth speaker for you to use, but the hospital does not.
  • Twinkle lights and/or affirmation cards. Lights and affirmation cards can become anchors or focal points for you during your labor. Plus they make the space feel cozy and calm.
  • Phone charger
  • Hair ties or headbands
  • Chapstick and essential toiletries. Keep it simple, but do bring products that make you feel good! The birth center has soup, shampoo and conditioner in the showers for your use if you don’t want to pack your own. Hospitals also provide a toiletry bag.
  • Cooler with hearty snacks/meals for birthing person and partner. At the birth center, we encourage you to eat and drink during labor to your desire. During labor, you are likely to feel less hungry and toward the end of labor, you may not feel like eating at all or be unable to keep food down. The best foods for labor are light carbohydrate snacks. Just as if you were running a marathon, you will want a couple bites of a granola bar or fruit here and there to keep you fueled. Your uterus is a muscle and it needs glucose to keep working well. You must keep your energy up too. As far as beverages, we recommend bringing some electrolyte beverages, coconut water, and fruit juice. For postpartum at the birth center, you will want a heartier meal with protein to get your energy and blood sugar up, so you can safely get up to shower. This could be a lasagna to heat up, a crockpot meal, scrambled eggs, yogurt and fruit, a frozen entrée or leftovers. You can also have someone bring food to you from outside to arrive to you about 45 minutes after you deliver you baby. It’s good to have a plan and a back up plan for your postpartum meal since you don’t know what time of the day or night you will deliver and what venues may be open or who may be available to bring food to you. We discourage having your partner leave you and the baby to go get food. Water and ice is available at the birth center and there is a mini frig in your birth suite. A larger frig and freezer is in the education room for you use as well. Don’t forget to bring food for your partner as well. If it’s your first baby, you will want to bring at least two or three meals for your partner. 

Items for Partner:

  • Change of clothing
  • Bathing suit / bath shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Phone chargers
  • Camera

What to Pack for Postpartum

  • 1 or 2 comfy outfits that are loose fitting and offer access to your chest for feeding your baby.
  • Nursing bra or tanks
  • Breastfeeding pillow. We do provide a breastfeeding pillow at the birth center, but you may bring your own as well.
  • More snacks and your postpartum food! See above. Hospital snacks don’t cut it for most people. Plus, it’s nice to have some of your favorite snacks around. 
  • Breastfeeding pillow. We do provide a breastfeeding pillow at the birth center, but you may bring your own as well.
  • Baby clothes and blanket for the trip home.
  • Clothes for partner. 1-2 easy, comfy outfits.
  • White noise machine. This will be helpful for baby and you. Hospitals especially, can be loud. White noise could also be played through your phone to your speaker.
  • Car seat. You will need the car seat installed in order to leave for home. We recommend installing the seat by 36 weeks gestation so you are ready. You can leave the car seat in the car until it’s time to go home.

Hospital Birth Bags

If you are birthing at a hospital, we suggest packing two separate bags. When you arrive for labor, bring in just the labor bag. After you move to postpartum (typically a separate unit in the hospital), your partner or family can bring your postpartum bag to your room. 

Things to Leave Behind

Anything that is in the realm of “medical” will be provided by the birthing site. This includes baby diapers, wipes, peri bottle, pads, and mesh underwear. However, you will need diapers and maxi pads for home use. We encourage you to ask for what you need while you are in postpartum/recovery and get yourself as comfortable as possible.

Sweet Child O’ Mine Is Here For You

Your team of midwives is here to support you in planning for birth and postpartum. Check out all of our services here. We would be honored to be part of your team!

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