Packing Your Bag for Labor

Packing Your hospital bag for labor
Photo © Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Here is a handy list of things to take with you in your hospital bag when you go to the hospital or birth center when you give birth! I recommend that you pack a bag for labor and birth and leave a separate packed bag for postpartum in the car or with someone else. This prevents you from dragging all of your stuff around the labor and birth wing!

Your Labor Bag

  • Tooth brushes for everyone and Tooth paste
  • Any reference book or pamphlet you might need (I prefer The Birth Partner.)
  • Pillows from home (Use colored cases to distinguish from your birth place's linens)
  • Cell phone and phone chargers (Maybe multiple chargers)
  • Music you would like (You may need to provide your own iPod, CD Player or Tape Player)
  • Camera with film and batteries
  • Camcorder with charged batteries and accessories
  • Signed copies of your birth plan
  • Water bottles for ice
  • Your own wash cloths, colored ones work better
  • Waterproof pads for the car ride (Can be disposable)
  • Any clothes of your own that you wish to wear, as an alternative to hospital gowns
  • List of people to call after the baby is born (include your childbirth educator)
  • Lip Balm
  • Massage tools (Oils, electric massager, wooden massager, etc.)
  • Change of clothes for partner, including swim trunks for shower or pool
  • Baby Book for getting the foot prints done by the nurse when they do the paperwork
  • Focal Point (If you want one)
  • Socks for mom
  • Special foods or drinks
  • Suckers or hard candy
  • Snacks for labor support
  • Calling Card for Long Distance Calls (If you don't have a cell phone)
  • Anything else you think you can use (Candles, pictures, etc.)

Your Postpartum Bag

  • Nursing bras and pads (preferably the washable, soft ones.)
  • Breastfeeding book
  • Going home outfit for baby
  • Blanket for Baby
  • More film (Though you can buy this for higher prices in most gift shops.)
  • Another change of clothes for partner and any toiletries needed
  • Your own personal night gown, robe (They will get dirty!)
  • Personal Hygiene items (shampoo, your own pads, etc.)
  • Number of La Leche League or other breastfeeding support
  • Number of diaper service (if you need to arrange for delivery)
  • Car Seat with instructions (preferably pre-installed)
  • Going home outfit for mom (You will still be look to be about 6 months pregnant. Most women wear the clothes that they wore to the hospital, some bring nursing shirts.)
  • Birth Announcements, stamps, envelopes

You might also consider packing a bag for dad too. Often times we tend to think about what a laboring woman would need, but fail to think about other members. That's not to say that mom is responsible for packing for everyone, but it certainly makes sense to pack as much stuff in one bag as you can. This means you will want to at least keep some basics in the main bag for your partner. Then have their bag packed separately. 

And, while you're at it, think about things you shouldn't pack in labor. It's true, you may have a tendency to pack the kitchen sink.

Avoid this type of packing. One thing to remember is that everything you pack for labor, you will typically have to haul at least from your labor room to your postpartum room, if not a stop here and there in between. So keep this in mind as packing. You should also ask when on your hospital tour, what items them may have that you don't need to bring with you. 

IN the end remember, most of the things that you would pack can be gotten later if absolutely necessary. There are few things that can't be replaced in the moment. So, if you're in labor and doing some last minute packing, keep that in mind. It may not be fun, but you can always send someone home for something or to the car, or even the store in extreme cases. Try not to stress out about what you have or haven't packed.