What to Pack in Your Birth Bag: My Minimal List

Packing Your Birth Bag: What to Pack for a Hospital or Birth Center

what to pack

Are you wondering what to pack for your hospital or birth center birth? As a birth doula, I see many different methods of packing for birth. Some families have their bags packed by 36 weeks with detailed lists. But, other families seem to pack on their way out the door. No matter what your process is, I am offering a minimalist approach to packing for birth.

Firstly, consider how long you plan to be in your birth place. If you are birthing in a hospital, roughly 2 days is appropriate. Also, this could be longer if you have any complications. If you are birthing at a birth center, then you will most likely go home within a few hours after birth. In an emergency scenario that requires a longer stay for mom or baby, you won’t be thinking about packing all the extra items you may need. You can deal with this when the time comes. Let’s not invoke that energy.

My experience is that most families over pack. Preparedness is a healthy exercise, but “stuff” can weigh you down physically and emotionally. But, bringing only what you really need helps you focus on your birth and baby.

What to Pack in Your Bag

For parents…

  • Dark-colored comfy clothes for mom after birth. Bring a few dark tank tops/nursing tanks and some comfy black/dark pajama pants or maternity leggings. Also, consider packing some cozy socks.
  • Cozy bathrobe
  • Water bottle with a straw. If you have a straw, then you’re more likely to drink water while in any position.
  • Adult diapers: I find that the mesh panties can get frustrating and messy to deal with.
  • Small Bluetooth speaker for music & your favorite playlist
  • Your pediatrician’s information/birth plan/ID/Wallet (put these in a folder in your bag). If you have your folder of information packed, then it will be easy to access.
  • Snacks & electrolyte drinks.
  • Personal Care Items: toothbrush, deodorant, etc. Also consider packing travel sizes.
  • Perineal care/sitz bath soaks: If you are interested in using herbs for healing postpartum, then you can actually prepare this mixture ahead of time and bring it with you to the hospital for comfort after birth. You can put it in your peri bottle or in a tub. Also, you can always save this for at home as well.
  • Phone charger
  • Flip flops for hospital rooms/shower if desired
  • Lip balm
  • Hair ties
  • Items for comfort measures: think about what you want to use for comfort in labor. Consider things like essential oils, hot/cold packs, tennis balls for counter pressure, coconut oil for massage. Talk to your doula about what they bring to births to help with comfort support.
  • Tank top/swim top for laboring in a birth tub if desired

For baby…

  • Car seat – Should already be installed. Also, consider a car seat safety check from your local fire station before your baby is born.
  • Going home outfit for your baby. Consider the weather and your travel home.
  • Choice diapers/wipes – Hospitals supply diapers and you’ll get some to take with you as well. If you have a special preference, be sure to bring it with you.
  • Choice blankets/swaddles/pacifiers. If you have specific items you want, then you need to make sure you pack them. The hospital provides general supplies, but they may not be your faves.

If you’re looking for some more inspiration, then check out Mama Natural’s packing list or a second list here.

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