What to pack in your birth bag
What you pack for labor will depend a little on whether you go to a hospital or birth center. When you are at a hospital, you are there for longer and they provide more (which is included in the higher cost). I had my baby at a birth center, which meant I was there for about 24 hours total, including 6 hours after the birth. I packed a ton of stuff in my birth bag, but didn’t use all of it. I kept bugging Tyler to pack one for himself to relieve my stress. He ended up packing it on my due date, which turned out to be okay since Elyse made her debut a week later.
I learned what I should pack in my birth bag from a labor and delivery class, Pinterest (see my pregnancy and baby boards), and experienced friends and family. Your hospital or birth center may provide some of this stuff, so ask ahead of time.
- Snacks: watermelon, grapes, cheese sticks, crackers. We brought way more than we ate. Since I gave birth at a birth center I was allowed, and encouraged, to bring food. They only had basic snacks available. At a hospital, you may not be allowed to eat during labor in case you need surgery. My MIL brought me a sandwich after delivery and brought Tyler a coffee in the middle of the night. The moms ate some snacks too.
- Drinks: coconut water and juice. I also drank a lot of regular water.
- Birth gown for walking to different stations (see Elyse’s birth story).
- Pain relief tools: tennis ball, rebozo (scarf), handheld massager, yoga ball (birth center provided).
- Clothes: yoga pants, tshirt, sweatshirt, nursing cami and nursing pads, fuzzy socks, flip flops, robe (provided by the birth center).
- Camera, fully charged.
- Cell phones and chargers.
- Nursing pillow (like a Boppy) because you’ll need all the help you can get when learning to nurse.
- Lanolin to help your breastfeeding nipples feel better.
- Underwear: your regular size and a size up for pads/Depends.
- Padsicles and Depends. My friend who became a mom a few months before me told me about the soothing magic of padsicles (here’s how to make them).
- Baby clothes: Since you don’t know exactly how big your bundle will be, pack a few outfits in various sizes. Also, keep in mind the baby will probably spit all over their clothes so take a picture right away.
- Baby blanket, swaddles, burp cloths, diapers, and wipes. (Some of this is provided by the birth center).
And this is what I brought, but didn’t end up using:
- Swim suit: I just got in the tub naked.
- Relaxation items: candles and essential oils. I forgot about them, but will probably still bring next them time.
- Nice clothes and maternity jeans for photos. We only stayed 6 hours after the birth and the only photos taken of me were when I was naked under a sheet. I went home in yoga pants.
- Other clothes: nursing bra, sports bra, tennis shoes, ballet flats.
My birth center provided these things that were helpful:
- Some snacks.
- Nipple shield, which was really useful for one side oddly. I used it for a few weeks.
- Squirt bottle for cleaning your vag, rather than wiping because you will be sore!
- Tylenol. That’s all the pain relief I got after birth, but really the pain wasn’t bad once she was born. I was more sore and exhausted than in pain, like I did the hardest workout of my life.
- Baby receiving blanket and hat.