What should I bring with me to my birth? Everyone talks about having your bag ready to go, but what does that actually mean? What are people packing in these so-called birth bags?!

Here is my ultimate hospital packing list for the birthing person, their partner, and their baby! Plus, I let you know what the hospital typically provides for you during your labor and postpartum stay.

Clients often ask me what they should bring with them to their birth. Sometimes they have been packed for months, meticulously adding carefully curated items to rolling bags that will have house guests asking them when the next vacation is. But I more often hear of the last minute scramble to grab a toothbrush and the diaper bag on the way out the door because they didn’t realize they needed to be ready today.

Here’s hoping a little preparation can ease your mind and help you get ready to welcome baby with confidence. At the end of the day, if you remember nothing but your breath (and maybe baby’s carseat) the rest can be figured out.

What to Pack for the Birthing Environment

Setting the tone in labor can be a key step in creating your ultimate birth zone. Calm, dark, quiet spaces help the birther to relax and feel safe, which is essential for the birthing process.

What environment makes you feel safe, secure, and loved? Let your birth space be an oxytocin booster!

How will you set your birthy vibes?

  • lights (battery operated)
  • music/sounds playlist
  • bluetooth speaker
  • eye mask
  • dark sunglasses
  • pictures/trinkets from home
  • essential oils/smells
  • affirmation cards
  • headphones
  • soft blanket
  • comfortable pillow

What to Pack for the Birthing Person

For the person giving birth, it is a matter of individual comfort. People often ask what to wear in labor, and I always advise to go with whatever makes you feel most comfortable. For some people that is their own clothes, other people may opt to change into a hospital gown, and some prefer just their birth-day suit! Bringing your own toiletries and towels can help make a hospital room feel more like home. Think about what you will want to have after you meet your baby too!

  • clothes to labor in
  • comfy clothes for after birth (a few outfits)
  • undergarments: bras, underwear, socks, nursing bra
  • slippers/slip on shoes
  • phone & charger
  • eyeglasses/contacts & solution
  • toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, face soap/lotion, deodorant, etc
  • hair ties
  • face/body wipes
  • chapstick
  • towel
  • breast pump (optional)

What to Pack for the Partner/Support Person

It’s not just about the person in labor here, partners should pack accordingly as well! I actually think the partner’s birth bag is equally (if not more) important, because you want the person supporting you to be feeling their best so they can show up fully for you and not be distracted because they’re hungry, cold, and forgot their medication.

  • pillow & blanket (trust me on this one)
  • comfy clothes – bring layers (the hospital tends to be too hot or too cold, but never “just right” in my experience)
  • toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, face soap/lotion, deodorant, etc.
  • phone & charger
  • eyeglasses/contacts & solution
  • bathing suit (if there is a tub and they will be joining you)
  • easy access top (ie zip up sweatshirt, flannel with buttons) for skin-to-skin
  • prescription medication (if prescribed any)
  • towel

What to Pack for Logistics

Besides meeting your personal needs for you and your partner, there are a few more things that are nice to not have to scramble for last minute and have ready to go when you’re heading to the hospital to have your baby.

  • towel to put down on car seat for ride to hospital (if your water has broken or not – this will save you from needing to get your car detailed)
  • ID and insurance card
  • birth plan (hopefully you have had a chance to share with your provider in advance)
  • name and phone number of pediatrician (yes, they will ask you right after you have given birth, and no, your partner will not remember)
  • food & drinks
    • snacks for you and partner
    • vegan snacks (in case of hospital policy only allowing vegan diet)
    • something yummy
    • gatorade, powerade, coconut water, juice
    • hard candy

What to Pack for Baby

Your baby will need very little item-wise from you right now. The most important thing they have is you – their parent(s)! Give your new little one lots of snuggles and soak up skin-to-skin time for bonding, feeding, and love.

  • going home outfit
  • onesies and swaddles (optional)
  • nail file/clippers or baby mitts (to keep long fingernails from scratching)
  • car seat (remember to have base installed)

What will the hospital already have when I go to have my baby?

The hospital will already have many necessities for you. Each hospital is a little different, so you can ask your provider in advance what to expect. Here is what I typically see provided:

  • some food & drinks: juice, water, tea, coffee, broth, popsicles, jello (ask your hospital what their food policy is)
  • heating pads (if your hospital doesn’t provide this, I highly recommend bringing your own)
  • ice
  • washcloths, towels, blankets, pillows (yes the hospital has these, and yes I still recommend bringing your own)
  • birth balls/peanut balls (unless you are particularly fond of yours, you can leave this bulky piece of equipment at home)
  • for baby: onesie, hat, diapers, wipes, pacifier, formula & bottles (pre-mixed), blankets, bassinet
  • breast pump (might be good to bring your own to practice)
  • non-slip hospital socks
The hospital will have a safe place for your baby to sleep, plenty of receiving blankets, and something for your baby to wear.

Make sure when you leave you bring everything you can from your room home with you! Those diapers and wipes you opened? They’re yours to take, and trust me, you’re going to need them! And baby isn’t the only one who you should be thinking of here. Don’t forget to grab all the disposable underwear they offer, as well as the peri bottle. These will come in handy the first week home. Also be sure to take a plastic bin so you can have a spot to put and soak bottles that’s not directly in the dirty kitchen sink.

Did you see something surprising on this list? Did I miss something that you think is a must-have? Comment below and let me know!

Categories: Ask a Doula


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *