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What Should I Pack in My Labor Bag?

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  • Bambino Mio
  • 15 / 11 / 2023


As you get further along in your pregnancy, your thoughts will turn more to the smaller details of starting labor, going into hospital and actually having your baby.


One of the most important things you can do to prepare for your spell in hospital is to pack your bag. Your hospital bag should contain everything you’ll need during labor and for at least a couple days after the birth.


What will I need in my hospital bag when I give birth?

You’re probably visualizing filling up your bag with whatever foods you’ve been craving, or with your favorite books. While you certainly can pack some treats and something to read, your priorities lie more with the practical and so sort out your hospital bag essentials before stashing away any snacks for you.


Your OB-GYN can advise you on your hospital bag

If you’ll be giving birth in your local hospital or birth center, then your midwife or OB-GYN will know what it offers to new moms in terms of supplies. This helps you to decide whether to bring your own diapers, face masks and hand sanitizer, for example.


Alternatively, you might decide to take a hospital tour in the last few weeks of your pregnancy and ask staff what are the labor bag essentials and the labor bag desirables.


When should I start packing my hospital bag?

You can start packing your bag whenever you feel the need to. However, you should have it ready to go by 37 weeks as this is when you’re deemed full term. Some women like to start putting in basic items like onesies, hats and mittens from around 20 weeks, especially if they’ve found out the sex of the baby.


If you start packing your hospital bag with the basics from 30 weeks or so, then even if you go into labor early, you’ll have most of the things you need for the birth.


What sort of bag should I buy for the birth?

You don’t have to buy any particular sort of bag for your labor bag, but you might want to use one with partitions and pockets so that you’re not confronted with a big jumble.


You’ll almost certainly be very tired after the birth and rummaging around in a seemingly amorphous mass for your phone charger can be a real pain. Put things like tubes of creams and shower gels into one easily accessible pocket, phones, chargers and other devices in another and so on.


A wheeled suitcase is an even better option and if you know you’ll be having a Cesarian section, moving a suitcase on wheels can be easier than hauling a bag around by its strap.


Does the baby need their own hospital bag?

This is a great idea, especially if you know you’ll be staying in hospital for a few days after the birth. Clothes, diapers, wipes and toiletries take up a surprising amount of space so you may find that two bags is best. Your baby’s hospital bag could seamlessly transition into their everyday change bag, so check out our range here.


Whatever the style, leave your hospital bag by the front door

Once you’ve packed everything you need for labor, you should leave your bag (or bags) by the front door so you or your partner can grab it en route to the hospital. 


So, now you’re primed and ready for some packing action, here’s everything you’ll need for your labor bag.


The big hospital bag checklist

  • Your maternity notes - these are especially important if you have to head to the hospital in a hurry 
  • Loose clothes - to make the journey home more comfortable
  • Your favorite toiletries - you’ll probably have a shower after the birth and having your usual shower gel, toothpaste, body lotion and deodorant will help you to feel a little more like yourself
  • Your birth plan - most women include this in their notes, but you might keep yours separate, so don’t forget it
  • Your laboring outfit - you’ll need comfortable clothes that are loose and easy to put on, take off or open; labor can make you feel hot and cold with no rhyme or reason and you might want to get dressed to wander about a bit, especially in the early stages
  • Comfortable house shoes or sliders - for those wanderings
  • Your books, podcasts, music, portable speakers, puzzles and magazines - labor can actually be a bit boring at times, especially if you’re being induced or waiting for a C-section so you’ll need something to keep you occupied 
  • High-energy snacks and lots of fluids - drinks cartons with straws are particularly helpful and a range of easy-to-eat snacks such as dried fruit, nuts and preprepared smoothies are handy too
  • Accessories - no one’s suggesting you wear your best pearls for labor, but hair ties and clips are invaluable if you need to keep your hair off your face; lip balm and body lotion can also help you to feel more comfortable
  • Thick fluffy socks - lots of women feel very cold immediately after delivering their baby, so a pair of socks will help to keep your feet warm
  • Your contact lenses, solution and any medication you’re currently taking - although you may be in hospital, it can take a while to replace your meds, so don’t forget yours
  • Your baby’s car seat - you can’t leave hospital without it if you’re planning to drive home


Your post-birth hospital bag supplies

  • Large and very absorbent maternity pads - you will bleed and lose fluids after the birth, even if you’ve had a C-section, so be prepared 
  • Huge panties! Sorry, we had to add the ! Whichever size knickers you’re wearing in the last month of pregnancy, buy a load more in the next size up (sorry, not glamorous but you will learn to love them) and make sure they come up over any potential C-section incision 
  • Big towels, preferably dark in color - giving birth is a messy business and so old dark towels that you can wash when you get home is a great help
  • A nursing bra or three - be prepared for your boobs to grow by another cup size when your milk comes in! 
  • Some burp cloths - newborns can be messy eaters and so some clean burp cloths will make those early feeds a bit easier for you both.


Your babys hospital bag

After all, he or she is the reason for going to hospital, right?

  • Lots of vests and onesies - keep the clothing simple for the first few days as you’ll be sleep deprived, sore and, well, wondering which way is up (and however many vests and suits you initially pack, toss in a few more)
  • A warmer onesie for the going-home outfit - unless it’s the height of summer, your baby might feel a bit chilly on their first outing into the world 
  • Bring a baby blanket as well as it's useful in strong sun and cold winds
  • A few hats - who doesn’t love a newborn in a hat? Hats are also useful for retaining body heat as newborns can’t regulate their own temperature
  • Scratch mittens - lots of new parents are shocked by how long their baby’s nails can be, especially if they came along a little late; babies also have no idea what they’re doing and can clutch at their own faces with their tiny talons
  • Diapers - if you’ve decided to go down the reusable diaper route then why not start while you’re in hospital? All you’ll need is your cloth nappy bundle and a wet bag and you’ll be on your reusables journey before you’re home
  • Reusable wipes - for diaper changes and general cleaning up of that lovely newborn skin and hair (ahhh, we can smell it from here…).


Your birth partners hospital bag

OK, your birth partner is probably a bit more mobile than you are, but do you want them suddenly running back home or to the store to pick up snacks or clean socks?


Your partner’s hospital bag should feature healthy snacks, a couple changes of clothes, chargers and books. Cash might seem like a thing of the past, but some hospital vending machines still need it and so you’ll need a chunk of change.