One of the most common topics we discuss with the families who hire us is what to pack for your birth.
The decision about what to pack for your birth is a common focus as your due date approaches. Not to mention friends, family, doctors and doulas alike are all asking “Have you packed your bag yet?” To be sure, having that bag packed and ready to go is a parenting rite of passage!
It is common when we meet with families who have given birth before to find that they will ask us to help narrow down what they need to pack this time. Overpacking is common. This is a monumental event in your life and it’s a day that is entirely unpredictable in terms of what you might need.
Over the years we have tailored our recommendation on what to pack.
Now that compact disk players have been replaced with MP3 players, extra batteries are no longer an item that you must remember. Today most families carry their labor playlists on their smartphones. Your list of who to call when your baby is born has been replaced with group text messages and video chats through FaceTime or Skype. Your family and friends will get to meet your new baby in real time. Between calling, texting and video chatting having your charger at hand is essential!
As you start thinking about what to pack for your baby’s birth we recommend that you pack two bags.
Planning to use one bag for labor and another for your postpartum recovery cuts down the number of bags that need to be carried into the hospital as you arrive.
Our suggestions for what to pack can be found in the graphic below. Download your PDF copy here: Labor & Postpartum Bag Checklist
Once you have gathered the items you’d like to take we recommend:
- Lay everything out on a table or bed
- Have your partner/support person pack the bags
- During labor, the partner is usually the individual who retrieves necessary items from the bag as requested. When the partner packs the bags they remember where items are located and can retrieve the items more quickly and neatly.
- Remember that most birthing facilities will have staple items like shampoo/conditioner, feminine pads, diapers and wipes available to you. If your chosen birthing facility does not, be sure to pack these additional items.
- If you forget something at home, utilize your visitors or family to retrieve it for you at home or send them to a nearby store to buy the item(s) you need. It’s ok if you forget something!
There’s no way to prepare for every eventuality in labor, but having the essentials outlined above and adding a few of your own is sure to set you up for success!