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What to Pack for Labor

When choosing to have a baby at a birth center or a hospital, packing a bag can be a daunting task. It is important to know how much to pack and what you need. You will also be packing for more than one person. Here is our guide on what to bring to your baby's birthday party!

Each birth center provides a general list, most of the items are the same. Each unique birth center may add those special items on. Hospitals also may have items already provided that may be different than your use at home. Here is our guide to packing for a birth center:

  •   Be it a birth center or a hospital a car seat is a must. Your baby cannot go home with you without a properly installed car seat.

  • Clothes for baby to wear. Our suggestions are:

    • an undershirt or onesie

    • gown or sleeper

    • socks

    • hat

    • 2 receiving blankets

    • Diapers: your choice, cloth or disposable

    • Small bottle of olive oil (you'll use on baby's bottom). Baby's first poop is dark, sticky and black. It is hard to rub off. Olive oil helps baby's first poop wipe right off without sticking and causing irritation to baby's body. 

Labor clothes:

Water Birth: If you plan to have a water birth, pack clothing that would be easy to remove after baby is born to give baby access to breastfeding and skin to skin directly after birth. After birth clothing: When going home, it is helpful to have something big and baggy for comfort. For some, it is comfortable to not wear anything with a waiste band. Remember, you will probably be about the size you were at about 3-4 months of pregnancy, when packing consider items that are stretchy.

Bra: When choosing a bra, remember your milk may come in and increase your cup size. You can increase up to a full cup size after milk is in. Bra's should not have underwire or be constrictive, that can limit milk ducts and cause clogged ducts.

Our clothing suggestions are:

  • at least 2 short gowns

  • t-shirts

  • short dress

  • abdominal binder or belly wrap if you choose to wrap postpartum

  • clothing that is ok to get messy- your water may break

  • bring a few pairs of underpants

  • outfit to wear home

  • shoes that slip on and off easily

  • nursing tank top and/or good nursing bra

General Items: Anything that makes you comfortable; pillows, robe, slippers, socks chapstick, breath mints, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, facial wipes, hair ties/clips, barrettes, camera, batteries, music or playlist

You will want to pack clothes for dad or support person (he may get in the shower, tub, or need to change clothes). Birth can last from hours to days. With an induction, the process can last 2-4 days long.

You will want to be prepared with:

  • your birth plan

  • list of people you plan to call. 

  • cash is always good to have on hand in case you order food or forget something

  • insurance card & ID 

  • pack of overnight kotex or large pads. In the hospital they provide stretchy mesh underware with a pad inside. Pads are largley dependant upon prefernece. If you have a favorite, make sure you pack it.

  • phone chargers- having an extra long cord may be helpful in a hospital

  • your own pillow and/or blankets

  • eye cover - it can be bright when they turn on the big lights in the middle of the night in the hospital

  • portable blue tooth speaker

  • portable fan

  • essential oils and diffuser

  • rice sock or heating pad

  • glasses or contacts

Food in Labor:

You may have the oppurtunity to eat while in labor at hospital or in a birth center. Eating helps to reduce maternal exhaustion and provides the strength for labor and pushing. Many hospitals do provide some foods, however they don't provide meals for your support team. Snacks for your birth team are a must.

Here is an assortment is suggested:

  • fruits: frozen grapes, watermelon, cantaloup, strawberries, frozen blueberries, etc.

  • electrolytes are massivley important: water, gatorade, coconut water, and/or your favorite juice

  • soups

  • sandwich items 

  • frozen meals

  • popsicles

  • bone broth

  • honey sticks

Items prepared for postpartum:

Once you get home, you will have some basic items you will want to have on hand. Resting and having meals in the freezer will help reduce the time you spend getting up and moving around. It is important to sleep, nurse, and heal once baby is born. It helps reduce blood loss and allows pelvic floor muscles to heal appropriatley. Having a cart that can follow you will reduce your activity once home.

Here are suggestions for postpartum items:

  • adult and baby thermometer

  • crib or bassinet

  • nursing pads

  • great water cup or bottle

  • diapers, wipes, clothes, blanket all in one area

  • 2 burp cloths

  • 2 baby outfits and 2 blankets - baby's go through laundry quickly

  • haaka or breast pump and storage milk bags

  • nipple balm or silver nipple cups

  • pads, perri bottle, and perineal sprays or herbs by your toilet

  • postpartum cool packs (should only use for the first 24 hours)

  • mini garbage can or empty bag- to throw away diapers in so you don't continue to get up to the trash

  • rice sock or heating pad

  • coloring book, reading material


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