What to Pack in a Labor & Delivery Bag

Preparing for nights at the hospital when you deliver may seem overwhelming to a new mom. There are tons of lists an opinions out there it is easy to get lost in what you need to pack for the basic essentials. And, what one person needs, another may not. Who really is the best resource? Other moms!

When I was pregnant, I Googled every question I had to see what was out there. Maybe a Google search brought you here! One of my searches was “what to include in a labor and delivery bag”. There was a TON of information that came up. Everything from comfort items, extra clothes, pads, nail clippers, snacks…basically too many things to sort through what I actually needed. And how did I really know what I was going to need when I hadn’t gone through a delivery before? I was scheduled for a cesarean section and knew that it would be a little different, but in the end you really need to same things. 

Things that nobody tells your before you have a child:

You will bleed.

From either natural or c-section delivery. All of the blood has to come out the same way.

You will cry.

I “thought” that I was fine until the nurse said it was okay to go home. I cried and couldn’t figure out why. What I wanted was to take all of the cool nurses and the hospital bed home with me. The sweetest nurse looked and me and said “awe honey…those hormones have kicked in!”. Then months after going home, retelling the story to someone I started to cry again! Those hormones are no joke haha!

You might poop.

Yup that is right. It is all natural and it happens. The good side of this is that the nurses and doctors know it and expect it, so don’t stress about the possibility of it or if it does happen. Hey, we are human.

Your birth plan might need wiggle room.

Having a birth plan is an excellent outline and plan for what you would like to follow. But keep and open mind that things can quickly change medically. 

Your milk might take time to come in.

I thought that right after I delivered my milk would come in quick. It actually took a few days of pumping and waiting until it finally came in. Keep and open mind, your baby will need nutrition and sometimes formula is needed. Ask what kind of formula that they have. After you leave the hospital with baby, it is recommended to stick with the same formula. We happen to get the most natural organic and most expensive supplement in the hospital. Lucky us!  

Back to the bag. After reading several lists, and trying to not pack too much, I packed too much! I packed extra clothes for me, extra for baby, too many snacks because I thought I would want choices, but turned out that I was so tired I ate anything with good nutrients. Two good size bags could have been condensed down to one small one. Not to mention the hassle to bring everything in and out of the hospital. After you have your baby, remember that you will have more to carry!

Packing for labor and delivery is actually quite simple. You only need a few basics and in a small bag. Otherwise, the hospital has you covered!

Hospital Labor and Delivery Bag List:

Baby nail clippers
Hospitals do not supply them. Your baby may be born ready for their first trim.

A cozy lounge outfit for mom
I brought my cozy pants, a nursing tank top, nursing bra and a light cardigan. Don’t forget the nursing tops and bras if you plan to breastfeed.

C-section friendly panties
The cozy cotton low-cut kind that will fit below belly. Even if you plan to have a natural birth, a c-section is always a possibility. 2-3 pair. If you forget them, the hospital has disposable underwear which are actually very comfortable! Don’t pack your favorite pair. Blood can come from the incision line and also from inside as your body cleans itself.

Baby’s clothes and other items
Something to bring your baby home in! Also pack a few onsies or pajamas. Pack socks, blanket and most important, the car seat! A hat if you like, but the hospital will have infant hats.

Slippers are easy to put on bedside. I also brought flip flops which were nice for getting out of bed and slipping on easily. I also used flip flops in the shower.

A personal item
Something to help you focus, feel comfortable, a picture of your other children. Maybe a laptop, iPad, Nook or Kindle. My personal item was my cozy clothes. I didn’t want to wear the hospital gown if I didn’t have to, and I was so glad that I had them.

It is always nice to sleep on your favorite pillow!

Optional but necessary if you are a light sleeper. Chances are, you will sleep pretty good when you need to and when baby is sleeping too.

Music and Movies
Download a movie or two, or make a playlist before going to the hospital. We ended up playing Irish music because it seemed to sooth my son when he had difficulty feeding. This one doesn’t take up any room in your bag! Movies come in handy if younger siblings come to visit too.

For phones, devices, cameras…

Glasses and/or contacts
So you can see your sweet kiddo!

Cosmetic bag
With toiletries, tooth brush, brush, lotion.

Sibling items
If you have older siblings, pack an activity for them. Coloring books, an item to “help” with the new baby, a new toy. Their world will be turned upside down when another baby arrives and having them help and feel special will go a long way in the transition.

What you might think that you need and the hospital will have, or if you forget something, or really want to bring your own version:

Personal hygiene products
Lip balm
Nipple cream

For your partner, you can use the same basic list with some obvious substitutions or swap outs. We added snacks for guests so that Dad and anyone visiting had easy access to a quick bite. Don’t sweat it if you forget something! Someone can always run to a store or back home. And the hospitals are stocked with more than you know!