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The Essential Birth Bag Guide

Download the Childbirth bag checklist here >>> Birth Bag Checklist

Hi, Monica Healy here, thanks for signing up for my essential birth bag guide. After having six children and working with thousands of expectant mums each year I’ve learned a lot about the key ingredients of a birth whether you are having a natural home birth or a hospital birth everything is here. I’ve included a lot of items and many you may not want to pack but at the end you will find a quick checklist you can easily download and print.

Every expectant mother will need a hospital bag or if not having baby at the hospital an essentials bag for home so you are not searching on the big day. Even if you do not plan on having a hospital birth, you may to need to seek medical attention unexpectedly and you want to be ready. Giving birth to your precious bundle of joy is an exciting wonderful experience, so you will want to be prepared ahead of time. Try to have your essentials bag packed by the time you are thirty-six weeks pregnant.

Individual hospitals will vary with their policies, so it is important that you check with your hospital on what you are allowed to bring and what they will supply. You want to be prepared for the birth of your little one and have everything you need to make this wonderful experience as comfortable as you can while in the hospital. With that being said, you also do not want to show up with everything from your house except the “kitchen sink”. So what exactly do you need to make this a pleasant experience and to be more comfortable? To help you with this task we have created this essential hospital bag guide.

Essential Items for Mom before Giving Birth

Birth Plan – You will want to have your birth plan and any maternity notes with you at the hospital. (be prepared to change your mind)

Medications / Allergies – if you are on any medications and or have allergies please have a written copy of this just in case.

Identification / insurance – have your photo identification with you and any insurance information you may need. Some hospitals have you register weeks before the expected birth to obtain this information.

Nightgown – A nightgown will be useful both during and after labour. We recommend a lightweight nightgown in either a dark colour or cute pattern, as this will help to camouflage any marks. It is sometimes nice to buy something special but there is a chance it could get ruined.

Slippers – You will want cozy slippers that are easy to slip on without bending over.

Bathrobe – It’s nice to have a bathrobe to wrap up in. You may want to be mobile in the first stages of labour.

Socks – Plan on bringing a pair of socks for each day you are in the hospital.

Lotion or Massage Oil – Lotions and massage oils will come in handy if you would like to be massaged during your labour. We suggest base massage oil.

Lip Balm – Lip balm is a great idea as your lips become quite dry especially when doing all the deep breathing necessary for labour.

Hair band, Elastics, or Clips – If you have longer hair, bring something with you that will allow you to get your hair up and away form your face during labour.

Entertainment – Bringing things like magazines, books, or even a tablet will help you to relax or pass the time while at the hospital.

Birthing Ball – A birth ball can help you feel more comfortable during labour. You may want to check and see if the hospital carries them for you to use and if they have the right size. Don’t forget to bring the pump along with you.

Face cloths – Bring along a few face cloths. These are very handy to wipe the brow. You can easily run them under water to use hot or cold.

Pillows – Some hospital pillows are not very comfortable or they do not provide enough pillows to make you feel comfortable. A v-shaped pillow is also useful to give you extra support while breastfeeding your little one.

Snacks and Drinks – These are good to have on hand both during and after labour. Fruits, vegetables, and crackers are all a good idea along with a sport water bottle that will allow you to take sips while lying down. Snacks and drinks will be convenient for both you and your birthing partner.

Music – Take an MP3 player or CD player along with you to provide a relaxing atmosphere. Some hospitals will provide a CD player and even some CD’s, but make sure to check first. I think the simplest thing is to add music to your phone or ipod and bring along some portable speakers. Small good sounding speakers are so affordable nowadays. Choose your music before hand and use when practicing your pre-labour exercises.

Hot Water Bottle – A hot water bottle will especially come in handy if you plan on having a natural birth. It can provide you with much needed relief from any back pain or discomforts. Something I find even easier are little rice socks that can be heated in the microwave if you are at home. You can make your own with clean dry white cotton tube socks. Fill ¾ of the way with white long cooking rice NOT the minute kind. Add in 2 drops of scented oil or herbs that you like. Tie a knot secure with an elastic band then slide into another soft appealing sock maybe in a colour you like. Heat for 1 to 2 minutes in a microwave. These tube like heating pads hold the heat for a long time and are great for back labour. Be careful to use a towel in between for the first few minutes as they can be quite hot.

Bendable Straws – Bendable straws will come in handy while you are in the middle of labour. Your birthing partner will be able to hold the drink up to your lips without worrying about spilling all over you.

Religious Items – Some Moms dependant upon their spiritual or religious beliefs may want to pack certain items that are meaningful and spiritual.

Reference book – Bring along your contact list for those exciting calls to family and friends. You may want change for the pay phone or a calling card. Most hospitals won’t allow mobile phone calls in the hospital.

Eyewear – It’s important to remember comfortable eyewear and contacts if that suits you. Most women find contacts comfortable. Check with your hospital.


Essential Items for Mom after Giving Birth

Pajamas – A comfortable pair of pajamas will help you feel more relaxed after giving birth. If you plan on breastfeeding your baby, a button up pajama top will be very useful and prevent you from having to lift up your whole top.

Sleep – if for some reason you will have an extended stay in hospital you may need or want sleep aids such as eye mask and earplugs for rest. Sometimes nurses have to keep the lights on and there are other Mom’s around that may disturb you.

Going Home Outfit – When it comes time to bring baby home, you will want a comfortable outfit that is easy to put on. A pair of maternity pants or elastic waist pants will be your best option.

Sanitary Napkins – We recommend using super absorbent sanitary napkins after giving birth. Look for ones that are thinner and with wings for better protection.

Nursing Bra – If you plan on breastfeeding your little one, you will want to bring along at least one nursing bra to the hospital. Please purchase one with a much larger cup size. When your milk comes in your breasts can become engorged and you will need a much bigger bra for a few days. Also you may want to invest in a special nipple balm….only use those prescribed for breast feeding not all lotions can be used on the breast. One with lanolin is good.

Underwear – Bring enough underwear for each day and then add a few extra pairs for good measure. Your flow will be rather heavy the first few days, so make sure you bring old underwear that you don’t care about and can possibly throw away. Try to have breathable cotton underwear that is comfortable and hits high on your waist.

Gentle Laxatives – Check with your doctor or hospital first, as some hospitals will provide these after giving birth. A gentle laxative can be very helpful after delivery as most women can become constipated or too afraid to have a bowel movement.

Breast Pads – You may not need breast pads right away, but they are convenient to have on hand when your milk does come in. Even if you do not plan on breastfeeding, you may find that you will still need some breast pads the first few weeks to avoid any leaks or staining.

Towels – Check with your hospital to see if they provide towels for your post-baby shower.

Cosmetics – Not that beauty will be on your mind, but having things like a hair brush, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, facial wipes and face cream can make you feel so much better.

Breastfeeding pillow – This is usually not necessary for the hospital but handy to have one for home.

Baby book – This is an item you will also want to keep for home. Some Mom’s like to bring one to the hospital but it’s not necessary really.


Extra Items for Added Comfort

Toilet Paper – Some women are especially sensitive after giving birth to their baby. A soft toilet paper will give you the extra cushion that can make you feel better faster.

Arnica – Arnica is a homeopathic solution that is found in either a cream or tablet form. It is available at most pharmacies or health stores and it will aid in the healing process after giving birth to your little one. You should purchase the arnica in tablet form and look for one that is coated in lactose so it will not taste bad.

Tucks pads or witch hazel – These feel so wonderful after a vaginal birth if you have torn or have stitches from an episiotomy. Place on a small pad and place where the pain is. We don’t suggest you put it directly on your sanitary napkin.

Sibling Present – If this is not your first child, having a little gift that the newborn can give to their sibling is a nice idea because bringing a new baby home can be quite stressful for other little ones.

Spray Bottle – A spray bottle can come in handy for all of those sweaty moments during labour. It will provide you with a cooling mist that will leave you feeling refreshed.


Essential Items for Birthing Partner

Comfortable Shoes – You will want to be wearing comfortable shoes as you will probably be on your feet a lot.

Change of Clothes – If you plan on spending the night with your partner, you will want a change of clothes the following day.

Swim Trunks – A pair of swim trunks will be useful if you plan on assisting your partner in the shower after baby is born. These can also be handy if your partner is planning on having a water birth.

Toiletries – You will want to have things like your toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant on hand while staying at the hospital.

Camera / Video camera – Giving birth to your bundle of joy is a remarkable experience and a moment you will never want to forget. Even if you don’t want to snap photos of the actual birth, the moments leading up to the birth and right after the birth are also very special. Make sure to bring some extra batteries or a charger, just in case. I was present when my grandchildren were born and video taped the entire process…it was beautiful.

Mobile Phone – Check with your hospital and see if they allow the use of a mobile phone. This will come in handy to phone all of your friends and family to share the joyous news. Don’t forget to include a list of the numerous phone numbers in case you have to use a landline.


Essential Items for Baby

Sleepers – You will want to have warm and snuggly sleepers that your baby can wear while staying in the hospital and for the adventure home. I always bought a special little nightgown for going home and kept it for them as a momentos for when they’re grown. Newborn baby nightgowns are available which tie at the bottom to keep baby warm. It’s so easy to change diapers when they are dressed this way.

Undershirt – Your little one will enjoy wearing these underneath their outfit to keep them warm and make them feel safe and snuggly.

Baby Blanket – Although the hospital will supply you with baby blankets, you may want to bring one for the ride home or if the hospital is drafty.

Diapers – Some hospitals will provide you with diapers while you are staying there but some may not so you will want about twelve diapers per day for your little one.

Scratch Mittens – Believe it or not, when your bundle of joy is first born they will have rather sharp nails. Babies are prone to grab at their face while feeding or when they are frustrated, so having a few pairs of scratch mittens on hand will prevent them from harming their delicate skin.

Socks or Booties – A pair of socks or booties will give your baby an extra layer of warmth.

Hat – A snug-fitting hat will ensure that your little one is not losing a lot of heat through their tiny head.

Infant Car Seat – You will need an infant car seat in order to bring your precious baby home safe and sound. It is a good idea to leave this item in the car and ready to got by week 36.

Jacket or Snowsuit – If you are having your little one in cooler weather, it is a good idea to have a snowsuit to keep them warm when taking them home.

Formula – Your little one will be hungry when they come into this world, so make sure you pack some formula if you are not breastfeeding. It is a good idea to check with the hospital first, as some will provide formula for you. The best advice I can give you is to breast feed for at least the first few days when the most nourishment for your little one is there on demand and at just the right temperature.

Wipes, Lotions, and Creams – Most hospitals will also provide this for your baby, but you may want to check with them first. If not, then you should bring along some wipes for all those diaper changes, diaper cream to protect their cute little bum, and some baby lotion to keep their skin silky soft. Check labels first and use only those intended for baby.

Receiving Blankets – Receiving blankets are great to use when swaddling your baby, especially a stretchy fabric blanket. They will also come in handy while you are feeding your little one, wiping up any messes, or to put under your baby while changing their diaper.

Baby Bag –  A bag for baby or diaper bag as it is often referred to. You can use this to pack baby’s things in, to keep them separate from yours and easier to organize.


Helpful Information

You will find it helpful to pack a few smaller bags rather than one large bag. Put everything you need during labour into a small bag to ensure you have everything on hand without searching through a large bag. It will also save you from bringing absolutely everything you need into the hospital on your first trip. You can always send your birthing partner back out to the car or home to grab the other bags as you need them, which will most likely be after you give birth. You are often only in the hospital for 24 hours.

To ensure you have everything you need, we have included a convenient only the essentials checklist that you can print out just see below.

Thank you very much for watching if you enjoyed this please share it with your friends or if you have any tips of your own please post them in the comments. Keep watching for more pregnancy and birth tips.


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