So, prior to having Caroline (our oldest child), I feel like I googled and searched Pinterest high and low about what I would need at the hospital for delivery and what was necessary to add to my labor and delivery bag.
I was sooooo excited to finally be thinking of delivering that sweet, little bundle of joy! Now, you have to figure out what you actually need to take and what you don’t actually need while you’re there.
This post has been updated in January 2019, as I am pregnant with baby number three and getting ready to pack my labor bag for a third time.
Lucky us, we had three visits to the hospital for preterm labor before we actually brought Caroline into the world. I had a placental abruption which caused me to bleed and start having contractions too early in the pregnancy, going into preterm labor.
When this would happen, we would have to go to the Labor and Delivery Unit for medication and monitoring. After the first unexpected visit, my husband and I had a To Go bag packed at all times waiting for the next time Caroline decided to send us in a frenzy.
I’ve got my opinions on what was necessary to bring and what I brought and didn’t really need.
Labor Bag Clothing Suggestions
First, we have the obvious, clothes. To be more specific, one of the big things I’d recommend getting and bringing to the hospital if you’re going to breastfeed is a Nursing Bra.
I had two different kinds of nursing bras and I definitely had a preference between the two. The first kind was more of a regular cup bra with underwire.
The second was a bra with no underwire that was more like a sports bra. With nursing bras, the clip to unclip for easy access for nursing attaches where the strap connects to the cup on the front of the bra.
If it is a bra with underwire, when you want to flip the cup open, you almost have to flip the wire over too so the cup material is out of the way so your baby can get to eating.
When you’re going to be nursing your baby every two hours, you need something a little easier and quicker, every second of sleep is a precious thing.
With the sports bra kind of bra, you just have to un-clip and you pull it down and baby can get to eating much faster and easier. There are so many options out there to choose from too.
You can find a ton of them on Amazon and they are easy enough to add to your Amazon Baby Registry .
Did you know you can make your own Amazon Baby Registry? They’re almost always running a special giveaway if you start your registry with them too, so why not start on with them today. This is even more helpful since the old classic place to register has closed (Babies R Us).
If you feel like you’re going to be a bit more self conscious about bearing it all while nursing, I’d recommend a nursing cover of some sort. I used mine after I left the hospital on many, many occasions.
It was big enough to cover myself and my daughter and still had enough material to drape around if I felt we had any extra space being exposed that I didn’t want to be. I loved mine, you can grab yours here.
My nursing cover, was actually a nursing scarf that was designed like the trendy, infinity scarves. I would wear it like a normal scarf and it went along with many outfits. Then, when it was time to feed my little love bug, I unwrapped it and used it as a cover.
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Clothing Ideas for Labor Bag- Robe
A robe is essential. If you have a lightweight robe, bring it. If your hospital lets you, laboring in your own robe is soooo much easier and comfortable than laboring in an awful hospital gown.
I can’t stand the hospital gowns choking my throat. Plus, once you have baby, while in the hospital, it’s easier to nurse in a robe and get to and from the restroom in the robe rather than wearing a hospital gown or a t shirt.
You’ll feel more comfortable in your own robe versus a hospital gown, if you’re letting visitors come meet your new addition at the hospital.
Clothing Suggestions- Underwear
Specifically Granny panties. Trust me, you’ll want some grandma underwear. No matter what your normal underwear preference is, you’re going to want a couple pair of these bad boys.
No matter if you have a c section or vaginal birth, once you go though labor, it’s going to be a circus down there. You’ll want to be able to have ice packs for swelling, pads for bleeding and some padsicles (google those bad boys, you’ll thank me later) for numbing it all up.
So, the hospital gives you, lovely, diapers to wear after birth. Real freaking attractive, let me tell you! Oh and they’re all sooooo comfortable- said no mom ever.
But, if you have your own granny panties, you won’t have to wear those obnoxious diapers. Believe me, any chance you can get to feel normal or more comfortable, you’re going to want to take.
You’ve been pregnant, fluffy and not so comfy for months after months, you’re going to want to feel human as soon as possible. It is probably wise to think of these hospital granny panties, as disposable ones because you are probably not going to want them after anyway.
Clothes- Going Home Outfit
Going Home Clothes. So, originally, I planned on bringing this cute outfit to come home in as a family of three. But after the first two stays at the hospital, I got the jist that I really just wanted something comfortable to go home in.
I didn’t really care if it was cute or not. When the time came to go home, I was glad I had changed my original plan. I needed those comfy sweat pants.
Plus, I had those ice packs and what not going on down there, so my cute yoga pants that I had been wearing through the end of the pregnancy wouldn’t have looked so cute going home. I also had a ton of stitching and was still pretty sensitive, so I can’t imagine what I would have felt like if I kept those yoga pants in my bag to wear home.
All I could think about was getting home as a family of three as quickly as possible.
All I can say is, think COMFORT over CUTENESS.
Usually, I’m also all about big, comfortable t-shirts, but, if you’re nursing you’re going to want something more like a tank top or something that is easier access than pulling up a t-shirt in the front and back. At least, that’s how I was.
Outfit choices will be changing if you plan to nurse. Once we switched to formula because of Caroline’s Milk and Soy Intolerance Issues, I went back to my comfy t -shirts.
Toiletry Necessities for your Labor and Delivery Bag Checklist
Your Own Bath Towel
Thinking along the same lines, I recommend bringing your own Bath Towel. Hospital towels are small and not as absorbent as the ones that we have at home.
If you get to shower before you deliver, you’re going to be 9 months super pregnant and you’ll want a bigger towel anyway. Besides, the hospital towels we had were rough on the skin and we like our towels better.
The “body” towels they provided seemed like the size of the “hand towels” we have at home. Just bring one or two towels; you and your significant other will be glad you did. Make sure they’re ones you’re okay with getting a little messy if need be after you’ve been through delivery. I suggest grabbing a spare one just for your significant other so they don’t have to deal with any possible messes.
I know the first shower I got after I had Caroline, I felt like a whole new woman. I really appreciated the little things like having my own towel and toiletries.
Feeding Option for Baby in Labor Bag
Some of you may choose that breastfeeding is not right for you. To each their own. There is no judgement here. Also, some of you may choose to supplement formula with breastfeeding.
If this is you or your case, you may need to bring a bottle for your baby to use. We have found that Dr. Browns bottles are what works for our kids. Every baby is different, so you may need to try a few different bottles to see what your baby can work with.
Other things to add to your Labor Bag
Your own Pillow
Your own pillow. Dude, four total visits at the hospital in one year- I didn’t bring my pillow a couple of the days and I so regretted it. You can barely get comfortable when you’re 9 months pregnant, then add in being in a hospital and hooked up to monitors and uncomfortable beds, you’ll want your favorite pillow.
Your significant other can totally carry your pillow, it’s a necessity! We also brought Dave a big blanket from home, as the hospital blankets kinda suck and he uses so many blankets as it is.
They’ll supply you with some for dad to use overnight but they never gave us enough or ones that he wanted. It was just easier to bring our own. There’s nothing like your own pillow when you’re in a time of need!
Toiletries to toss in your delivery bag
Toiletries. For space sake, we took all travel sized toiletries, except deodorant. My husband is obsessed with putting deodorant on, so if I bought him a travel sized one, it would be gone in a day or two and NO, I’m not exaggerating.
As for me, I brought a full sized deodorant because I put in on religiously while in labor and after labor. I didn’t want to smell funny after laboring and when I had nurses checking me non stop and helping me get Caroline used to nursing.
I am so conscious about applying deodorant, partially because of Dave’s obsession. You’ll have more people around you than you realize.
I can’t stand bar soap that the hospital provides, so I was glad to have my own soap. On the other hand, my husband can’t use liquid soap and has to have bar soap, but, is very particular about it.
With our labor and delivery stay for our second daughter, Adeline, we opted for full size bottles of the toiletries. We found we had more room in our delivery bag, as I felt like I needed less and less and it was easier to just toss the brand new bottles in the bag and know that we had enough.
I guess the important thing is to make sure you have the brands you enjoy so you can feel a little better.
Phone Chargers or any other electronic chargers. For obvious reasons, but just make sure to add it to your list so you don’t forget it when you’re trying to leave the house in a hurry.
We all don’t have spare chargers laying around, but, if you do, toss them in the bag so you’re all ready to go.
Snacks. If your doctor and hospital allow it, bring some power snacks like granola bars, trail mix and a little treat for yourself. Depending on how your laboring goes, you will need all the energy boosts you can get.
Same thing with liquids…. If they allow you to bring something in from home, take your favorite hydrating drink. You’ll be needing that no matter what.
If you plan on nursing, you will be craving your water. Take a nice, big cup. Every time you nurse, you drink the big cup of water. Drink whenever you can. Plus, drinking extra water helps the pregnancy weight continue to fall right off.
To do list
List to Call. Make your announcement list, so your significant other will know who to call. Also, add your insurance company on there. They’ll need to know your child was born ASAP to be added to the policy.
We also had to call our nursing pump company to let them know Caroline was born so they could send us the breast pump.
Make sure friends and family know whether or not it is okay to share the news of your child’s birth. Some parents like to be the ones to share the news, especially with social media now a days. Have a plan in place and notify those who visit you in the hospital.
Distractions while in labor
Cards. Once I had my epidural, I had some time where I was waiting for Caroline to come down enough into the birthing canal so it could be time to push.
My family and friends are pretty obsessed with playing card games, so we packed a deck or two of cards to pass the time while I was waiting for her to descend.
But, you could take a sudoku book, a reading book or whatever you want to do to keep your mind off of the contractions and whatever else is going on.
My nurses and doctor thought it was amusing to walk in on a woman in labor playing cards, but it helped pass the time and keep my mind off the pain. Whatever activity will keep you occupied, bring it!
Daddy’s Labor and Delivery Bag Necessities
Daddy Bag. Dad is going to need clothes, a phone charger and some snacks too. Hospital vending machines just don’t cut it sometimes. Dave always seemed to be free to get food at the cafeteria, at odd hours.
They were always closing soon or actually closed and he rarely got to get something to eat there. Dave also took our iPad to keep himself entertained once we had her and I was feeding her, he had something to keep himself occupied.
Since we had multiple stays prior to our actual delivery, Dave needed that iPad a lot. It definitely saved him from boredom. Caroline kept us on our toes and she still does to this day.
Baby Supplies So, we didn’t need diapers or wipes or as many outfits as I packed the first time around. The hospital supplies you with a load of diapers and wipes.
Our nurse told us to empty out all the cabinets and drawers of diapers, wipes and any other necessities as our insurances are all billed for them whether we take them or not, so you might as well get your money’s worth.
But, we did need her car seat. We needed a going home outfit for her and we brought a swaddle blanket.
We nursed in the hospital, so we didn’t need bottles or formula (check if your hospital provides if you’re going that route as mentioned above).
I didn’t need bibs, but I did use a burp cloth with her, so I’d bring one or two with you.
To see which burp cloths and other items I recommend in general for having a new baby, check out the other post on top ten baby shower items My top 10 favorite baby shower gifts
We had a girl come in and offer hospital photos, we declined. But you may need cash for that if that is something you would like to do. Again, check with your hospital to see if this is something that they offer.
So, that’s the summarized list of what we took to the hospital for our multiple hospital stays.
One thing I wish I would have done was bring in thank you cards for the nurses who helped us through multiple stays in the Labor and Delivery Unit. We had a few nurses who went above and beyond and were phenomenal for Dave, Caroline and I.
I also had a couple nurses who I’d rather just never see on my care team again. Those who were awesome, I wish I would’ve had a little something to give them as a thank you for being so awesome! So, maybe, if you think you’d like to do that for your care team, that might be something you want to pack too.
If you have some items I forgot or somethings you used and I’m unaware of, feel free to comment them below! I’d love to see what you liked to have. Next time around, I can have even more useful items!
Happy Delivery Time! ANDDDDD Good Luck Mama! JUST BREATHE