Birth Bag – What to pack

As your birthing day approaches you will be wanting to have your bags packed and ready incase baby decides to arrive earlier than expected.

If you want to be super organised,  you can do this several months in advance and then have a list of the items that you (or preferably your birth companion) will add at the last minute.

It is also good to have a bag for the birth and another (probably much bigger) for your stay after you’ve given birth.  This way you only need to take the lighter bag into the birthing room and can get in there as quickly and easily as you wish.

Here is a fairly extensive list of some things you might consider adding to your birth bag.  It is by no means all necessary, just lots of ideas for you to pick and choose from.  Of course if you have space in your boot and want to be prepared for everything, your list may look like this and more.

If there is an item missing from this list that you consider essential, we’d love to know what it is in the comments below.

For the Birth – For Mum…

  • Your Birth Preferences
  • Your antenatal notes and file
  • Bottles of water and straws – It is important to stay hydrated during birth so keep the empty bottles so you can keep a track of how much you have been drinking.  (Do this at home before you leave too)
  • High energy snacks that will keep in your bag (Nuts, crackers or anything you enjoy)
  • Birthing outfit if you are not planning on wearing it to the birth.
  • Underwear -Sturdy ones for holding pads after you give birth.
  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers
  • Lip balm
  • Socks to keep your feet warm
  • Aromatherapy – Check which oils are safe for baby first and check it out with your midwife.
  • LED candles or fairy lights for ambience
  • Pre-prepared playlist for birthing and a device to play it through -Practice relaxing to this while you are pregnant to make sure it is a good fit.  Remember the charger!
  • Swiss ball for labouring on
  • Floatation support if you are using the pool for birthing.  The noodles that kids use at swimming pools are great.  You can hook yourself over the front or relax back on them.  This is especially great for the time you are in the pool yourself before your birth companion joins you (if he is going to)
  • Headphones – So you can listen to your relaxation music in the car without Dad also going to sleep, or to stay in the zone when you get there.
  • Eye mask – To block out any distractions and stay relaxed when you are making your way to to your place of birth and when you get there.
  • Book to read, card game or something you enjoy to pass the time if necessary.
  • Glasses if you wear them.

For Dad…

  • Snacks
  • Togs (if he is planning on getting in the pool or shower with you)
  • Change of comfortable clothes
  • Camera + charger
  • Book to read (or whatever he is into)
  • He also might want to line the passenger seat of his car with plastic (cot liner or rubbish bag will do) and towels in preparation for the trip to your place of birth.

For Baby…

  • A woollen hat is important, even if it is the middle of summer.  Babies loose heat through their head and the vernex on their skin so it is important to keep their  heads warm.  Cotton absorbs moisture and will just remain cold, however wool is more water resistant and won’t absorb moisture in the same way.
  • Booties and socks.
  • A few options for baby’s first outfit.  It is good to pack a few size options incase your baby is too long for the newborn size.
  • Newborn nappy – your birth centre will probably supply these, but just have some incase.
  • Carseat already fitted in your car.
  • Warm blanket

Last minute additions…

  • Phone
  • Phone charger
  • Anything you need if you want to play music in the birthing room

If you are planning on birthing at a hospital or birth center where the parking is some distance from the birthing rooms, have a piece of paper prewritten to put on the dashboard of your car, incase you need to park outside to get in quickly.  Write your name, a phone number (they can reach you on at the time) and that you are in labour and will move your car soon.

Ideas for your postnatal stay for Mum…

You can leave these bags in the car while you are in labour and bring them in after you have given birth.

  • Comfortable, loose fitting clothing and shoes
  • Sleepwear
  • Eye mask and earplugs
  • Socks and slippers
  • Maternity bras – soft, comfortable and a few sizes bigger than you are currently.
  • Maternity underwear
  • Heavy flow pads or incontinence pads.
  • Breast feeding pads
  • Nipple cream to stop nipples getting chapped – Nurture Mother and Baby balm is fantastic and totally natural so baby can feed straight away.
  • Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, hair ties, face wash, lip balm etc.
  • Vitamins and any post birth support.  Speak to a qualified naturopath and your midwife about how to best prepare.
  • Energy rich snacks to eat
  • Extra pillows – if you have a favourite from home it will make your stay more comfortable
  • Favourite music or book
  • Jandals for the showers (depending on where you are staying)
  • Water bottle
  • Feeding pillow – if you are planning on using a special one.

For Dad…

  • Snacks (notice this is at the top of the list ?)
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Phone and charger for sharing your wonderful news.

For Baby…

  • Various outfits that are easy to put on and take off.  The ones with snap buttons all the way down the front are great.  You may go through a lot during these first few days.
  • Little socks – great for putting over their hands if they are scratching their face (they stay on newborns much better than mittens) and of course for keeping feet warm.
  • Swaddle cloths.
  • Warm blanket for the trip home.
  • You might want to save a cute outfit for going home too.

For other siblings

  • If baby has older brothers or sisters, you  may consider packing a ‘gift from the baby’.  My youngest gave his big sister a baby doll with accessories and she loved it.  (It was especially cute when she sat next to me breastfeeding her new baby)

I hope this list is useful to you.  If you have already had your baby, what was your most essential item in your birthing bag?