Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pregnancy Labor Bag: What to Pack

I remember just about this time last year I was already starting to think about what I would need to take in our pregnancy labor bag to the hospital for my wife when she went into labor. My wife was only three months pregnant, but I wanted to be prepared, so I started a list.

What surpises me is how much I kept adding to the list. Every week or so I would remember something else. At six months, I was ready to make the bag and have it ready, just in case. Working in a neonatal ICU, I see all kinds of premature babies, and I just had to make sure we were ready in the event our little girl came early!

I know, it was a little too soon, but better to be safe than sorry. My wife did not want me to have it made so early, so I was only allowed to pack what a little bit at first. Week by week, though, I was able to add a little bit more as we got closer to her due date.

Here is my complete list of what I packed, and hopefully for some of you, it will give you a place to start.

For Mom


  1. 3-4 loose fitting t-shits
  2. 3 pairs comfy pants
  3. 4 pairs socks
  4. 1 pair flip-flops (or slippers, houseshoes, whatever you have)
  5. 4 pairs underwear
  6. 2 nursing bras
  7. clothes to go home in

Accessories/Personal Hygiene

  1. 2 scrunchies or hairbands
  2. makeup
  3. toothbrush
  4. toothpaste
  5. brush or comb
  6. chapstick
  7. shampoo
  8. deodorant
  9. lotion
  10. glasses and contacts
  11. contact case and solution


  1. Insurance card, ID
  2. Birth Plan (We did not have one, but many people do)
  3. Hospital registration information
  4. Massage tool (Tennis ball is a cheap option, we picked up a $1 hand massager at Bed Bath & Beyond)
  5. 1 pack of gum
  6. Several of mom's favorite snacks
  7. Extra pillow from home (Use a pillow case that is any color except white, as most hospital pillow cases are white)
  8. Book or magazines
  9. Portable DVD player or laptop and mom's favorite movies

For Dad

  1. 2 pairs of extra clothes
  2. Toothpaste
  3. Toothbrush
  4. Shampoo
  5. Disposable Razor and shaving cream
  6. $10 in quarters and/or $1 bills for vending machine needs
  7. Book, magazines, and/or laptop
  8. Camera and/or camcorder

For Baby

  1. 2-3 onesies or sleepers for hospital stay
  2. 2-3 pairs newborn socks
  3. 2 diapers for trip back home
  4. Car seat w/ base
  5. Going home outfit / outfit for hospital baby pictures
  6. 1-2 baby/receiving blankets
  7. 1 pacifier
  8. 1-2 extra burp cloths

As you can probably imagine, I was carrying a heavy load. My one pregnancy labor bag turned into two labor bags and one labor backpack.

As it turns out out of all the things I brought, we used almost every item. My wife just about completely used everything on the list. She even used to the laptop to blog a bit and post some pics of the baby. She went through every pair of clothes we brought except one pair, because we ended up being released a day early due to the fact that mom and baby were both doing so well.

We used all the baby items we brought, including all the clothes. We ended up taking our baby photos in the same outfit we brought for her to go home in.

For me, I was the only one not to use all my stuff. One day I didn't get to shower, and I only used one extra pair of clothes. I was so busy attending to my wife and baby that I barely had anytime to get freshened up! It was totally worth it though, and as a proud new daddy I was more than happy to do it.

Being prepared with a pregnancy labor bag saves on stress and time when the moment arrives to rush to the hospital. My advice is to get it ready somewhere between 26 and 30 weeks. That way, regardless of when the baby comes, you will absolutely be ready, and all you have to do is grab your bag and jump in the car. Soon you will meet the new addition to your family!

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