What’s in my Birth Bag?

Struggling to figure out what to pack in your hospital bag or birth center bag? Let me help! Packing a hospital bag and packing a birth bag are hard! I’m here to make it a little easier. 🙂

birth bag

It’s getting closer to D-day (you know, due-date day) and one of the most important things to have ready is a bag for the birth center. As you’ve read in past posts, I’ve been receiving prenatal care at baby+co. and will be delivering at the birth center in Cary. NC baby+co. is a women’s health and family wellness center focused on natural birth and all things pregnancy. They provide preconception planning, complete pre- and post-natal care, birth, education, and beyond for families in the Triangle. You can learn more about their model of care and the services they provide here. I started packing my birth bag for baby+co. around 30 weeks because I’m type A and really need to get a handle on it, but I’m also really glad that I did.

I have been so lucky with my prenatal care experience this time around with Hattie. So lucky, that I’m now partnering with my birthing center, baby+co., to help all you mamas-to-be with birth bag packing! baby+co.’s slogan says it all: A modern birth center, built on evidence, delivered with love. Learn more about baby+co. here. *Please note this post contains affiliate links*

You can search Google and Pinterest for ideas of what to include in your bag, but being a second-time mom, I’m here to help you avoid reading endless lists and feeling overwhelmed. With the help of my anonymous question at my 3rd trimester group visit and baby+co. (thanks Karen and Angela for the advice!) and my knowledge from my first baby, I think I’ve gotten this birth bag thing down to science.

birth bag

Here are my must-have items for the birth center:

  1. Outfit(s) for baby – You’re going to want to bring something for baby to wear home, of course, but I’d recommend bringing an extra outfit too. You never know when a little spit up or poopy diaper will strike, and you want to be prepared for it with an extra set of clothes. Make sure these outfits are comfy for the little one. They just got out of the most comfortable place they could be – your womb – and they deserve to feel comfortable the first few days too. Save the frills and tulle for later.
  2. Outfit(s) for mom – The last thing you think about after you’ve given birth is yourself, so make sure you think of yourself before you go into labor. Having a comfortable outfit (or two) to change into after the baby is born will be such a blessing. My go-to is yoga pants, depends (more on that below), a nursing bra, and a comfy tee. If your feet get cold easily, it’s always nice to have an extra pair of socks too.
  3. Nursing pillow – Some women might not include this on the necessities list but I am a firm believer that my boppy pillow is part of the key to my successful breastfeeding with Jude last time. A regular pillow just doesn’t function the same, and after going through X amount of time in labor, you’re going to want things to be easy-peasy. Bringing a nursing pillow will only help!
  4. Depends – It’s not the most glamorous of items, but definitely a necessity. I plan on wearing them on the way home.
  5. Toiletries – I know most places supply you with these things, but for me, there’s nothing more comforting than using my own hair brush, toothbrush/toothpaste, shower gel, deodorant, contact solution, etc. after birth. While the baby+co. doesn’t make you stay for more than one day at the center, if you end up transferring to a hospital for any reason, you’ll be glad you packed these things for the longer stay.
  6. Chapstick – Because focusing on breathing means that your lips will definitely be getting dry. Make sure you pack some chapstick to avoid having to worry about chapped lips. You already have enough going on!
  7. Chargers – phone and camera – If you’re like me, you’re planning on bringing your phone and your nice camera with you. Make sure that you also bring your chargers! The last thing you want is your phone or camera dying as you’re taking those first pictures of your new babe. I’d also pack an extra memory card for your camera, just in case.
  8. Snacks – Don’t forget this one – it’s really, really important. Not only do you want to have snacks to nibble on throughout the labor process, you’ll want them for after too. Giving birth is A LOT of work, and you’ll want the pick me up. Also, bring small drink mix packets to mix with water so you can get some electrolytes while you’re in labor and replenish yourself post-birth. This was a great suggestion from my midwives at baby+co.
  9. Hair ties – Don’t forget this one, especially if you have crazy thick and long hair like me. While I always have a hair tie on my wrist, I also know that my hair has a mind of its own and will break said hair tie in an instant, or require more than one. The last thing you want to worry about while in labor is your hair getting in your face.

birth bag

Nice to have but not necessities:

  1. Robe – baby+co. supplies robes for their clients, but if you want to bring your own from home, go ahead and put it in your birth bag. Pinkblush has some seriously adorable floral ones on their website. Me? I’ll go for the fluffy ones provided for me and save the cash for something else.
  2. Essential oils with a diffuser – I’m excited that baby+co. provides diffusers and essential oils for their mamas in each birthing suite, but if you’re giving birth elsewhere, this is a great extra to have.
  3. Straws – My friend, who is also a doula, told me this is one of the top three things she brings in her bag for her clients and I’m stunned I never thought of this myself. Sure, you might be able to get straws from the birthing center or hospital, but if it’s already in your bag, that’s one less thing you need to ask for. It’s so much easier to use a straw when you’re in a lot of pain, too!
  4. Distractions for labor – This could include coloring books, a birthing playlist with a small speaker, a book or DVD, etc. Personally, this isn’t helpful for me because I like quiet when I’m focusing on my breathing, but some women swear by having things to distract them from the pain.
  5. A gift for the baby’s siblings – Another fun optional thing to bring with you to the birth center is a gift from the baby to its siblings. I packed a fun gift for Jude from Hattie that includes a “Little Sister Protection Squad” shirt, some big brother books, coloring books, and smaller toys. I’m hoping this avoids any jealousy he might have when everyone is gushing over the new babe.

While these cover all the things in my birth bag, don’t forget that your significant other will want to pack a bag for themselves too. This should include items like snacks, a water bottle, extra clothes, bathing suit (if getting in the birthing tub with you), toothbrush/toothpaste, and any other comfort items. If you end up at the hospital, having your own pillow is always nice, but not a must-have.


birth bag


It’s also important to note that you should have a diaper bag already packed for baby with the essential diapering items, and their car seat should be properly installed. Many of the midwives at baby+co. have stressed to me that you should have the car seat installed as early as possible. Many women go into labor in the middle of the night and you don’t want to have to install a car seat in the dark at 3am. Being overly-prepared is NOT a bad thing.

I hope this list helps you prepare your birth center bag. While what you’d bring to a birth center varies slightly from what you’d bring to a hospital birth, I think it’s important to be prepared for either outcome, in the case there are complications or you decide you need the pain medication and transfer to the hospital. You’ll be glad you’re so prepared!

If you’re interested in a more holistic approach to your prenatal care and delivery, even if you’re unsure, taking a tour of baby+co. can really provide some insight into how the care differs, and how you’ll feel being supported through your pregnancy journey.