Packing for Birth - A Doulas Advice

If you are in your third trimester, chances are you're wondering what you should pack for the hospital! There are lots of lists and ideas out there but here are some of my favorite recommendations.

My best tip for parents packing their bags is to pack in more than one bag. I recommend packing a Labor and Delivery bag and a Postpartum Bag. This helps reduce the amount of stuff you are hauling in while you're in labor. It also makes it easier to find that tiny tube of chapstick you really want but your partner can't find based on you directions between contractions (but don't worry, as your Doula - I've got you covered with an extra tube of chapstick!)

What you pack really depends on your personality. Moms show up with a couple of these items while others show up with this plus so much more! Do what makes you feel comfortable!

PACKING FOr Labor and delivery

For mom:

  • Birth plan: You should have the copy your provider has signed off on plus 2 more copies (one for your chart, one for nursery and one to hang in your L&D room)
  • Birth Affirmations (for my doula clients, pack these along with your birth plan in your booklet I gave you for me to quickly access in triage to hang up around the delivery room!)
  • Flip Flops (that you don't mind getting wet in the shower)
  • Your own pillow (in double pillow cases to keep it clean): labor and delivery beds aren't comfortable, this can help some.
  • Echinacea tincture or vitamin C for immune support
  • Chapstick
  • Suckers or your favorite candy to suck on
  • Snacks or honey if your food intake is restricted in the hospital
  • Hair ties
  • Toothbrush
  • A labor gown if you want to wear your own clothes
  • packing supplies and a cooler for your placenta if you plan on keeping it
  • Swim top or extra sports bra if you would like to have something on in the tub/shower
  • Unopened bottle of Olive Oil for perineal massage (if this is something you want, we can talk more about this with birth plans and ask your provider if this is something they routinely do and if so what do they use? Many hospitals only provide a jelly lubricant)
  • Relaxation Materials - music, essential oils and diffusers, birth ball, rebozo, massage oil and tools. (For doula clients, I've got you covered! We will talk about what's in my bag at your prenatal appointment.)
  • Depends Underwear - either your water has broken or it will break, this will contain the leaking!

for your partner:

  • Jacket - it gets cold and mom usually prefers this, labor is hard work!
  • Toiletries - labor may be long, you'll want to freshen up! (my client's husband most forgotten thing? toothbrush and paste!)
  • Swim trunks
  • change of clothes
  • snacks and money for cafeteria
  • cell phone and chargers
  • camera

packing for postpartum:

  • Pillow for Dad
  • 2 sets of clothes for Dad
  • 2 pair comfortable pajamas with nursing access
  • robe
  • nursing bra
  • breast pads
  • comfortable going home clothes (you will likely be the size you were at 6 months pregnant)
  • Toiletries (I recommend splurging on nice or fun shower stuff, nothing feels better than the first shower postpartum, treat yourself - you deserve it!)
  • Depends Underwear (these are great postpartum at home or if you don't like the hospital mesh underwear.)

packing for baby:

  • coconut oil (this is actually for mom and baby - it makes a great nipple cream, healthier than lanolin and makes wiping meconium off baby's bottom so much easier!)
  • blanket
  • newborn clothes
  • diapers if you prefer cloth, the hospital will provide disposable if that is your preference
  • infant car seat
  • baby book for footprints

if you are birthing at a birth center -

If you are birthing out of hospital at a birth center, you should also consider what you are going to eat after baby comes. You need something hearty with protein! A frozen casserole that you pop in the oven as soon as you get to the birth center is a great idea that works for any time of the day (just make sure it gets put in the oven so you don't have to wait on it!)! Crock pot soups are another great option.

Different birth centers ask you to bring different things, you may also need to bring items like a fish net or certain delivery supplies. You will likely get a packing list around 36 weeks - just make sure to check it closely!


A note for families delivering at Denton Presbyterian Hospital or Flower Mound Presbyterian Hospital. The cafeteria closes at 7:30 and after hours there aren't many options for food (cold cut sandwiches and chips etc) so you may want to pack some good snacks for Dad and Mom after the birth! Depending on when you give birth there are options outside of the hospital but the choices are slim late at night!

If you aren't birthing in Denton or Flower Mound, call your hospital or ask on your Labor and Delivery tour what the cafeteria hours are, they can be unusual, especially on weekends!


Rebekah Lewis is a certified birth doula serving families in Dallas, Fort Worth Texas including Denton, Fort Worth, Keller, Lewisville, Flower Mound, McKinney, Allen, Frisco, Prosper, Aubrey and the surrounding areas.