Baby’s Coming! Birth Bag Must Haves

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pregnant person packing their birth bag

From the time you find out you’re pregnant, you’re inundated with information about what you need for your baby. You’re always hearing about the latest baby gadgets, and what you should put on your registry from friends, relatives, and advertisers. As you come closer to your due date, your thoughts will focus more on bringing your baby into the world. You’ll be making decisions about where you want to have your baby, working through your preferences for the birthing experience, choosing names, and a whole host of other things. Eventually you’ll come to the point of packing your “birth bag”. Your baby’s coming! What are some birth bag must haves? There are some things that you’ll benefit from having on hand before during and after your birth, regardless of where you’re planning to have your baby . Over the years, National Capital Doulas has supported hundreds of clients like you, and we’ve put together a handy cheat sheet to help you out.

Birth Bag Must Haves For You

  • flip flops
  • lip balm
  • hair tie(s)
  • comfortable clothes (Bring clothing that has a looser fit, is darkly coloured and easily laundered, particularly if you’re planning to wear your own clothes through labour.)
  • nursing tanks
  • small toiletries bag (deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brush, travel shampoo/conditioner, travel soap, brush, mouthwash, etc)
  • Depends
  • reusable water bottle
  • OHIP card
  • nursing pillow (If you plan to use one it can help to bring it with you. Leave it in the car until after your baby is born.)

Birth Bag Must Haves For Your Birth Partner

  • comfortable clothes and shoes
  • bathing suit (In the event your physical support is needed in the tub.)
  • camera
  • toiletries (see above)
  • reusable water bottle
  • wallet and ID
  • contact list of people you want to notify or update during and after birth
  • zipper hoodie for skin to skin time with baby

Birth Bag Must Haves For Baby

  • newborn diapers
  • going home outfit
  • sleepers (3)
  • couple receiving blankets
  • oil (coconut, grapeseed or flaxseed) for baby bum. This is genius for keeping those meconium poops from hopelessly sticking.
  • wipes or little facecloths for wiping little bums

General Handy Things

  • snacks for self and birth partner (Just a few will do, especially if you have dietary concerns or are of a pickier nature. Some hospitals have very limited food options off hours and typically food available on the birthing units is for the birthing person only, not partners and support people.)
  • pillow (Leave this in the car until needed and make sure it’s in a brightly coloured or patterned case.)
  • music
  • comfort items (Magic Bag, massager, TENS Unit, LED tea lights, eye mask, etc)
  • distraction items (Bring books or devices to binge on your fave Netflix in the event of an inpatient induction.)
  • install your carseat properly well in advance (Be sure to visit a Seats for Kids clinic for peace of mind.)
  • keep your car’s gas tank topped up in the final weeks, just in case
  • leave a couple “puppy piddle pads” in your glove compartment (These are fantastic for protecting your upholstery if membranes release before or on the way to the birth place.)
  • bowl/bucket/bag (If you’re feeling nauseated during labour have something for the car ride just in case.)

If you have them, wheeled suitcases make for great birth bags. We suggest packing two smaller bags rather than one large one. Pack one with items you’ll need during the birth and shortly after, and a second with things you won’t require until after your baby has been born. The second bag and other sundry items (nursing pillow, etc) can be left in your car until needed. There may be items personal to you that aren’t listed above – like medications or perhaps you’ve opted to privately bank your baby’s cord blood so you need to bring the kit. This list will see you through your baby’s birth and the earliest days with some of the commonly used birth bag must haves.

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