Birth Center/ Hospital Bag Checklist

It’s a long story for another time, but for my first birth, I found myself packing my hospital bag when I was already days into labor with Ember and needed to get there quick. Needless to say, I didn’t have everything with me that I planned on having that first day Em was born. So this time around, I started working on my birth center bag at 30 weeks! I think I packed somewhat minimally, with (mostly) essentials. I made sure to bring beautiful, loved items that are high quality, and will serve specific purposes (no bag clutter). But I also threw in some non-essential extras, because I know they’ll make me happy! Below, I’ve laid it all out in a birth center/hospital bag checklist, so that if you plan on giving birth soon (at a birth center, hospital, or even at home), you can hopefully use it too! It looks like a lot, but it all amounts to just 1 duffel bag (for me and the baby), and 2 backpacks (1 for my husband, 1 for my toddler)

This post goes hand in hand with my Pregnancy Care & Labor Prep post! I hope you find it useful!

Clothing for Labor & Postpartum

I have only had Summer time births, so my robe, nightie, tops, etc. are all light. If this were a Winter birth, I would likely want to include sweats, a cozy loose long sleeve or sweater, or maybe some warm slippers in my hospital bag.

  • Bralette or Bathing Suit Top. For Laboring in the water.
  • Big baggy comfy T Shirt. For comfort and/or coverage during labor.
  • Light Robe. Labor or postpartum
  • Light Nightie. Labor or postpartum
  • Comfy Cotton Shorts. Labor or postpartum
  • Post Partum Panties
  • Nursing Bra
  • 1 Pair of Comfy Socks
  • Loose, Comfy PJs. Postpartum.
  • Nursing Cami. Postpartum or to wear Home.
  • Comfy leggings. To wear Home.
  • Flip Flops. Because always.


  • Travel Size Shower Pack: Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, Loofah. The hospital usually provides most of these things but I like to have my own natural products which make me feel better! I KNOW I will want a Loofah to scrub my skin because it revives me, but it isn’t necessary. A Razor is also NOT necessary!
  • Face Wash, Face Cream. I have some really nice samples I’ve been saving for my birth. If you can find really quality samples that you want to save for something special, they will make you feel pampered and save space in your bag!
  • Makeup Essentials Bag. NOT Essential. I am bringing just some concealer, lip balm, and mascara for postpartum pictures, If I’m feeling up to taking pictures. If you don’t want makeup with you, don’t bring any!
  • Natural Deodorant
  • Travel Size Hand Cream
  • Travel Toothbrush, Toothpaste
  • Allergy Products. I have to bring my eye drops, nasal spray, and inhaler with me always, just in case.
  • Hair Brush
  • A few Rubberbands & cotton Headband! Essential! You don’t want to be in labor and unable to pull your hair out of your face!

Postpartum Essentials

  • Chapstick
  • Nipple Butter
  • Belly Oil
  • Bottom Wash or Spray
  • Essential Oil. I am bringing Lemon Balm because it makes me calm, happy, and hopeful. Many birth centers have oils on hand anyway for a host of assistance during labor.
  • Sitzbath Herbs. Not Essential! Most birth venues have a Sitzbath for use, which allow you to dip/soak/ cleanse the birth area. I am bringing herbs which will help promote pain relief, healing, and restoration of this area.
  • Liquid Bliss Tincture. Not Essential! This stuff makes me feel so good, I just want to have it with me postpartum.
  • Makeup Remover Wipes. I don’t usually use these but want them with me postpartum for convenience. I’m sure there will be sweat, tears, and general grossness without wanting to walk to a sink.

Electronic “Essentials”

Obviously NONE of these things are essential! But, every mama is different. For me, I want to be able to capture photos of my labor and my newborn, possibly edit and/or post them, etc. I also want to be able to access birth playlists electronically. Do whatever is right for you.

  • Laptop & charger
  • Phone & charger
  • Camera, Battery, SD card
  • Headphones

For Baby

Again, Summertime Birth. I like to barely clothe my babies anyway and keep them so minimal just after birth, but my experience as a so Cal mama who births in Summer makes it easy. If it were a Winter birth or cold climate, I’d probably also bring a couple of long sleeve onesies, a pair of comfy little pants, an extra pair of socks, and a warm blanket, and just maybe… a little hat in my hospital bag.

hospital bag birth center bag birth newborn checklist
  • 2 Organic T-Shirt onesies
  • 1 pair of socks
  • 1 pair of mittens. I don’t typically like putting these on, but I don’t think i’ll want to clip nails so early, and just in case baby is prone to scratching….
  • My OWN diapers and wipes. I like to use my own natural selections, which I cannot count on my birth center having. I prefer Seventh Generation diapers, and have been recently very impressed with the new Hello Bello brand wet wipes.
  • Light Muslin Blanket. Essential! I love these. I love everything about them. Its perfect to hold over mama and baby skin to skin, use as nursing coverage, to lay the baby on top of, or lightly cover in a summer breeze. So perfect for warm weather.
  • Carseat Cover. Essential to me! When we leave to take baby home, the walk (through the hospital) and to the car (in the hot sun) means I want coverage for our newborn!
  • Cute Swaddle Headband Set. Not Essential! I just really wanted one for newborn pictures…

For the Toddler

I know its not for everyone, but we plan for our 3 year old to be a part of this whole process and be there with us the whole time (we’ll see). So, I packed her own hospital bag with a few items in advance, so that when its time, we can just get up and go.

  • A comfy outfit
  • Clean underwear, socks
  • PJs
  • Travel toothbrush/toothpaste
  • 1 photo ready outfit for some pics with her new baby sister! Not Essential, but….
  • Non perishable snacks. Essential!
  • Easy Toys. By easy, I mean not bulky, not a lot of loose parts, NOT LOUD, and VERY versatile. I am bringing her a bag of balloons to blow up with her grandma because they keep her entertained for hours, some dough to squish around, a doll, and a journal with markers.

For the Husband

This is silly, I know. But my husband WILL NOT pack in advance, and I KNOW him well enough to know that he will WAIT until I go into labor before grabbing himself EVEN ONE SINGLE ITEM. Not happening. So I grabbed him some stuff in advance and set it aside.

  • Travel Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Clean Shirt & Undershirt
  • Clean Shorts
  • Underwear
  • Sweatshirt. In case I want the labor room super cold.

Well, that’s everything! Maybe by the time you’re reading this, I’ll be a Mama of 2! If there’s something I missed, or something you LOVE to have on hand during your births, comment below!

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