Preparing for Labor

Packing for the Hospital

When preparing for labor, it's important that you check with the hospital where you expect to deliver the baby to see what their policies are regarding new mothers. Some hospitals discharge healthy mothers with healthy babies a couple hours after the delivery is complete and instruct them to come back for important medical tests within 24 hours, while others will keep you overnight if they have the bed space. What you'll need to bring depends on the capacity of the hospital as well as the provisions of your health insurance policy. Be sure to check to see what's covered, what isn't and how long you'll be away from home before packing.


If you're preparing for labor, print and use this checklist before you pack for the hospital!

  • 2 nursing bras (if nursing)
  • nursing pads (whether you intend to nurse or not!)
  • maternity pads with wings
  • 3-4 pairs of cotton undies
  • maternity outfit to wear home (you'll still be swollen)
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • slippers
  • toothbrush & toothpaste
  • facial cleansers and special soaps
  • hair brush, blow dryer
  • make up and lip balm
  • picture of spouse and any other children
  • daddy snacks (non-perishable)
  • film & camera
  • portable cd player with headphones (don't use headphones when baby is in the room)
  • magazine or book (bring one for your spouse)
  • bottle of non-alcoholic champagne
  • personal address book with phone numbers

Preparing Your Baby Bag for Labor

When you're preparing for labor, you should also pack items the newborn will need in his or her first few days of life:

  • going home outfit for you and baby
  • sweater or snowsuit (depending on season)
  • baby cap or hat
  • infant car seat
  • booties or socks
  • mittens to keep baby from scratching face
  • a few diapers
  • gentle baby wipes