Serving the whole birthing mother and family.

Hey Mama

Some thoughts, feels, and laughs about this pregnancy, birthing, and mommying thing. Let's work on thriving together.


Hey mamas! So one of the biggest post requests I get is for a birth packing list! This list will work either way whether you’re having your baby at a birth center or hospital. For a home birth, the list looks pretty different, and your midwife should tell you a list of supplies you’ll need at the ready. :) Even with a home birth, however, I do recommend having a bag of things ready in the case of a hospital transfer, so you’re not left without some necessities! If you want a handy dandy printable version of this list, download below :)


I like using a two bag system- packing two small bags versus one giant bag you have to lug everywhere. I do one bag for mama while labor is happening and one bag for mama in the car for postpartum recovery, to be switched out with the birth bag after the baby is born. Dad’s stuff can go into mama’s bags, or he can pack one of his own! Totes his choice.

If you’re giving birth at a birth center, you won’t be having as long of a postpartum stay, so you may be able to condense and do just one bag!




-in the car for you to sit on during the ride to the hospital. You never know what kinda fluid is gonna escape en route. Or, you could be like my friend Katie ;)

Mama's Clothes

-cottony dress, nursing tank, a gown if you want one, bikini for the shower or tub, nursing bra or sports bra (I often tell mamas to wear an icky old one you’re cool with having it get cut off at the end for baby to go on your chest, so you don’t have to deal with it being taken off while pushing)

Birth/Exercise ball

-if you’re at a birth center or at a hospital that already has these in stock, you can leave this guy at home. Either way, I strongly recommend having one for use during pregnancy and early labor!

* if you use this during labor, you can go ahead and stick it back in the car after the baby is born along with your birth bag :) *



Sock with 2 tennis balls for back massage

Microwaveable Rice Heat Pack 

-here’s a tutorial to make your own!

Drinks + bendy straws 

-the hospital will have drinks + straws but sometimes it’s nice to have your stuff on hand so you don’t have to wait for a nurse to get to you. Also the hospital will not have coconut water, which is super beneficial to have a natural sugar boost and tons of electrolytes!


-Think plain, quick, and simple. Bars with lots of protein, natural sugar, and not too out there taste wise will be great. You never know what tastes you’ll have an aversion to during labor, so you’ll want to leave space for you to not like strong flavors. I also like to bring gummies and honey sticks as they count as a “clear liquid” for a quick calorie boost! It’s also nice to pack a snack to look forward to at the end while you’re waiting to head to recovery. Think something you’ll enjoy. I personally had cookies :)


Hair twisties/headband/bobby pins

Daddy’s clothes 

-sweatpants, shirts, boxers, shorts, socks, sweatshirt-hospitals get COLD!

Essential oils + cotton balls

-wild orange: energy boost, perfect right before pushing

-peppermint: nausea

-lavender: soothing and relaxation

-Why the cotton balls? I NEVER recommend to moms to use a diffuser in their labor room. A scent you may LOVE now can have the completely opposite effect during labor. I remember when I was in labor with my first son I had my husband open the bottle of lavender oil and immediately thought I was going to vomit everywhere. I started screaming at him to close it and he was terrified lol! If it’s on a cotton ball, you can easily put it by your face to get the aromatherapy benefits, but if something changes and it’s not working anymore, you can easily make it disappear quickly!

Coconut oil for perineum + massage

-in SEPARATE containers

* you want these in separate containers, for pretty obvious reasons lol… basically, you don’t want the same oil on your back as your hoohaw. That’s cross contamination infection city. Also, I use coconut oil for massage because it’s unscented and non toxic, so when your baby touches your skin later it’s harmless :) *

Phone chargers (2)

Water bottles


Birth plan copies

-I usually have around 6

Copy of important numbers

-or make sure they’re in your partner’s phone

Notebook + pen


Wallets with insurance cards and ID


Car Keys

-important! For my second son’s birth we left them in the diaper bag I sent to my mother-in-law’s house with him. OOPS.

Twinkle Lights and/or LED candles

-out of all my tools, these are my absolute favorite thing I have in my doula bag! The FIRST thing I do when I head into a hospital room is turn off all the lights and put these babies on. Those awful fluorescent lights are a fast track to shutting down oxytocin production and stalling labor. Dim lighting encourages not only rest, but also is a big clue to people coming into the space to be Q-U-I-E-T. All these factors are little things that add to a more peaceful birthing space for mama.

* here’s a link for some cheap LED candles, and twinkle lights you can find at the dollar store, walmart, or Amazon! *

Laptop, iPad, iPod, etc + charger

-for playing your playlist if you have one



Makeup bag

Face wash

Nursing bras 

-COZY is key. I LOVE these.





Hair twisties/headband/bobby pins

Copy of important numbers

-or just make sure they’re in your partner’s phone! :)

Notebook + pen

-I like to have these on hand for journaling, jotting down details for your birth story, any questions you want to remember, etc.


Wallets with insurance cards and ID



-you can never have enough of these! The hospital and friends/family will bring you plenty of meals, but as your milk prepares to come in most likely you’ll be plenty hungry at inconvenient times! Also, hospitals do not typically provide your partner with meals, so I also suggest packing snacks to keep them fed :)

Mama’s clothes

-This will depend on what season it is when you give birth! Both of my babies were born in the middle of summer, so in the hospital I just wore a nursing tank, cardigan, and the postpartum undies with socks. I left in those and yoga pants. If it was winter, I might have needed a little more layers. But all in all, the idea is comfy, stretchy, and stain-able. :) For example: sweater/soft cardigan, nursing tanks, sweats, shorts, socks, underwear, cottony dress, comfy shirt

Daddy’s clothes 

-sweatpants, shirts, boxers, shorts, socks, sweatshirt-hospitals get COLD!

Baby Soap 

-the hospital will have Johnson & Johnson most likely, so if you’d like to use something different bring your own, or wait until later for a bath! :)

Swaddle blanket

-these are my favorite! 

Any special items you’d like to take pictures with in the hospital

Going home outfit 

-while gowns are superrrr precious, they’re pretty impractical with a car seat. I learned this the hard way! 

Carseat and newborn insert

-having trouble choosing a carseat? Car Seats For the Littles has a super helpful function on their website for car seat comparison! Hit the "Compare button" then select your country and the type of seat you're looking for :)


-if you’d prefer not to use one, leave this behind :)


And that’s about all! You really don’t need to bring your house with you. ;) Also, you might have noticed I have like 6 things for baby on here. The hospital literally has everything you’ll need for newborn care. Personally I don’t love nursing pillows, Boppy’s, etc. because it’s a LOT of pillow for a very tiny baby. The hospital has plenty of pillows if you want to prop your arm up for awhile, and then you’re not stuck carrying around a giant nursing pillow! No matter what, whether you forget your keys at home, throw up all over your pretty labor gown, or your water breaks all over your car seat, you are everything you need to give birth and everything your baby needs to be born. You've got this.

Betsy Finchum