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8 Things to Pack for Your Baby’s Birth

By Stacey Feintuch
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
January 09, 2023

Before any big life event, we all want to be prepared, with the proper gear in place. Giving birth is no exception. But how can someone who has never been in labor before know what they might need on the big day?

Before anything else, start with the hospital bag itself. “Some people pack like they’re on a European vacation. I’ve seen garbage bags. And some come in with literally just their pocketbook,” says Melissa Kotlen, a registered nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital, in New York City. She recommends using a roller bag duffel that you can tuck into a narrow hospital closet if needed. Kotlen also advises that luxury luggage probably isn’t the best call. It’s common for things to get messy, she explains.

When to Start Packing Your Hospital Bag

Have your hospital bag packed by week 38, or as early as week 36 if you’re feeling up to it, suggests Kotlen. About 57% of births happen between weeks 39 and 40. What’s key, of course, is having the packed bag ready to go at a moment’s notice, so you’re not rushing to pack when it’s time to get to the hospital.