When we headed to the hospital to have Toby, our first child, we packed an ENORMOUS bag of stuff. A tennis ball for massages, tons of snacks, even a movie! (No movies were watched.) A few years later, when we had Anton, everything happened so quickly and I basically grabbed a toothbrush. So, I’m really curious what other people liked packing. My friend Allison brought her childhood teddy bear for comfort, which is so sweet. Here are a few other ideas…


Playlists! The best, and unintended, part about that was that each of our kids has a special song that they were born to. We may have put more thought into the lists if we had known how much we would talk about those songs. — Rony

Birkenstocks are a labor lifesaver. You need to walk before, during and after giving birth. They feel so good. — Jean

This is a totally South African thing, but many of my friends and acquaintances (and local baby experts and midwives) recommend taking ​a big bottle of homemade “Jungle Juice” to the hospital. It apparently boosts your breast milk supply. ​​The main ingredient is Blackthorn Elixir, a tonic that helps restore your body’s energy reserves. — Diana Moss

The only thing I remember bringing was my own pillow since I’m a sleep diva. If I’m only going to sleep in fifteen-minute shifts, I’ll do it on 100% goose down! — Linsey

I regretted not bringing lip balm because labor breathing really chapped my lips. — Steph

Coconut water. Five sips between contractions. It was my husband’s job to provide that and he took it very seriously. — Sarah

The first time I brought a lot of stuff — nice nightgown, birthing ball, popsicles in about 50 flavors, an iPod with pre-programmed music, etc. The second time I brought almost nothing. I brought an empty bag so I could take home all that fabulous hospital swag: diapers, paper underwear, plastic bottles, nipple cream. — Lina

My friend Faith just had a baby, and she recommended this beauty water, which she said was a great refreshing pick-me-up in the hospital, so of course I ordered it immediately. — Anna

Miso soup packets! We took an amazing birth class, and the instructor recommended that we bring miso soup to refortify during a long labor. It seemed so random but we were obedient and followed her instructions. I wasn’t in the birth center for long before our daughter arrived, but I must have had ten cups of miso soup in the hours after giving birth. It was so salty and comforting and so much more palatable than hospital food. — Erin

We packed a bottle of Lambrusco, and my husband ran out to get H&H bagels and lox immediately after our daughter was born — best meal of my life. — Nicki

A big soft cardigan because hospitals can be weirdly cold but you need easy boob access. An eye mask because the room is never totally dark and people check on you all the damn time. And giant bottles of water and one-hand snacks that don’t smell or have crumbs — almonds, chocolate, berries… – Gemma

What about you? What little things made you feel comfortable and good? What would you recommend for other mothers? I’d love to hear…

P.S. What to register for your baby, and 8 confessions of a new dad.

(Photo of my bag before heading to the hospital.)