Getting Ready for Baby

Whether you’re a first-time parent or already have a little one, if you’re preparing to have a baby, it’s likely you’ll be gathering a bag of essentials to bring to the hospital for you and baby. UnityPoint Health – Meriter postpartum nurse (and soon-to-be fourth time birthing parent) Miranda Pickett shares what she plans to include in her bag as she heads to the delivery room.

For the birthing parent:

  • Toiletries (whatever you would use on an overnight trip)
  • Slippers and socks (these are great to slip on if your feet are swollen from pregnancy/birth)
  • Pajamas and a robe
  • Nursing or pumping bras
  • Nursing tank tops
  • Comfortable clothing to go home in
  • Phone charger with a long cord (outlets can sometimes be a good distance from the bed)
  • Any snacks or beverages you’ll want for your stay

For baby:

  • Car seat
  • Breastfeeding pillow (Pickett recommends one with a firmer side)
  • Portable sound machine to soothe baby to sleep (an app on your phone works great too)
  • Socks and booties for going home (socks can double as mittens as well)
  • Baby nail file
  • Swaddle and hat
  • Different sized clothing (newborn and a bit larger, depending on how big your baby is after birth) and clothing of different weights (so you can be prepared for the sometimes unpredictable Midwest weather)

What UnityPoint Health – Meriter can provide:

  • Basic toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste and necessities you may have forgotten)
  • Hair bonnets, combs and hair oils
  • Chapstick
  • Baby essentials (diapers, wipes, pacifiers, baby soap and Vaseline for circumcisions)
  • Feminine postpartum care products (pads and hygiene products)

Nice-to-haves (but not essential):

  • Bluetooth speaker and your favorite playlists
  • Diffuser (to give the room a calming atmosphere)
  • Portable fan
  • Pillows and bedding from home for extra comfort
  • Books, a tablet, a laptop and headphones

It’s also important to bring your ID, insurance cards and a copy of your birth plan (if you have something specific in mind) to share with your health care providers at the birthing center.

You’ll want to start thinking about packing your bag around the 36- to 37-week mark, just in case you go into labor before your due date. It’s okay to throw in some essentials (like your toothbrush) at the last minute, but you’ll want your bag mostly ready to grab and go.

UnityPoint Health – Meriter is the busiest birthing center in Wisconsin and has been helping families bring their little ones into the world for 120 years. In 2023, UnityPoint Health – Meriter saw over 5,000 births.

To learn more about UnityPoint Health – Meriter’s birthing center, pregnancy and newborn care, or to take a virtual tour of our birthing center, visit

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