10 Essentials for Labor and Delivery

Parenthood Experiences

By: Kelly Sutton

Nesting can be one of the most drawn out, boring, yet productive times of one’s pregnancy.  During the third trimester, the parent(s) are trying to make sure everything is in order before the big L.D. – LABOR & DELIVERY.

Since this is my second time around, I’ve weeded out and added in several essentials that I deem important before the joyous L.D. comes by surprise (or for some, scheduled to commence).

My Essential L.D. List

1. List of who/when to contact – including a sleepover plan for current kid(s).

Hospital approved list: This is a list of people that we’d like to come to the hospital upon the baby’s arrival. Some people want a number of people laboring with them, therefore those people would meet you at the hospital right away. For us, my partner and I prefer to labor alone. We will have a short list of those who can come to the hospital after the baby has arrived; for us, it’s our family. The reason why we decided to go with a short list for the second pregnancy is because we had too many visitors for our first child and we (including the baby) didn’t get to rest/sleep. We decided to own our experience and not let others pressure us into fulfilling their needs/wants over our own needs/wants.

Return home list: This is a list of people we will contact and let know we are in labor, when we’ve delivered, but would like for them to come to our home as soon as possible to visit. For us, these people are still special because we are giving a personal invitation to come over. The return home list allows us to breathe and take on visitors in shifts as opposed to all at once. I literally scheduled out our company in two hour blocks of time in order for everyone to get individualized attention and bonding time.

– Sleepover Plan: If you have children under the age of five or if you prefer not to have your children a part of L.D., then a preset sleepover plan needs to be established. Our son is 2.5 years old, therefore this plan is mandatory.  If I go into labor during the day, I have three households ready to take him in. I’d drop him off with his sleepover bag of clothes, toiletries, and bedtime routine comforts. If I go into labor during the night, I would call the “on-call” household that is free to come sleep at our home and not disturb my son’s sleep. In the morning, they’d wake up with him and hang out with him until it’s time to come to the hospital.

2. Meal Train or Pre-Stocked freezer/pantry with pre-made meals or organized, easy to assemble meals. Even purchasing disposable plates, bowls, utensils, and cups can save your sanity with cleaning/washing dishes. I went to Costco, spent $50 on meat, $20 on vegetables, $10 on starches, and $10 on freezer bags. With less than $100, we have 25 –  30 organized, easy to assemble meals. Meal Trains can be organized by yourself or a friend with a collection of email addresses. You can list your dietary restrictions and specify what days you’d like guests to bring the meals and visit the baby.

3. Thorough, deep cleaning of the home and (maybe) try to have majority of the laundry clean.

-banisters, walls, and trim

-dusting (pictures, shelves, ceiling fans, etc.)

-water filter/tray




4. Hospital BAGS – including the current kids’ sleepover bag(s).  The first pregnancy I packed all of our needs into our diaper bag. The second time around, I learned to pack the baby’s bag, me/my husband’s bag, and my son’s bag SEPARATELY. In the baby’s bag I made sure I prepared for both the hospital pictures and the go-home outfit. In my bag, I still packed myself maternity clothes because body parts are loose the abdomen does not go down for a while (days). In my son’s bag, I packed his essentials, plus a birthday gift for the incoming baby.  My son picked out the gift in order to take ownership in welcoming the baby.

Don’t forget the day-of essentials:

– phone charger

– contacts/solution/glasses

– tooth paste/brush

– makeup (if you wear want to wear it)

5. Self Care – Go get a pedicure, manicure, hair (done or cut) – trust me, it will be a while before those things are priorities again! Go for a few, quiet walks by yourself. Read that book you’ve been desiring to read. Hang out with some friends and have a good time.

6. Car seat strapped in the vehicle and ready to roll. Remember, the first one or two years (depending on the size of the child), the car seat is suppose to face backwards.

7. System to store breast milk. Order a breast pump through your insurance. Usually your doctor’s office offers some type of free breast feeding class.

8. “Wrap it up” via baby carrier. I purchased the moby wrap for my first pregnancy and loved it! It’s A LOT of fabric lol, but the baby is so closely bundled to my body that no one attempts to touch or take the baby without asking permission. Having a newborn can be stressful. Then on top of that, as parents, we have to work with the world around us – Reminding others to wash their hands, to keep their kisses to themselves, and to not put fingers in a newborn’s face can get plain annoying. So I say – WRAP IT UP! Whether it’s the moby wrap or some type of baby carrier, purchase one a head of time and have it ready, especially for the newborn weeks.

9. SLEEP – Everything within me wants to make sure everything is ready for the baby to come into this world, BUT have other mothers noticed that your body automatically slips back into fatigue… just like first trimester! Whether you’re he mother or father, you will NEED the energy for the process of labor and delivery. Try an earlier bedtime or a daytime nap to build your energy. Eat balanced, consistent meals to sustain your energy. Lots of adrenaline is used during labor and delivery and even a few hours after delivery, but 9/10 times there will be a period of exhaustion. Sleep while you can.

10. Exercise – Walk, dancing, yoga, sex, and stretching are beneficial to naturally inducing labor AND recovering after delivery. Regular exercise during pregnancy helps your body heal quicker during recovery. I am a faithful walker, whether it was at a park, around the park, or strategically walking up and down the stairs at my house. I also enjoy dancing – which is one of my strategies for working through labor. Turning on some music and dancing it out totally works lol!


Labor and delivery is a beautiful process of bringing new life into this world. I hope your experience goes well.

If you have anymore essentials, please share in the comments; we’d love to hear from you.


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