Labor and Birthing Essentials: 24 Must-Haves

1. A nightgown, if desired -- Some women prefer to wear the hospital gown. If you do bring your own, and are nursing, wear one that opens easily.

2. Socks or slippers to keep your feet warm.

3. An extra pillow or two and a favorite blanket. Hospital bedding can be scarce.

4. Massage oil -- perhaps aromatherapy

5. Unopened olive oil for a perineal massage

6. Your favorite personal care items -- flavored lip gloss, makeup, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, hairbrush, deodorant and body lotion. Be prepared for the photo opportunities.

7. A focal point -- perhaps a photograph that comforts you.

8. Snacks -- Your labor partner may not get an opportunity to leave the room. Many hospitals will feed you, but not your partner. And don't forget some healthy snacks for you (in case the food is as bad as everyone warned).

9. CD player or iPod to play your favorite music.

10. Mindless reading material and/or a deck of cards -- just in case you are in for a long wait.

11. Baby name book if you are the last-minute type.

12. Champagne or non-alcoholic bubbly -- toast "To life!"

13. Your journal -- for recording all your special memories.

14. Camera -- with several rolls of indoor film if you're not using a digital camera. You may also want to bring a video camera with an extra battery pack. And don't forget a tripod. More than one proud papa has forgotten to take video in the midst of all the excitement.

15. Health insurance card and photo ID 

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