My due date's almost here -- what should I bring to the hospital in my bag?

My due date’s almost here -- what should I bring to the hospital in my bag?

Question:

Pack wisely and you’ll be that much calmer on the big day. Don’t overdo it -- you can always have your partner dash to the drugstore or to the hospital’s shop in the lobby for anything you’ve forgotten. Here are the essentials you’ll need:

  • Birth plan, hospital paperwork, your insurance card and forms. Put these papers in a folder or large manila envelope so they’ll be organized in one spot. If you plan to bank your baby’s cord blood, add in the cord-blood kit information, too.
  • Slippers or thick socks -- a must for freezing hospital linoleum!
  • Nightgowns or PJs and a robe (if you plan to nurse, bring button-front ones). The hospital will give you a gown (if you can call it that!) to labor in, but once the hard work is over, you’ll want to slip into your own cozy jammies.
  • Gum, lollipops, Altoids, gummy bears -- just a little something to suck on and help keep your mouth moist. There’s not a lot of noshing during labor, of course, but pack a few snacks for before and after (and for your DH!). Think portable and non-perishable: granola bars, peanut butter crackers, apples, etc.
  • Lip balm and hand lotion -- because chapped, dry skin is a fact of life in a sterile setting. Bring the good stuff from your nightstand and a yummy flavor for your lips.
  • Toiletries. All the basics -- toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash or soap, makeup, your glasses and saline solution.      
  • Heating pad. Scented oil. A neck pillow. Or anything that will put you in a calming mood or be of comfort.
  • Baby book or journal. You may not feel like jotting down your thoughts, but it’s nice to have it with you in case you are inspired. You could ask to have the baby’s footprints stamped on a page or your fav nurse could write a comment or note.
  • Digital camera, video camera -- or just take a few early snaps with your smartphone. You’ll have many days at home to document your teeny tot, so don’t feel like you have to capture every diaper change in the hospital.       
  • Cell phone, iPOD, and both chargers. You’ll want to zone out to some tunes and/or gab with your mom, sister, and friends. You can also use the clock or stopwatch feature on your phone to time your contractions. 
  • Fashion mags, crossword puzzles, a novel or anything to keep your mind busy. You could be waiting around a bit while paperwork is processed or, if you end up with a C-section, you’ll have a few extra days to fill in the hospital.     
  • Nursing bras and pads, if you plan to breastfeed, and a few pairs of panties. Choose your least loved ones as you’ll be sporting a maxi pad after delivery (you’ll need maximum coverage, so no thongs!).       
  • Note cards and address book -- but only if you’re in the hospital for a C-section and only if you think you’ll actually pen a few. The hospital is really about recovery; don’t push yourself to get those thank-yous in the mail.     
  •  A going-home outfit for you and the baby. Choose something soft and forgiving like stretchy yoga pants and a tunic top for yourself. Pack your favorite shower gift for your new babe as well as a receiving blanket, little sweater and cap, depending on the weather.
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