There are a lot of articles out there dedicated to lists of things to bring to the hospital with you when you go into labor. When I gave birth to my daughter I consulted numerous such lists, and inevitably ended up packing for an extended Caribbean cruise as opposed to a 48 hour hospital stay. As my son’s due date approaches I have comprised a list of things I actually needed and used the first time around. Some of the items on this list seem obvious, which causes them to be often overlooked.Also, packing in advance and putting the suitcase in the closet for future use prevents a lot of last minute panicking. However, some of the items on this list will not be packable until you are ready to leave for the hospital, so having a list out for a last minute check can be helpful. I remember having mine taped to my front door, reminding me of any minute items that needed to be grabbed as we rush out the door.
Robe – your doctor will most likely tell you to take a stroll down the hall a few times a day. Most hospitals run cold, and you also may not be dressed appropriately to step out in public (not that you would want to be).
Pajamas or night gown – I preferred a night gown. Made everything much easier.
Slippers – something easy to slip on and off without too much struggling.
Underwear – you can never over pack on these. You will go through several pairs per day, so take along as many as you like. No thongs or itsy bitsy ones. If there was ever a time for the granny panty, this is it.
Bra – regular bra and/or nursing bras will be helpful.
Nursing pads – whether you plan on nursing or not, these will come in handy in the first few days to protect against any unwanted leakage (as if leakage was ever wanted).
Sanitary napkins – the high absorbency kind are best at this stage. Panty liners come later.
Tooth brush/tooth paste
Soap – the stuff they provide at the hospital is not usually that good and it does not smell very nice either.
Shampoo/Conditioner – nothing will feel as good as your first shower after giving birth. Cleanliness takes on a whole new meaning.
Nipple cream – in case your little one is more aggressive than you anticipated.
Make up – you will have hoards of people coming to visit you, so if you are anything like me, you want to look presentable when they pop in to see how you are doing.
Glasses/saline solution – they say you should not wear contacts when giving birth. Well, taking them out was not on my priority list as I was in labor, and the thought completely escaped me until the next day. So, bring some eye drops, saline solution, and/or glasses with you.
Ipod/electronic device – there will be many hours of nothingness where you will want to keep yourself entertained to some degree. Bring music, a Kindle, Nintendo DS, or whatever will sooth you.
Book/magazines – See above.
Cash – hospitals are not best known for their culinary skills. I was not terribly disappointed by the food provided, but it was nice to have a little extra cash to get some vending machine goodies in between meals.
Camera/battery/charger – you will want to take lots of pictures of your bundle of joy. Some of you may want to videotape as well. Make sure your battery is fully charged beforehand and bring your charger with you for any additional power you may need.
Cell phone/charger – even though your phone may be surgically attached to your palm, your charger may not be as accessible. You don’t want to be left with no battery life while you are trying to inform the world about the birth of your beautiful baby. Also, if you have phone numbers stored elsewhere outside your phone, bring those along as well.
Going home clothes for you – after you give birth you will still look about five to six months pregnant, so bring along a comfortable, loose fitting outfit to wear home. Skip the jeans, you won’t be ready for those quite yet, nor will they feel very comfortable at this time (even if they are maternity jeans).
Going home clothes for baby – depending on what season you are giving birth, pack an outfit for baby, and don’t forget the booties and beanie since itsy bitsy babies get cold faster.
Insurance information/hospital preregistration – whether or not you are preregistered with the hospital, you will need your insurance information. I keep mine in my wallet at all times, but for those of you who don’t, pack it safely in your bag in an easily accessible place (burying it at the bottom of all of your other necessities might seem safe, but you will regret it when you are digging through your suitcase while having constant contractions and wanting nothing more than to lay down).
Birthing plan – if you have one, make sure you bring it to the hospital with you.
Infant car seat – you will not be allowed to leave the hospital without one.
What are some of your big day essentials?