Your due date is coming up soon, which means it’s time to get packing for the trip to the Hospital or Birthing Center.
Have all the needed essentials for both baby and yourself prepared before leaving to the hospital. Make sure to have everything ready to go when you’re 8 months pregnant, since you could go into labor at any time in the weeks before your due date. Pack something comfortable and non-constricting for yourself in your hospital bag (something with a drawstring or elastic waist). You probably won’t be back to your pre-pregnancy shape for a little while after delivery.
For baby’s take home outfit, make sure the outfit will not overheat with too many layers unless it’s cold outside, in this case bring baby a warm snowsuit, hat and extra blankets/receiving blanket. Bring baby socks or booties if the clothing doesn’t have feet. Make sure your baby’s outfit has legs (is not a baby “gown,” for example) so the car seat strap can fit between them.
Bring baby nail clippers/emery board or baby mittens (baby socks work just as well on their little hands). Many newborns will have longer nails, so they can easily scratch their face and other parts of their bodies.
Make sure to bring all needed toiletries such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, a brush and comb, makeup, and a hair band or barrettes. Hospitals usually provide soap, shampoo, and lotion, but you might prefer your own.
Other items you may need are:
A picture ID (driver’s license or other ID), your insurance card, and any hospital paperwork you need.
Your birth plan, if you have one.
Bring some money (or credit card) for parking and vending machines. Sucking candies or lollipops are especially great for conquering dry mouth during labor. Snacks and drinks for the support person– Labor can be a long process, so you want to be prepared. This keeps the partner close by and can help avoid multiple trips to the hospital cafeteria.
Bring eyeglasses and contact lenses. You may not want to fuss with your contact lenses while you’re in the hospital or you may want to switch back and forth for comfort or convenience.
A bathrobe and nightgown or two, slippers, and socks as these may come in handy if you want to walk the halls during labor. Hospitals do provide you with gowns and socks to use during labor and afterward, but some women just feel more comfortable pr wearing their own. Choose a loose, comfortable gown that is easily accessible so that your blood pressure can be checked easily.
A bathing suit or sports bra (also something for your partner in case you want to take a bath or shower during labor). You may want your partner to get in with you to support you or rub your back. Many women find sports bra’s extremely useful during a water birth or when using the birth pool; they are also good for suppressing lactation if you are not planning on breast feeding.
Bring several pairs of maternity underpants, even though mesh underwear is usually provided by the hospital. Some women prefer their own cotton underpants. The hospital will provide sanitary pads as you’ll be bleeding after delivery but make sure you have a good supply of heavy-duty pads at home.
Make sure you have plenty of comfortable nursing bras or regular bras. Buy some nipple cream and bring it with you because whether or not you choose to breastfeed, your breasts are likely to be tender and swollen. When your milk comes in, which can happen anytime during the first several days after delivery you will need a good bra that can provide some comfort. Many women like to have breast pads which can be added to help absorb leaks when their milk comes in.
Consider bringing a nursing pillow which can be used whether your breast feeding or bottle feeding. This will reduce the strain on your arms, neck, and back when feeding your baby.
Bring something to help you relax like your own pillow, soothing music and something to play it on, a picture of someone or something you love like photos of your other children and anything else you find reassuring.
Massage oils for use during labor to help alleviate any back labor that may occur.
Bring a camera/video camera with batteries, charger, and memory card to film the big delivery. Some hospitals may not allow videotaping of the birth itself, but usually allow you to filming during labor and after the birth. Don’t forget to make sure your phone is fully charged if you plan on taking photos or video with it.
If you’ve been reading books on newborn care, you may want to bring this with you. Make sure to ask the nurses if you have questions on how to change, hold, nurse, and bathe your newborn if you need guidance.
Some parents bring gifts for the new baby to “give” to big brothers and sisters.
Bring a notepad/journal and pens/pencils to document your baby’s first days and any memories. You may also want write down questions you have for the nurse, or take notes what the pediatrician tells you. Some people bring a baby book so they can record the birth details right away. When the hospital gets footprints for the birth certificate they can use the rest of the ink and make prints for your baby book too!