My husband and I are very organized, Type-A people. We keep lists, we have calendars, and we have meetings. So, to prepare for the potentially most unorganized event of our lives—having our first child—we had to do extra preparation. And, nearly eight years later, I still have my list to share with all of you. Here are a few tips for things to bring to the hospital:
1. Labor notes. This is helpful if you think you’ll forget what you learned in childbirth class and you learn best by reading.
2. Any useful phone numbers: doctors, family, friends, hospital.
3. Hospital registration papers. You can fill this out ahead of time when you’re not in the middle of contractions.
4. Directions to the hospital. It doesn’t hurt to actually have them written out, just in case your GPS isn’t working and your phone is on the fritz and your brain is on the fritz because you’re about to become a parent for the first time.
5. Money for car service. I wasn’t sure if I wanted my husband to drive or if we should take a car service, so we prepared for both options.
6. Hand fan. I overheat easily and we had some hand fans left over from our wedding. These are easily bought in dollar stores and can help during contractions.
7. Vomit bags. This was a back-up, in case we needed it before we got to the hospital. Our hospital was about 45 minutes away from us.
8. I was a high-risk pregnancy because I had epilepsy. In addition to my medication, I also had to have a schedule for ramping down my medication after I gave birth, but this only applies to a small segment of people.
9. You’ll need to time the contractions. Make sure it has a second hand or use your phone for timing.
10. Pregnancy/baby books. If you learn by reading, having these on hand is helpful, particularly in the first 24 hours when you’re trying to figure out what your child is doing.
11. iPod, phone, or other device with music. I found that making a playlist for labor was extremely helpful.
12. Never underestimate how much you will need your chargers. You don’t know how long you’ll be at the hospital.
13. Maternity clothes. Though you might not be dressed for a long time, it’s better to have clothes with you.
14. Nipple cream and nipple pads. You will need these once the baby starts feeding from your breast.
15. Maxi pads. The hospital will provide you with plenty of these, as well, so if you forget them, it’s not a big deal.
16. Clothes for the baby. If this is your second child, having options for the first child to choose from can be a great way for them to participate. Don’t forget a hat and take into account the weather.
17. Receiving blankets and burp cloths. The hospital will provide some but it’s better to have your own so you can personalize it.
18. Diapers and wipes. Again, the hospital will have them but it’s best for you to have your own diaper bag in use already.
19. A car seat. VERY IMPORTANT! The baby can’t leave the hospital without a car seat in the United States.
20. Dried fruit. This is a little secret that they don’t tell women but this is also a critical one. Your first poop after you give birth can be difficult with all the stitches, etc. Get a little fiber in your diet to make it easier.
21. Overnight stuff for your partner, if they’re allowed to stay at the hospital. My husband was allowed to stay the first time but there was no room for him the second time.
22. A good camera. Phone cameras are easy but these are the first photos that you will have of your child, that you will show them when they get older. If you can invest in a good camera, this is the time to do it.
Have an easy birth!