What to Bring with you to the Hospital

You're pretty sure you're going to set a new record for having the biggest baby, and pretty sure your feet are still down there. Which means you're no doubt thinking about the coming attraction: that amazing yet challenging time of labor and birth. Between picking out the nursery colors, putting together the new crib and admiring the impossibly small clothes, we wanted to make one task a little easier for you: packing your hospital bag.

Must-have items

Toiletries: including moisturizers and lip balm (hospitals can be quite dry), toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner (hospitals often offer these but it's nice to have your own), soap, a hairbrush and any other items you usually pack to go away. A hair band and elastic.

Comfy Clothes: or pajamas, which could include a T-shirt, robe and socks (so your feet won't get cold). (Some moms prefer to wear a hospital gown so you don't have to worry about washing it later.)

Pillow & Blanket: Pillows can help make you more comfortable. The blanket is important because some women get cold during labor, and hospital blankets are often light.

Flip Flops or Slippers: or slip-on footwear for those 'let's get things moving' moments.

Nursing Bra: it's best to bring 2 so you have a fresh change - the Original Nursing Bra is perfect for this stage in the game since it is cotton and offers super-comfy 24/7 support. Our Nursing Bra and Tank picks for packing your Hospital Bag.

Nursing Tank: The Essential Nursing Bra Tank is a mom favorite during labor because it's comfortable, offers a full bra inside and gives baby full access to the breast for that oh so important skin to skin contact. Our moms like to pack two: one for labor, and another to change into after.

Feminine Hygiene Pads & Underwear: Heavy-flow feminine-hygiene pads (no tampons) and extra underwear.

Car Seat: Most hospitals won't let you go home without one.

Your Favorite Outfit for Baby: Now for the fun part - your favorite outfit to take your baby home in (remember to consider the weather), as well as a blanket, hat, undershirt and diapers, to introduce your little one to their new home!

Optional items

Tennis Balls: use them for well needed back rubs. Believe us, they work!

Baby Book: so the nurse can put your baby's footprints in.

Spray Bottle: for gentle cool-downs during labor.

Phone Card: to make long-distance calling easier (some hospitals don't allow cell phones).

MP3 Player or iPod: with speakers and a playlist of your favorite relaxing music.

Coins: for the vending machines.

Digital Camera: make sure it's fully charged. It's best to bring some extra batteries just in case.

Snacks: your favorite foods, tea and fruit juice (for quick energy) for you and your coaches. Even if you don't feel like eating during labor, you will afterward.

"Big Brother" and "Big Sister" Gifts: for when your other children visit.

It's always helpful to tell your partner, coach, midwife or doula what you've packed in case you want something during those intense moments when your attention is elsewhere.

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Heather Kelly
Heather is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
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