Some doctors have a packet from the hospital that includes a list of what the expectant parents may want to consider bringing and things that they may want to leave at home.
Some common things on the list include:
- Your birth plan- bring several copies and give one to everyone.
- Eyeglasses- even if you always wear contacts.
- A camera (and charger or batteries) for the first pictures!
- A journal and pencil or pen
- Pajamas from home- mom may prefer to be in her own clothes for laboring and or delivery. I opted for the hospital gown for the same reasons that I did not bring my pillow. It was just another thing to bring, and birth is messy (as are the few days after).
- Socks- hospitals are cold! Having socks or slippers with non-skid soles are pretty helpful.
- Toiletries- most hospitals have toiletry kits that they give out. These are functional, but they are not that great, this is another thing to bring on your own.
- Clothes to go home in- this is not the time to break out your skinny jeans. Unless you are one of the few people who walks out of the hospital in their pre-pregnancy clothes plan on looking 6 months pregnant or so for a bit.
- Snacks- hospital food has improved a lot, but it is still hospital food. While laboring most hospitals will not serve food to moms so dad needs to bring his own.
- Cell phone and computers (and the charger) you’ll want to call everyone and let them know that your baby has arrived- and maybe email pictures.
- Your car seat most hospitals will not let you take your baby home without a car seat.
- Going home outfit for baby, this is a special outfit, make it comfortable and cozy (and of course adorable).
- Bring your baby’s baby book so you can write down your birth story right away while it is still fresh.
- A pillow from home- either mom or dad may find the support from the pillow from home to be comforting or just better. True – hospitals pillows really don’t qualify as pillows, but pillows are bulky and bringing it there and home along with everything else is a pain. On top of that, birth is messy, things splatter and splash risking the cleanliness of your pillow. If you really want to bring it go for it, but it is not at the top of the list. If you do choose to bring one make sure you have your pillow in a bright or patterned pillowcase so it doesn’t get mixed up with the hospital ones.
Things to have at home:
Before you head to the hospital you need to spend a little bit preparing for the first few weeks at home.
- Diapers- the hospital will give you some for the first few days but having some newborn diapers on hand can save a late night emergency run for diapers.
- Wipes- see above reasoning. Baby’s first poops are notoriously sticky. Be prepared.
- Pads- this is not the job for ultra-thins. This is a job for the big monster pads- or even adult diapers. Trust me on this one. When you leave ask for several extra pairs of the mesh panties- again trust me.
- Frozen meals or take out phone numbers- the first few days post-partum are exhausting, especially for the new mom. Don’t ask her to cook.
- Snacks- have some easy to grab nutritious snacks on hand for you and any guests.
- Toilet paper, paper towels- this is not a good time to need to make an emergency run to the store, be stocked up.
- Diaper cream, Vaseline, baby powder- you just never can predict what you’ll need.
- A lactation consultant’s phone number if you are breastfeeding- be prepared for issues ahead of time.
- Cabbage leaves- they can help relieve engorgement when Mom’s milk comes in. Engorgement can be really painful and can lead to mastitis if not cared for.
- Bottles and nipples if you are bottle feeding for the first few weeks your baby will only be eating a few ounces at a time, so 4 oz bottle are sufficient. For the first few weeks use a newborn flow nipple so your baby doesn’t get overwhelmed.
- Cold packs- these can be used for Mom’s breasts if sore or for post birth pain.
- Make sure that your baby has a safe place to be set down, a crib, bassinet, somewhere.
Honestly, you don’t need a drastic amount to get ready for your baby’s arrival. You’ll need more than your baby. Even if you forget things, you’ll be ok. Even if you totally feel unprepared- you can do this. As far as your baby knows you are perfect.