If you're anything like me, preparing for labor and packing your hospital bag is equal parts exciting, nerve-wracking and overwhelming. For me, the packing was something I could control at the end of my pregnancy—because Lord knows that I was the mercy of my own body at that point. But don't stress, just make sure to have a few of these essentials and you'll be well on your way to a prepared labor and delivery.
- Socks. I had pink argyle knee socks that pleased me to no end. They kept me warm and the nurses commented on their cuteness. One disclaimer though—make sure it's a pair that you can part with, as you might need to throw them out after labor thanks to all of the, um, fluids.
- Nightgown and robe. Mine was a huge Bon Jovi t-shirt and a comfy grey cotton robe. Although they weren't necessarily the most attractive articles of clothing, they were much, much better that the hospital nightgown with little purple hearts all over it.
- Shampoo and conditioner. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use the strange shampoo/conditioner that the hospital provides. You will be sore, tired and slightly delirious after delivery. Do not add Scary Hospital Patient Hair to that mix.
- Makeup. I know it sounds weird, but people will most likely be taking lots of pictures of the baby and you. A hospital photographer might also come to your room and offer to take pictures. For me, it was great to have mascara and some concealer since my husband posted those pictures all over Facebook.
- A going home outfit for the baby. When you're preparing for labor and delivery and picking out that eensy weensy adorable coming-home outfit for baby, it's important to remember the weather. You don't want to pack a wool sweater in mid-July no matter how cute it is. Also, you might want to bring along a 3-month-old outfit, in case you have a Child of Unusual Size variety, as was myalmost nine pounder.
- Trashy magazines for labor. There's lots of waiting around in the beginning. Make sure to bring something that you can page through and zone out.
- Camera and video camera and their respective power cords/chargers. I know this one is a big "duh," but you don't want to leave this one up to your partner. Or else there will be much screaming and freaking out. Not that this happened to me or anything.
- Laptop and power cord. Most hospitals offer free wireless internet now, so a laptop is helpful if you or your partner want to check email or pass the time during labor. It's also good for uploading and emailing pictures of the baby after the birth.
- Mp3 player with docking station. Some hospitals already have docking stations in the birthing suites, so check to see if you need to bring one. You can make your own little mix tape on your mp3 player, complete with memory imprinting when you're preparing for labor. For example, every time I hear the song, "Born in the U.S.A.," I have a distinct memory of my OB coming in to break my water.
- Boppy or other nursing pillow. Even if you aren't planning to nurse, these pillows are lifesavers for holding child during a feeding. Just make sure your husband doesn't commandeer it and put it around his waist to use as a drink holder.
Provided by Maureen Lipinski