It's time! Hospital bag checklist for expectant mothers
Make your Atlanta birthing experience less stressful by making a hospital bag checklist.
By Angela Tague
Before rushing to the hospital to give birth, take the time to pack a bag of essentials. Your hospital bag checklist should include personal items, paperwork and goodies for the new baby. There's really no need to scramble at the last minute. Let's get packin'!
If you're not driving yourself to the hospital, you may forget your purse--which likely includes your medical insurance card and ID. Also include paperwork from the hospital, your doctor's phone number and any specialized medical information, such as a list of current medications or allergies the medical staff must know about. Tuck these essentials away in a small pouch inside your hospital overnight bag to make sure they make it with you on the big day.
Include travel-size bottles of your usual shampoo, conditioner, lotion and body wash. This is especially important if you have skin allergies or are sensitive to fragrances during your pregnancy. Don't forget your toothbrush, hair ties, hair brush, lip balm and deodorant. Even if you wear contact lenses, bring a spare pair of eyeglasses.
Nurses will have you walking the halls before and after you deliver. Give your swollen feet the comfort they deserve by bringing your own plush slippers or thick socks. Just make sure whatever you bring has skid-resistant strips on the soles.
Although you'll be headed home with the baby in your arms, your belly will still be swollen. Bring a pair of adjustable drawstring maternity pants and a loose-fitting top for the trip home. If it's summer, consider a loose sundress for ultimate comfort.
5. Personal clothing
Pack a few nursing bras with absorbent pad inserts. Whether or not you breastfeed, you'll still appreciate the leak protection and comfort of a bra without underwires. And don't forget a few pairs of cute, modest panties that can accommodate an overnight-style feminine pad.
Although you probably picked out your baby's first outfit eight or nine months ago, don't forget the extras. Socks, a skull cap, mittens and a winter wrap or coat are necessities if the baby is headed home in cool weather.
The hospital will supply the first few diapers when the baby is in the nursery. But if you prefer to use organic diapers or cloth diapers, pack your own. (And, don't forget to alert the diaper service!) The hospital selection of diapers is limited. It's also a good idea to pack your own diaper rash cream, baby powder and moist wipes if you have a long trip from the hospital to your home.
In addition to your cellphone and charger, include the digital camera and an extra set of batteries on your hospital bag checklist. Since you may be in the hospital for a few days, consider tucking an e-reader, MP3 player, handheld gaming system or small laptop computer in your bag. After all, you'll want to update your social media accounts once the baby arrives!
Imagine giving birth at 2 a.m., finally being able to eat a meal, and the hospital cafeteria is closed. Take a change purse filled with coins so you can grab a snack from the vending machines until you can get a proper meal from the hospital or a visitor. Also tuck a few pieces of fruit, granola bars and bottled protein drinks in your bag.
Since your spouse, partner, relative or best friend might not leave your bedside, pack a small overnight bag for this person, too. Don't forget a toothbrush, slippers, medications, contact lens care products and a change of clothes.
You're preparing for labor and delivery, so you might as well be comfortable. It's not uncommon for expectant mothers to show up with a favorite pillow, a robe, a loose-fitting sleeveless nightgown or two and some makeup. Just pack things that can get ruined during delivery or lost in the hectic days ahead.
If you haven't already, get the baby's car seat installed in your vehicle. Most baby supply retailers, fire departments and police stations offer safety seat checks to make sure you've installed the seat correctly. Also consider a pad for your own seat belt since your breasts will be tender.
Finally, take the time to calm yourself. Bring relaxing reading materials, stress balls or aromatherapy oils. Pack a few family photos to decorate your recovery room. Find the time to meditate--whether you unroll the yoga mat or do a few stretches in bed, you'll appreciate the pain reduction and clarity of mind before delivering.
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