Getting ready to have a baby? Congratulations! If you're planning to give birth at a hospital or birthing center, it's time to start thinking about what you will need to bring with you in your hospital bag for both you and your baby. Not sure what you need and what to leave at home? Here's a list of items you definitely want to have in your pregnancy go-bag:
1. Paperwork: Make a copy of your insurance cards and birth plan now and put them in your bag. The last thing you want to do when your water breaks is try to rummage around looking for these documents.
2. Clothes for you: It goes without saying that you will want only the most ridiculously comfortable clothes you can find. Most women go with the hospital gown for the birth and change into pajamas until they are ready to go home. Make sure your go home outfit is comfy too. This is not the time to try to squeeze into those pre-pregnancy jeans!
3. Clothes for baby: You probably won't need much while you're at the hospital — they generally have onesies available for babies during their stay, but you will need an comfy outfit for your baby to ride home in. Most hospitals do provide disposable diapers for use while you're admitted, but if you want your baby to use cloth diapers, you'll need to bring those — and a bag for soiled diapers as well.
4. Toiletries: Brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution.
5. Cellphone and charger: You're going to want to send that mass-text and/or Facebook message pretty soon after your new baby arrives, so make sure you bring your phone and keep it fully charged.
6. Labor aides: Music, massage oil, sugar-free lozenges, a birthing ball — whatever you think might help you manage the labor and get you to the delivery.
7. Nursing gear: A nursing bra and breastfeeding pillow will be a big help, particularly if you are healing from stitches after giving birth. And if this will be your first time breastfeeding, you and your baby may need all of the help you can get to find a good position.
8. Fun stuff: Believe it or not, you may experience some down town while you're at the hospital. Bring along a few magazines and/or your iPod to distract you during labor or help you get back to sleep after a late-night feeding.
One more thing: you don't need to bring this into the hospital, but you do need to have your new baby's car seat installed in your car before you bring her home. Most hospitals won't let you leave until they know you have one.