What to Bring to the Hospital
By Laura E. Stachel
When you go to the hospital to have your baby, you’ll find there all the essential supplies for a comfortable stay. That being said, many women feel most comfortable when they can surround themselves with their own things. Here’s a list of items that you can consider bringing along to enhance your birth experience.

Personal toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush, cosmetics, makeup, deodorant, glasses, contact lenses and case, hair ties.

Clothes: bathrobe, comfortable large T-shirt, sweatpants, socks, slippers, maternity underwear (may be more comfortable than disposable underwear provided by hospital).

Items for labor coach: clean clothes, swimsuit if your hospital has a shower or tub, toothbrush, snacks, copy of birth plan.

Items for communication: cell phone, phone card or lots of change. List of important phone numbers or personal phone tree.

Items for recording childbirth: Camera, film, batteries, video camera.

Possible labor aids: chap stick for dry lips; lollipops for energy; Popsicles® (if hospital doesn’t already provide these); drinks (non-caffeinated tea, clear juices); large exercise ball to provide support in several labor positions; small tennis balls for placing pressure on your lower back during back labor; massage aids (oil and massage devices).

Room-enhancing items: a meaningful photograph for the nightstand; music (tape player, iPod, speakers, favorite music); favorite pillow with your own pillowcase to keep it distinct from the hospital pillows.

After the baby’s born:

Comfortable clothing: loose clothes for post-partum, including pants that don’t put unnecessary pressure on the abdomen. Sweat pants are popular. Maternity Underwear Disposable menstrual pads (keep in mind you’ll be bleeding like a period).

Snacks: something for after the delivery, in case the hospital food service isn’t open at the time you deliver.

Baby items: baby book if you want to record your baby’s footprints; newborn outfit (hospital will supply diapers, T-shirt and receiving blanket); car seat (be sure to practice placing it in your car before the big event). Items for a sibling: Gift “from the baby,” coloring book or other supplies to keep child occupied during prolonged hospital visits.

Items for correspondence: address book, pen, baby announcements or thank-you notes.

Let your labor coach or partner know what you packed and where to find it. If you need something, it’s always nice if someone else knows where to find it.