If you’re getting ready to welcome baby in the next few weeks, you’ve no doubt started to pack a bag to take with you for your hospital stay. (You don’t want to leave this one until the last minute, because your estimated due date is just that—an estimate. Baby will decide his own birthday!) Here are 10 things that will make your hospital stay more comfortable and fun.
1. Your cell phone charger. Once word spreads that the baby has arrived, your phone will be ringing off the hook. Keep your charger in your bag for when you see the dreaded “battery recharge” icon flashing.
2. A camera. Pack this one for your spouse or another loved one who will be by your side during labor and delivery. You’ll be too busy to capture the event yourself, but those first few photos are priceless.
3. Your laptop or iPad and a USB cord. You’ll be eager to see—and share—the photos of your little one’s first moments with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends. Also, keep in mind that you and baby may not share a room immediately. If your new bundle of joy is asleep in the nursery, and you’re not yet cleared to get out of bed to visit, you’ll be grateful for some snapshots of that adorable little face!
4. A stuffed animal or toy. A soft, loveable animal friend is useful for entertaining your little guy or gal in the hospital and on that first car ride home. It also makes a great prop for photos, whether you’re taking them yourself or using the hospital photographer’s services.
5. Your cord blood collection kit. If you’ve decided to store your baby’s umbilical cord blood in a private bank, be sure to pack the complete collection kit. It’s smart to read the instructions well in advance—you are often required to notify the storage company as soon as you’ve given birth so that a courier can collect the kit immediately.
6. Flip-flops and/or slippers. Before and after birth, you’ll want to be able to step into your shoes without bending over. Flip-flops are helpful because they can get wet, and the rubber soles can help stabilize you in a slippery, wet shower stall. If the weather is cooler, you might also appreciate your favorite fuzzy bedroom slippers.
7. Your own bathrobe. You may not feel up to showering and getting dressed the first day after giving birth, and hospital gowns can be flimsy. You’ll be glad you packed your own comfy bathrobe when you want to go see the baby in the nursery or have visitors come to your room, but aren’t feeling quite ready to wear your street clothes yet.
8. Snacks. If you haven’t had much appetite in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, you might find that you’re ravenous once you’ve delivered! Granola bars and peanut butter crackers are handy for when the hospital cafeteria is closed.
9. A going-home outfit for your baby. While your little one will spend most of his time in the hospital swaddled in a traditional receiving blanket, you’ll need to dress him in something more substantial for the trip home. Be prepared with several layers of clothing in case the weather changes while you’re in the hospital.
10. A cute baby blanket. Although hospitals have piles of their own receiving blankets, they usually collect them for laundering and re-use before you and your baby are discharged. It’s helpful to have one or two of your own for tucking into the baby’s car seat for the ride home.