Before Baby

Planning for Your Birth

Have a written birth plan to detail your labor and delivery wishes and bring it with you to the hospital.

Call Ahead

For a speedier admission process (something you’ll definitely appreciate when those contractions are coming fast and furiously), pre-register. Pre-registration doesn’t give you a precise “save the date” notice, but it is a way to ensure that your name, insurance information, and practitioner contact info are ready and waiting for you when you arrive. This will minimize the paperwork you’ll need to fill out mid-contraction, and get you checked in faster. Something else to check out: If you go into labor in the middle of the night, which entrance will you need to use? Schedule a tour so you’ll know where you need to be and when.

Check Your Bag

You may have unpacked and repacked your overnight bag ten times, but are you sure you have the essentials? For the baby, you’ll need some T-shirts, socks, receiving blanket, and heavier clothes if the weather is cold. And for you, some comfortable clothes (sweats, a robe, soft shirts, warm socks), a nursing bra, snacks (raisins, nuts, whole-wheat crackers, lollipops), bottled water, toiletries (remember to pack lip balm — you may need to reapply it throughout labor), portable entertainment (books, magazines, music), and eyeglasses (if you wear them).

Not sure where to start? Here are a few recommended essentials.

Items you may want to pack:

  • A watch with a second hand
  • Going home outfit for baby
  • Going home outfit for mom (five- to seven-month pregnant size)
  • Nursing bra
  • Nursing gown
  • Receiving blanket
  • Robe and slippers
  • Two to three pairs of pajamas
  • Two to three pairs of warm socks

Bathroom essentials to bring with you:

  • Lip balm
  • Clips for hair or headband
  • Colored washcloths
  • Contact lenses and/or glasses with case
  • Hair care products
  • Lotion for massages
  • Makeup
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

Additional items to consider packing:

  • Camera and/or video camera (extra batteries, charger)
  • Change for vending machines
  • Charged cell phone and charger
  • Childbirth handbook
  • Extra pillows with colored pillowcases
  • Installed car seat
  • List of important phone numbers
  • Nutritious snacks for your partner
  • Paper and pencil or pen

Line Up Caretakers

Have older children at home? Figure out who will be on babysitting patrol while you’re on labor duty. Make sure they’re in the know, too — and on call (and easily tracked down, day or night). Ditto for the pets. Make sure you have someone at the ready to walk the dog or supervise the cat.

Buy (and install) the Infant Car Seat

Planning on taking your baby home from the hospital? You won’t get far without a car seat — and you won’t want to try. Since car seat installation isn’t rocket science but comes pretty close, spend time perfecting your technique. Install the seat in advance, and to make sure you’ve done it properly (up to 80 percent of seats are not properly installed), visit a car seat clinic at your local fire station or baby store (call first to find out when the experts will be on hand). If you’re taking a taxi or car service home, you’ll still need a car seat for your littlest passenger. Make sure you understand the seat’s instructions now so you’re not fumbling with straps on that wonderful, nerve-wracking, overwhelming day you bring your baby home. Better still, practice, practice, practice. Make sure your car seat is not expired.

 

Source: What to Expect