In the flurry of activity and anticipation of your newborn, don't forget the all-important maternity bag! When it's time to go, you need to be as well prepared as possible for your stay and experience at the hospital. Your maternity bag will ensure that you will have a comfortable stay, and that you have everything you need to get through the challenges of labor. Whether it's your lucky charm, important phone numbers, or vanity items that you usually carry everywhere, take these steps to take care of them well before your due date and you'll be very well prepared. Maternity bags are available specifically for this purpose; choose yours with valuable compartments, locks, and unique designs to make organizing easy, efficient, and memorable! You will need assistance as you get to the hospital, and keeping everything ready in your maternity bag will help you immensely.
Some key things to remember before you start, are: don't overpack, as you may not have a lot of room at the hospital to unpack; keep a book of phone numbers handy for people to contact after labor; and bring a camera!
To pack a maternity bag, here are fifteen key items to take with you:
- A journal or notebook for passing thoughts and jotting down memories in the making
- A camera, or video recorder if possible (this can also be delegated to a family member or visiting friend)
- A comfortable dressing gown and robe
- A water spray bottle to keep you cool
- A watch that you can read easily to count contractions
- Comfortable slippers!
- A good book or magazine for downtime after labor
- A set of clothes to wear when returning home; a homecoming outfit for mother and newborn is ideal
- A clean set of clothes for post-labor pictures and downtime with your newborn
- Relaxation music along with headphones, iPod, or portable CD player
- Fresh towels, your hairbrush, and toothbrush/toothpaste
- A jacket, hat, and blanket for your newborn
- Any personal items or mementos that bring you joy during difficult times
- Favorite foods and snacks to give you much-needed recovery energy
- A nursing bra, extra underwear, and clean socks
Make your stay at the hospital as comfortable and memorable as possible by taking your personal items along with you; pack your maternity bag at least two to three weeks in advance of your due date, and leave it in an easy-to-grab area of your home so you don't forget it at the last moment. You can even arrange for it to be dropped off by a family member who plans to go with you, or leave it in a car. Whatever your approach, be confident that you will be well-prepared so that you can focus on what's most important: you and your newborn!