I realize that breaking the list into two parts may make it seem as though you are packing everything but the kitchen sink. But don’t lose heart–what you do an do not bring can have a big impact on your hospital stay.  We have looked at what to bring, and now here are a few things to leave at home.

  • Expensive or very sentimental items should be left at home if possible.  Jewelry, large amounts of cash, medications (including your prenatal vitamins) should all stay home. If you need medications during your stay, the hospital will be able to provide those.
  • Basic baby supplies are also provided so you won’t need to bring diapers, wipes or lots of changes of clothes for your baby.  Just an outfit for pictures and home is fine.  Fancy clothes on a newborn are sweet but they actually make it difficult for medical staff to assess your baby, and could slow down emergency care should the need arise.
  • Leave your breast pump behind.  Most hospitals have all the necessary supplies to help with establishing breast feeding. Ask your baby’s nurse or talk with the hospital’s lactation consultant if the need for a pump should arise.

Even though you have spent the last 10 months thinking about your little one, always remember to make provisions for yourself after birth.  Even though all attention turns to the newest member of the family, remember that being a good mom requires taking care of yourself too. After delivery, you may need some basic items that are often forgotten.

  • A prepaid phone card or cell phone to call long distance friends and family members
  • A list of people to call and their numbers
  • Snacks: If you deliver in the middle of the night, good hot food will not be available, and you will probably be very hungry.  Your partner or coach can bring food in and you can even have it delivered from a restaurant if you wish. But just in case, throw in some high-protein snacks.
  • Breast feeding support pillow and bras: If you plan to breast feed bring along your breast feeding support pillow and one or two supportive and comfortable nursing bras.
  • Gifts for older siblings.  The birth of a new baby can be an exciting but also difficult time for older siblings.  Show them you haven’t forgotten them by giving them a gift from the baby.
  • Parents often forget to bring the car seat along with them to the hospital.  Remember to have it professionally installed at your local health or fire department before the birth to eliminate the need afterward.

The birth of a baby is exciting and these simple steps can ease stress and help you feel more prepared for a somewhat unpredictable event.  So make a list, plan ahead and you will be ready to focus on what’ s most important when the time arises.