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Filling your maternity bag is a rite of passage for a soon-to-be new mom. The items you carry into the hospital as a pregnant woman and carry out as a new mom will provide comfort during stressful labor and help an unfamiliar room feel homey. Start packing your overnight bag about two months before your due date. You'll probably want to add to it in coming weeks, but if you go into labor early, you'll be prepared.
Paperwork and Necessities
Any paperwork related to the delivery should be in the bag. This includes any hospital registration forms, several copies of your birth plan and copies of your health insurance cards. The University of Maryland Medical Center also recommends bringing information about any medications you're currently taking, copies of any pregnancy medical files from the doctor and her contact information. Toss in some cash for parking, small bills and change, and chargers for any cell phones.
You never know what will comfort you during labor, so this is one area where it doesn't pay to pack lightly. Photos of older children, pets or relaxing vacation destinations can help, while an MP3 player and portable speakers (or a CD and portable player) can soothe or distract you. Pack several items your partner can use to ease your pain. The Southeast Georgia Health System suggests wooden massagers, tennis balls, massage oil, herbal heat pillows, aromatherapy and small paper or plastic fans.
In case you care how you look, pack a few makeup basics. But comfort and ease of breastfeeding are the most important elements of post-labor gear. Put in a few nursing bras, several pairs of underwear with full coverage, slippers and a few nightgowns and robes that open in the front. Your partner needs a few changes of clothing and you need a going-home outfit. The American Pregnancy Association suggests clothes that fit you when you were six months pregnant. You might want to include some basic toiletries and a baby book to fill out during lulls in action.
Baby's First Belongings
Babies can become overheated easily, so KidsHealth suggests bringing some clothing for him that's similar in heaviness to your own. For summer, that means a onesie or T-shirt and light pants. For a cold-weather due date, pack warm pajamas and a thick blanket to tuck over the infant once he's strapped into the car seat. The hospital should provide adequate diapers and wipes for your stay, but the APA suggests packing baby mittens so your infant can't scratch himself with his nails.