The Ultimate Hospital Packing Guide: Must-Haves for Every Mom-to-Be

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  • Skip the cute PJs in favor of something practical. For boob access, pick something that's easy to pull up or down.
  • Nursing bras and pads and a few pairs of underwear. Bring on the granny panties (it can be messy down there the first few days after delivery).
  • A comfy robe to layer over breezy hospital gowns. (C-section mamas will be doing a lot of hospital hallway-walking).
  • Socks: Don't overlook these feet-warmers. Studies show that wearing them to bed can actually help you nod off faster.
  • Slippers: You don't want to pad around the hospital hallways in just your slippery socks -- or in uncomfortable shoes, either.
  • Going-home outfit for you: You'll definitely still be in maternity clothes at this point -- as though you're five or six months along.
  • Sanitary pads: Most hospitals have, but it's good to bring your own just-in-case supply for postpartum bleeding.
  • Toiletries: Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, makeup.
  • Concealer: It¿ll help cover up redness, blotchiness, and post-delivery blemishes for all the zillions of photos that'll be taken after baby arrives.
  • iPod and headphones/speakers (or a portable CD player and tunes).
  • Books and magazines: You have no clue how long labor will be. When doesn't celeb gossip help the time fly by?
  • Pillow from home: It's decidedly cozier than those hospital-issued ones.
  • Lanolin cream: This nursing essential soothes sore nipples as you adjust to your baby's feeding techniques.
  • Basic toiletries for your partner: Let's be honest -- he probably doesn't need much more than a toothbrush and deodorant..
  • At least $20 in cash: Bring lots of singles for the vending machine and snacks.
  • Cell phone and, just as important, charger. Using your own helps avoid those pricey hospital phone bills.
  • Digital watch or one with a second hand (for timing contractions).
  • Digital camera and video camera (if you've agreed to go there).
  • Blanket and pillow for your partner: If he'll be staying over, he has to crash on a chair somewhere.
  • Car seat, already installed, natch!
  • Layette stuff: Newborn hat, two receiving blankets, several burp cloths, two "onesies," and two pairs of socks.
  • Baby going-home outfit: Try a kimono onesie (so you don't have to pull anything over your newborn's head -- they're not big fans).
  • Diapers and wipes: Don't forget that awesome diaper bag you've been dying to break out.
  • Nursing pillow: It'll make those first (potentially tough) feedings a bit easier.
  • Completed hospital registration forms. Bring a copy of your pre-reg documents in case they can't dig yours up.
  • Birth plan: Remember to keep it short and sweet!
  • Insurance cards.
  • Address book: For the random relatives who aren't in your cell phone but still demand to hear the good news ASAP.
  • Your driver's license: You'll need it for admission to the hospital. Make sure your partner has his, too.

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