The FAQ’s of Having a Baby: Because when it comes to preparing for your bundle of joy, you’ve got questions—and we’ve got answers!
Once you're around 34 weeks pregnant, pack a bag with everything you think you'll need at the hospital, so that you're ready to go as soon as your baby's ready to arrive. Read on for our list of birth essentials to help get you started.
We know, we know, you're never without your phone. But be sure you (and your partner) have chargers handy, too, when you head to the hospital. Besides needing it for the obvious—calling, texting, and updating your social accounts with your exciting news—you'll want to download helpful apps, like a contraction timer and white noise.
With all the goodies from the hospital—diapers, blankets, and creams—and all the gifts from well wishers, you're bound to have more stuff coming out than you did going in.
Bring at least $20 in cash and change for snacks, gift-store runs, and any of your miscellaneous cravings. Because...hospital food.
Bring flip-flops for the shower or to wear home if your feet are swollen.
A ponytail holder or stretchy headband will help keep your hair out of your face during labor—and a brush and dry shampoo will help ensure that you look fab in those first photos with your new baby.
Pack a newborn-size kimono-style shirt, with footed pants so you don't have to bring socks. You'll likely get a receiving blanket and hat in the hospital, so skip those unless you've got your heart set on a specific, cute style.
Here's a hint: You'll probably still look about 5 months pregnant, so skip your non-maternity skinnies and pack your favorite maternity dress or leggings and a tunic. (Trust us: Not fitting into your going-home outfit is a bummer!)
Bring copies of your birth plan (if you have one), a picture ID, health insurance information, and hospital registration forms. Even if you've already registered at the hospital, some hospitals need to confirm your records before they can admit you.
Load up your smartphone or tablet with tunes and anything you might want to binge-watch on Netflix. It'll help district you—and your partner—during a long labor.
Bring a nursing tank or bra (buy them at the end of your pregnancy—most women are about that same size postpartum) that's comfy enough to sleep in.
A homemade hot pack (a sock filled with rice or beans) can bring you instant relief during active labor because it molds to your body—and it can easily be warmed up in the hospital's microwave. Other items to pack include: back massager, stress-relieving squeeze ball, and massage oil or lotion.
A cotton nightie will be much more comfortable than a hospital gown. A robe will be handy for when you want to walk the hallways. Several pairs of undies are a must (briefs, maternity, or disposables like Depends) if you don't want to wear the mesh underwear the hospital gives you after delivery.
Keep your toes toasty and clean, whether you're in bed or strolling around on the cold tile floor. Bring a pair that's easily laundered, as they may get a bit dirty.
Keep everyone happy by bringing enough snacks for you and your partner to share. Lollipops are especially great for conquering dry mouth during labor.
The pillows in the hospitals may be uncomfortable, and bringing one you're familiar with may help you to relax. Don't forget one for your partner, too, if he or she is planning on spending the night.
Deodorant, body wash, shampoo, facial cleansing wipes, lip balm, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and moisturizer are necessities.