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In the last trimester, you are just counting days. You are nervous with the thought of labour but at the same time eager to hold your baby in your arms. You want everything to go right at the hospital and want to take every possible thing in your hospital bag. Getting ready for the hospital can seem like a never ending task, so here is a checklist for the hospital bag.

MOMMY BAG:
1.Comfort clothing. Hospital gowns are not on everyone’s favorite list. You can bring your pajama and t-shirt or a nursing gown or you can even bring a robe to wear over the hospital gown.
2.Nursing bras.
3.Nursing pads.

4.Maternity pads. (Hospital will provide you all the essentials for the first couple of days.)
5.Slippers. (Hospital will give you socks, but sometimes they do not fit well.)
6.Toiletries.
7.Pillows. (Pillows at the hospital are sometimes thin and not enough.)
8.Blanket/ Comforter/ Throw. (It is a personal choice. Blankets at the hospital are mostly thin.)
9.Towel. (Again hospital will provide one, but they are mostly thin.)
10.Coming home clothes.
11.Lip balm. Your lips can get dry, especially during labour.

BABY FEEDING BAG:
1.A feeding pillow.
2.Nipple shield. Lactation consultants recommend using a nipple shield for the baby to latch better. It certainly helped me in the first couple of weeks.
3.Oil for massaging breast/ nipple cream. The initial feeding sessions are difficult, especially if this is your first delivery. Massaging the breasts with oil followed by cleaning with hot water or a hot towel will help with the milk flow.
4.Sterilized baby bottles.(If you wish to feed formula.)

BABY BAG
:
1.Receiving blanket.
2.Swaddle blankets
.
3.Going home outfit since you can not sit a swaddled baby in a car seat. An easy to wear kimono onesie works best.
4.Cap, socks and, mittens.
5.Diapers and wipes. (Hospital will provide them, but its good to have them in your going home kit.)

OTHER ESSENTIALS:
1. Car Seat– It is mandatory to have a car seat by law in almost every state of US. Have it installed before you go to the hospital. The installation can be verified at the hospital or by a certified technician at your local police station or fire station. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides child seat inspection stations across many cities. (http://www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm).
One more important thing to remember about car seat is to register them with the manufacturer to get information about recalls if any.
2. Insurance information.
3. Completed hospital forms.
4. Payment checks, if any.
5. Pen and notepad
.
6. Birth-Plan, if any.
7. Cord blood kit if you have decided to do cord blood banking.
8. Camera and its charger.
9. Cell phone chargers
.
10. Dollar bills for vending machine.
11. Extra bag
to carry stuff you get at the hospital and gifts by friends and family.

FOOD BAG:
1. Snacks.
2. Water bottles.
3. Paper plates/ bowls/ cups to eat the home cooked food, if any.
4. Icebox for food.
5. Thermos for hot water/ tea/ coffee
.

In addition to the above list, there will be a DADDY BAG with his toiletries, pair of clothes, towel etc. Mommies do not forget that Dads play a vital role in your pregnancy and childbirth. Dad is your strength and support throughout your labor and delivery. He plays the role of a coach and a cheerleader. He takes care of you and the hospital formalities. He is as anxious as you are about your delivery. He will have plenty on his plate at the hospital, so why not pack his bag for him? After all, once your new addition comes home, dad will not get the same attention he use to get from you.

The above list can be modified based on personal needs and choices. I will post the checklist for ‘Hospital to Home’ next week.

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