Packing list for the hospital

1. A fresh nightgown, if you prefer to wear your own

2. Your cell phone and charger or, if you'll be using the hospital phone, a prepaid phone card. After your baby's born, you or your partner may want to call family and friends to let them know the good news. Bring a list of everyone you'll want to contact so you don't forget someone important when you're exhausted after delivery.

3. Snacks! After many hours of labor, you're likely to be pretty hungry, and you may not want to rely solely on hospital food. So bring your own – crackers, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, or whatever you think you'll enjoy. A bottle of nonalcoholic champagne might be fun for celebrating, too.

4. Toiletries: Pack a few personal items, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, a brush and comb, makeup, and a hair band or barrettes. Hospitals usually provide soap, shampoo, and lotion, but you might prefer your own.

5. Comfortable nursing bras or regular bras. Whether or not you choose to breastfeed your breasts are likely to be tender and swollen when your milk comes in, which can happen anytime during the first several days after delivery. A good bra can provide some comfort, and breast pads can be added to help absorb leaks.

6.Several pairs of maternity underpants. Some women love the mesh underwear usually provided by the hospital, but others don't. You can't go wrong with your own roomy cotton underpants. The hospital will provide sanitary pads because you'll bleed after delivery. Make sure you have a supply of heavy-duty pads waiting at home!

7. A book on newborn care. The hospital will probably provide you with a book, but you may prefer your own. Of course, the postpartum nurses will be there to answer questions and show you how to change, hold, nurse, and bathe your newborn if you need guidance.

8. Photos of your other children. When they come to visit, they'll see that you haven't forgotten them.

9. Gifts for older siblings. Some parents bring gifts for the new baby to "give" to big brothers and sisters.

10. A notepad or journal and pen or pencil. Track your baby's feeding sessions, write down questions you have for the nurse, note what the pediatrician tells you, jot down memories of your baby's first day, and so on. Some people bring a baby book so they can record the birth details right away.

11. A going-home outfit. Bring something roomy and easy to get into (believe it or not, you'll probably still look 5 or 6 months pregnant) and a pair of flat, comfortable shoes.