• Insurance card and hospital or birthing center admission paperwork
• Photo ID
• Several copies of your birth plan (both a detailed and a condensed version, just in case the staff is skimming it in a hurry)
• Socks. For some strange reason, gals tend to get cold feet (pun intended) during the labor process.
• Hair ties and a hairbrush. When things start heating up, hair in your face is downright annoying.
• Lip balm. All that heavy breathing dries your kisser.
• Travel-size toiletries. When you get the opportunity to shower, familiar lotions and potions will be welcomed.
• Hard candies. A trick to combat cottonmouth.
• Glasses and/or contacts with case and solution. Seeing is believing.
• Anything that will help you relax. A pillowcase from home, an MP3 player loaded with your favorite tunes, a soothing focal point … whatever works to keep you at ease.
• Granny panties. Large, comfy underwear for the day after are rivaled only by those disposable mesh undies they’ll likely give you in the hospital.
• A nursing gown and/or bathrobe. Most mamas aren’t comfortable receiving visitors in a backless get-up.
• Nonskid slippers. For when you feel up to shuffling to the bathroom.
• Nursing bras and pads. Your breasts will become tightly engorged, but you can still buy nursing bras in your prepregnancy size—they’re designed to accommodate.
• Nipple cream. This is a nonnegotiable for breastfeeding moms.
• Makeup. You know the going-home trip will be forever commemorated in photos—plan ahead.
• Comfortable, loose clothing. You’ll look (and feel) about five to six months pregnant when you head home, so bring something comfy for the car ride.
• Digital camera and/or camcorder. Pack your preferred method to record the big day— and don’t forget spare batteries and/or chargers!
• Cellphone and charger. Load it up with the numbers he’ll need to call or text to share the news, or print up a list.
• Wristwatch to time contractions. A second hand is essential.
• Snacks and/or cash for vending machines. He’ll need to refuel at some point.
• Change of clothes. He’ll probably also want to switch into fresh duds for photos and the homecoming trek.
• Toiletries. In case he decides to shower at the hospital.
• Going-home outfit. Make sure it’s newborn-sized, since new babies are teeny tiny.
• Warm blanket and hat, if it will be cold outside. If it’s hot, a thin blanket (cotton muslin is a good weight) and hat should suffice.
• Infant car seat. Have it properly and securely installed before you head to the hospital.