Pre-pack the trunk a month before the delivery date. “That way you can really be in the moment when your baby decides it’s time,” says Janet Ozzard, executive editor of BabyCenter.
Packing in advance will also let you work calmly from a checklist of things that Mom will really use, says Samantha Huggins, CD, CBC, a certified birth doula, or childbirth assistant, and lactation counselor. “There’s usually a short list of stuff that Mom and her doctor, or midwife, know up front that she should bring,” Huggins says. Here’s some of what Huggins recommends her clients have with them on the big day.
- Your birth plan: Lots of parents have one, but in the excitement, some don’t remember to bring it along. This outline of how you and your partner want the hospital or birthing center to handle your delivery is an important tool to remind busy staff of Mom’s health needs (any allergies to medication?) and preferences in the delivery room (does she want an epidural, yes or no?) Include your doctor’s or midwife’s number, just in case.
- The car seat: It is possible to feel so overwhelmed, you forget that an additional, small person will be accompanying you on the return trip home. By law, your new baby must travel in a rear-facing car seat. Be sure you know how to correctly buckle in your little one, and stay updated on the latest safety regulations.
- Written reminders about the location of health- and auto-insurance ID cards: To protect your identity, never keep the cards in the car. Keep a folder containing these and other important documents near the front door. The note ensures that you bring it. This would be the worst time to discover you can’t find your policy ID card. Even better, download your ID card using our Mobile App.
- Comforts of home: Never underestimate how soothing it can be to bring along some reminders of home. If Mom has her own toiletries—shampoo, wash cloth, her coziest bathrobe and her favorite rhythmic music—these things can create a more soothing environment.
- Post-delivery snacks: Chances are Mom will be hungry after a long labor (her partner, too!) Depending on the hour, there’s no guarantee the hospital cafeteria will be open. Pack fresh and dried fruit, nuts, granola, and other healthy, energy-packed snacks.
- Non-skid socks or slippers: Pre-delivery, laboring parents sometimes need to walk through the halls to encourage labor. They’ll need footwear that’s comfy and safe.
- Gadgets: You’ll want a camera to document your newborn and fully charged cell phones for sharing the news with relatives and friends.
- A bag for swag: Hospitals often give freebies to mothers as a parting gift. Take everything from infant hats to diapers and shampoo. At home, you’ll use it all.
Now that the car is ready for your baby’s homecoming ride, review our tips for baby-proofing around your home to make sure all hazards are covered.
By Bao Ong