Many websites, including thebump, have great lists for what you need and don'd need. It is never too early to pack but you may want to have your bag packed by week 36 and either by the front door or in your trunk. Leave a list of "last minute" items to grab on the door (camera, makeup bag, toothbrush) or carry those things in your purse if you leave the house. That way they're always with you just in case!
For me the only thing I really cared about having while in labor was my camera! And our batteries died before I started pushing so bring EXTRA BATTERIES!!!
For post partum care I liked having my own pajamas. But I wore the hospital's pads and fish netty underwear so I wouldn't ruin my own underwear. I tried wearing my own underwear and ruined a couple pairs before I realized I'd just wear the stupid mesh stuff. By the time you leave you're not bleeding as heavily so you can wear your own stuff.
You'll also need going home clothes for you and for baby.
Other than that I just had my makeup and toiletries. I never ever touch anything else and the hospital provides the pads, diapers, wipes, etc.
*Don't worry dear friends! We didn't forget our extra camera batteries. Just wanted people to remember to pack extras just in case! You'll want lots and lots of pics of baby.
I just packed mine over the weekend. I felt like I waited too long considering all of my scares, but I found this check list online. Site also noted that women usually have them packed around by around this time (34-36 weeks). =)
[ ] Insurance info, hospital forms and birth plan (if you have one)
[ ] 2-3 pairs of warm, nonskid socks that can get ruined (for walking the halls before and after labor)
[ ] A warm robe or sweater you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause
[ ] 2 maternity bras -- no underwire -- and nursing pads (whether or not you plan to nurse, you’ll appreciate the support and leak-protection)
[ ] Lip balm (hospitals are very dry)
[ ] Toiletries and personal items -- hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, makeup (as if), shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution (remember, travel-sized products are your friends)
[ ] Eyeglasses
[ ] Headband or ponytail holder (avoid clips -- they’ll probably poke you)
[ ] Sugar-free hard candy or lozenges to keep your mouth moist during labor (candy with sugar will make you thirsty)
[ ] Pen and paper
[ ] Lots of change for the vending machines and non-perishable snacks (you’ll probably be hungry after labor, and the hospital cafeteria could be closed)
[ ] Cell phone and charger, phone numbers of people to call after birth, prepaid calling card (if your hospital doesn’t allow cell phones)
[ ] Camera, film or extra memory card, battery or charger
[ ] A gym bag packed with a change of clothes and basic hygiene products for your partner
Take it or leave it:
[ ] Extra pillow (with a case that can get ruined, in a pattern distinguishable from hospital white)
[ ] Comfortable going-home clothes in six-month maternity size and flat shoes (or, just wear the clothes you came in… sorry, but they’ll probably still fit)
[ ] Bath towel (the hospital will likely supply a small, very thin one)
[ ] Hairdryer
[ ] Your favorite brand of soap, shampoo and heavy flow sanitary pads (the hospital supplies these things, but bring your own if you’re picky)
[ ] A few pairs of maternity underwear that can get ruined (the hospital will have disposable pairs, which some women find handy and others find gross)
[ ] A ruin-able nightgown (you can use those lovely hospital gowns, but your own might help you feel more human)
[ ] Breast pump, if you plan to use one
[ ] Slippers that can get dirty
[ ] Very light reading (think mags and newspapers, not War and Peace)
[ ] Your MP3 (loaded with your favorite tunes, of course)
[ ] Massage oil and tools like rolling pins or tennis balls, and lucky or inspirational objects (honestly, we doubt you'll use 'em…but feel free to prove us wrong!)
[ ] Any clothes or nighties you really like (they will get ruined)
[ ] Stopwatch (your nurse or a monitor will take care of timing contractions)
What to Bring For Baby:
[ ] Approved car seat
[ ] A coming-home outfit
[ ] Warm blankets (for the ride home)
Ashelen- nursing pillow is a GREAT idea! I brought my Boppy to my third birth and it made nursing so much easier!!!
That's so funny that you say that Joy, about 10 minutes ago I told my husband "we have a week to get a bunch of batteries" lol. Batteries, and if you want your own underwear bring old stuff that you don't mind tossing and if you have a preference of pads because they should supply some but they're gigantic. snacks, and all the items you need for your baby (although they'll supply those, you may want your own).
I also recommend hand lotion and chapstick. the stuff that some hospitals have that is supposed to pass for hand lotion dries you out more than not using it in the first place, lol.
I didn't pack my bag until I was about 36wks but as long as you won't need anything in your bag between now and the hospital stay you can pack as early as you want.
What i've always brought for me is:
2 sets of my own jammies (in case i get blood on one)
granny panties I get specifically for those messy times of the month LOL I hate those mesh thingies
(I usually just buy samples of the above to take)
couple pairs of socks
going home outfit - this should be somethign maternity or stretchy to be sure you are comfortable and can fit into it
something to occupy myself during labor (i usually bring a book to read or sodoku puzzles-something that occupies my mind)
extra batteries/memory cards
cell phone so I can call everyone and send pics
makeup but i rarely used it
going home/first pictures outfit-I generally choose 2-3 in diff sizes just in case.
baby book for the foot prints
carseat (usualy already installed in the car)
diaper bag stocked up for the trip home (can be left in the car)
As joy said pads, diapers, wipes, rash cream, formula, bottles etc are all provided by the hospital. Also if you choose to breast feed but need assistance via pumping most hospital can pumps you can borrow while there to use.
I have usually had my bags packed by 32 weeks and in the car just in case. I also install the carseat about that time too.