You need to pack your bag for the hospital, of course, and here are a few other last-minute items to add to your to-do list before you go into labor.
- Baby’s first laundry load. When you bring baby home, you’ll want some freshly laundered crib sheets and newborn-sized baby duds. New clothes and bedding are often treated with starch or other chemicals to keep them looking nice in the packaging and store, and this can make them scratchy and funny-smelling, so you’ll want to wash them before you use them. Wash in hot water using a fragrance-free detergent with no fabric softener before baby gets home. Bottles and nipples will need a good scrubbing, too, or you can run them through a dishwasher cycle. And by the way, you don’t need to buy special “baby” detergent for baby’s things, any unscented detergent is fine.
- Benefits checkup. Instead of getting shocked with a big bill, figure it out ahead of time what your health insurance will cover and how to add your new baby to your policy after birth. Call your insurance company’s toll-free number or speak with your company’s insurance person.
- The car seat. Gotta have one — it’s the law in all states. Most hospitals won’t let you drive away with your baby until someone checks that it’s safely installed in the back seat. Your local police or fire department may have a trained technician on board to help you get it put in safely. For more on car seat types and installation, check out The Car Seat Lady‘s page.
- Household supplies. You’ll need plenty of newborn-size diapers plus wipes, of course, but also load up on stuff like frozen entrees, stamps, envelopes, trash bags, paper towels, facial and toilet tissues, pet food and other household staples.
- Neighborly support. Ask a neighbor to bring in your mail and care for your pets while you’re giving birth and recovering.
- Hospital and Insurance paperwork. Fill out hospital admission forms in advance, and ask your doctor for duplicates of your medical records, and to initial your birth plan if you have one.
- Online bill pay. If you don’t already, now is a great time to arrange to pay your bills online. Time with your hands free will be at a premium after the baby comes home.