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Before You Deliver Pack your bags Consult the checklist "What to Pack for Delivery." Keep the suitcase near the door. To help you remember items you may still be using now, keep a list of them on top of the suitcase. Buy an infant car seat Start with the lightweight rear-facing kind designed for infants under 20 pounds. Be sure you read the installment instructions provided with the car seat and use a locking clip if one is recommended. Always install a car sear in the back seat where there is no air bag; the middle of the car is safest. Think through who will attend your birth Think hard before you give all interested parties the green light. Most experts advise against young children's presence. Even older children need careful preparation to attend a birth, as well as an adult (other than your partner) in charge of looking after them. Rehearse your trip to the hospital Be sure you know the way, including option for rush hour and what you'll do in case of problems such as snow. Make sure there's enough gas in the car at all times. Also be sure you know exactly where to enter the hospital. If you have an older child, have several backup plans for childcare. Pick your birth announcements Your options basically are 1. printed announcements. 2. preprinted announcements with blanks that you fill in by hand. 3. do-it-yourself announcements. Whichever you choose, pick up and address the envelopes now. Stock up on items you'll need after delivery The most frequently forgotten items are maximum-size sanitary pads, breast pads, lanolin, rubbing alcohol, prepackaged snacks and drinks, thank-you note and stamps, a reliable infant-care guide, and a week's worth of newborn diapers. Nice extra items are a cordless phone, a breakfast tray, and extra night gowns. Line up postpartum help It's imperative to have 24-hour, live-in help when you return from the hospital, whether it's your spouse, your mom, or someone else. If you can afford it, professional postpartum doulas assist with lactation advice, baby care, and recovery; like doulas who act as labor companions, their job is essentially to "mother the mother." Cook ahead and freeze meals, while you have the energy, and welcome all offers to bring you hot meals after the baby's birth.