If you’re expecting a baby, you’ll want to do everything you can to prepare for this exciting time. There’s a lot of focus on packing a bag for mom to give birth at the hospital–and rightfully so! But we can’t forget about dad–he’ll want to have a bag packed as well.
With such a wide range of experiences during labor, it’s impossible to predict how things will go or how long you will be at the hospital. It’s best to bring everything you might need–better to overpack than to be missing something important!
Remember that mom might go into labor early, so pack your bag early. We recommend having your bag stocked and ready to go by the time mom is 35 weeks along. This way if she does have an early labor, you’ll be prepared.
Not everything can be packed this early of course. Keep a list of last-minute things posted by your bag so you’ll remember. Things like your phone, charger, and fresh snacks will be last minute additions.
Making a checklist is handy to ensure you pack everything you need. It will also be helpful when you’re getting ready to go home and want to make sure you aren’t leaving anything behind at the hospital.
Let’s take a look at this ultimate hospital packing list for dad.
Choosing a Bag
Choose a bag that lets you find things easily and that you can organize well. This can be a duffel bag, a backpack, or other large bag.
A bag with lots of pockets can be helpful for separating items. In the intensity of labor and delivery, you’ll want to be able to grab items quickly without having to rummage through the whole bag.
Be sure to pack all necessary documentation related to your hospital stay, particularly your insurance coverage. Make sure you have your driver’s license or other type of photo ID.
Mom will have a copy of her birth plan, but pack an extra just in case. This should outline all of mom’s preferences for labor and delivery, such as preferred positions during labor and pain relief options.
Make sure that you are very familiar with the birth plan. During the labor, mom will likely be exhausted, and you will need to be the one advocating for what she wants. If there will be other family members or friends present, ensure they know what the birth plan includes.
You might be at the hospital for a while so bring comfortable clothes like sweats or pajamas and a robe. Especially if you end up staying overnight, you’ll be glad to have something cozy to wear.
Bring a clean change of clothes including socks and underwear. If you have to spend a day or two in the hospital, a fresh set of clothing will feel great. And if you’re taking photos with the new baby, a change of clothes will let you look your best.
Hospitals are notorious for having unreliable and inconsistent temperatures, so pack accordingly. Bring a t-shirt as well as a sweater.
If there is a birthing pool that may be used, be sure to pack your swim trunks and extra towels. While dad doesn’t always go in the water, it’s nice to have the option.
Any prescription or over-the-counter medications that you take regularly should be packed in case you need to stay for a few days.
Be sure to bring some ibuprofen or acetaminophen to take if you get a headache. It can also come in handy for a sore back after you’ve spent the night trying to sleep in a hospital chair.
Bring a pair of comfortable shoes to wear during your time at the hospital. You might also consider slippers, but be sure that these are non-slip.
Closed-toe shoes are a must. Generally hospitals will not allow people in operating rooms without these. Since there’s always a chance of a caesarean section, don’t wear sandals!
If your hospital has a shower that you’ll have access to, bring a pair of shower shoes. These will protect your feet from any bacteria that might be lingering on the shower floor.
Bring those items that will allow you to freshen up at the hospital or that you routinely use in the mornings or at night. Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss are essential! You’ll also want to bring deodorant and a hairbrush or comb.
If you will have access to a shower, consider bringing shampoo, conditioner, soap, and a razor, as these may not be supplied. A set of wet wipes are a great alternative if there are no shower facilities.
Phone And Charger
Ensure that you bring your phone with you and don’t forget the charger! You will want to contact your friends and family to let them know when the baby has arrived. Make sure your list of contacts has up-to-date phone numbers for everyone.
Consider uploading a music playlist to your phone to listen to during the labor and delivery. Make sure to consult with mom first to see what songs she would prefer. If you have a portable speaker, bring that along too.
Your phone will be useful for taking all those pictures of the new baby once he or she arrives. If you like, you can also bring an actual camera along with its charger.
Hospital beds–and chairs–aren’t known for being particularly comfortable. If you anticipate being in the hospital overnight, it’s worth bringing your own pillow from home to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Extra blankets are always useful too since hospital temperatures can fluctuate. A couple of light-weight throws will keep you and mom cozy and warm.
Book Or Magazines
You might have some downtime while you’re at the hospital. Consider bringing something to do, ideally a quiet activity so as not to disrupt mom while she’s resting.
Books, magazines, and crossword puzzles are great. You could also have some podcasts or audiobooks on your phone to listen to–don’t forget the headphones!
Food And Water
We all know hospital food isn’t the most tasty option out there, so pack some snacks for your stay. Choose foods that will keep your energy up and don’t require preparation. Trail mix, fruit, granola, and protein bars are ideal.
Having healthy snacks will help to keep your energy up so that you can provide the support your partner needs when in labor. Also include mom’s favorite snacks if she hasn’t included these in her own bag.
It is important to stay hydrated, so bring bottled water or a reusable water bottle that you can fill up at the hospital. Juice or sports drinks are other good options and provide extra energy.
You’ll want to bring some loose change in case you need it for parking or if you get a craving for food from the vending machines. These don’t always take debit or credit cards, so having a handful of change is recommended.
A debit or credit card should also be included in case of emergencies or any unexpected expenses that pop up. Some hospitals require a credit card to use the television sets in the room which may provide some entertainment before or after the birth.
Name Of Mom’s Favorite Restaurant
After the labor and delivery, mom will likely be starving and wanting a good meal. Instead of hospital food, get mom something delicious from her favorite restaurant.
Make sure you’ve got the phone number for the restaurant so you can order food to be delivered. Have a couple of 24-hour options in case the birth happens in the middle of the night.
The hospital will want to see that you have a proper car seat before you take the baby home. This is not something you want to leave until the last minute. Car seats can be tricky to install, so give yourself plenty of time to learn how to do this.
You can install the car seat as early as you like, preferably around 35 weeks. Having this completed well in advance so you’re not caught unprepared at the last minute!
A Gift For Mom
Commonly referred to as a push present, a gift for mom after the delivery is a lovely gesture. After the hard work of labor and delivery, it’s nice to give mom something that will show your love and appreciation for her.
This gift can be anything from jewelry to clothing to a gift certificate for a massage–the important thing is you choose something that will make her feel special.
Packing a bag for dad will help to ensure a smoother hospital experience. While it’s a stressful time, being prepared can go a long way to making things easier. Our hospital packing list for dad has everything you’ll need.
Once you’ve packed your bag, and mom has packed hers, you can rest easy knowing you’ve prepared as best you can for this moment.