I get it. When you are huge and pregnant, you barely have the motivation to pack your own bags for the hospital let alone think about your partner. At the end of my pregnancy I kept asking my husband to pack his hospital bag. He kept telling me he would do it “tonight.”
Well for us, tonight came after I was already in the hospital and he had to go back home to grab his stuff.
In hindsight, I wish I would have thrown a few things in my hospital bag that would have made his life easier and not left this up to him.
There are a ton of great suggestions out there for what to bring in a hospital bag for mom and baby, so I am not trying to reinvent the wheel here for that. But we can’t forget the person in this equation that made everything possible!
Which is why I am sharing my hospital bag checklist for dad…
Our new daddy survival kit
1. Ear plugs
During your stay at the hospital everyone and everything is going to be waking you up. The nurses will come in, the baby will cry, you will toss and turn because the bed is so uncomfortable. Basically you are going to be exhausted from all this and when the night runs into the day someone needs to be fresh and rested to take care of you!
The ear plugs will help dad sleep through all this noise so he can be your rock the next day. He will be able to hold the baby while you shower and nap, give you back massages, and just generally watch out for you.
2. Sleep mask
In addition to ear plugs, it is a good idea to stash a sleep mask in your dad bag. The nurse will need some light to be able to assist you through your 2 am breastfeeding attempts! Sometimes you just have to sit back and let the professionals do their job…but don’t bother waking up dad. You need him to go get the coffee the next morning.
3. Protein bars
Throw about 4 of these in your bag. The reason being, you do not know when you little bundle will be coming. It could be in the middle of the night when dad is in stage MAN sleep cycle. (I don’t know about you but my man could sleep through hurricane Katrina.)
Waking a man from sleep can cause them to be extremely vulnerable and may lead to them passing out while driving you to the hospital.
Dads need to keep up their strength to hold your leg at 2 am. The protein bars are necessary for him to persevere.
4. Portable speaker
It was absolutely necessary to have music in our room throughout labor and during our hospital stay.
While in labor it provides both you and your partner momentum. During the long days at the hospital, music can brings peace to your not-so-hotel-like environment. The Bose portable speaker has been our favorite due to the sound quality, battery life, and fun colors.
5. Comfortable slippers
Dad needs to have something cozy to walk down the halls with you as you try to work out all the extra fluids you received in labor. Providing a small comfort object like slippers will help him feel more relaxed while you are staying in the hospital.
The hospital pillows aren’t very comfortable. And at times they don’t have enough pillows to go around, so dad could get left out. Since he will likely be sleeping on a hard chair bed or cot, I soft pillow from home will add to his comfort.
7. Oral rehydration salts
These are the best things ever for oral hydration (hence the name). ORS comes in little packets that can be added to your water bottle. It provides the same essential electrolytes as gatorade without all the sugar and dye. Not to mention these packets are so much lighter to tote around than a bunch of gatorade.
Pop a couple of these in his bag in case the labor ends up going on for a while. He will probably be sweating and fretting over you, therefore when it is all said and done he will need to rehydrate. You can purchase packs of oral rehydration solution on Amazon..
8. Massage oil
Delivering a baby puts strain on the body whether its accomplished through natural birth or via c-section. With my first labor, I didn’t know how to push. I wound up tensing up my entire body and the next day I was VERY sore!
I wish I would have thought to bring massage oil to the hospital. This would have really helped speed my recovery and work out all the extra IV fluids.
This is something small to put in dad’s hospital bag so he can thank you for the hard work of delivering his child!
9. Push present
It is becoming an accepted part of culture to get mama-to-be a present for bringing a baby into the world (YAY). A “push” present could be something as simple as a thoughtful note but as extravagant as a piece of jewelry. Either way, a small token is a nice way to celebrate the birth of a baby!
10. A notebook
If you are planning on breastfeeding it is a good idea to pack a notebook and pen. You can use this to jot down the last time baby ate, for how long, and the last wet diaper. Having some notes to refer to helps alleviate some stressing over making sure your baby is nursing often enough.
It is also great to be able to write down any questions you may have for the doctor and future appointment times.
As a side note you can add all these notes to your baby’s scrapbook! It is cool to look back and see what you went through and how far you have come, especially as first time parents.
We sure are doing a lot of talk about letting dad get a bunch of sleep! Well don’t worry mommies, he is definitely going to be jumping in on the sleep loss train.
From my experience, dads aren’t able to function as well with less sleep like moms are. So it’s a good idea to start boosting their immune system with plenty of extra vitamins. You don’t want to have to take care of two people!
Make sure the vitamins you get are made from whole food so they are bioavailable. They are a bit more expensive but you are actually absorbing and using most of the nutrients vs passing through the system undigested.
Related post: How to support him in becoming a new dad.
Related post: How to survive the first few days home with a newborn.