Hospital Bag Checklist for Support Partners

When it comes to packing for the hospital, there are lots of lists for birthing parents. But what about their partners? They are often an active part of the process and will need to be prepared as well.

Having your own small hospital bag containing supplies for your role in the labor and delivery process is also wise. Keep in mind that you are often at the hospital the entire time, sometimes even sleeping in the room with the birthing parent and baby.

You also may want to take this time plan out a route to the hospital and make sure you're keeping the car gassed up. Being prepared will help make this experience even more enjoyable.

Choose a Bag and Pack Early

When selecting a bag, choose something that is durable, has lots of pockets and pouches, and is big enough to hold a travel pillow and blanket. Plan to pack your bag for the hospital when your partner packs their bag, which is usually around 35 to 36 weeks pregnant.

You can use a bag you already own. Good options include a laptop bag, duffle bag, backpack, overnight suitcase, or even a diaper bag you plan to repurpose later. For ideas on what to include in your bag, check out this list.

How should dad pack for the hospital?
Verywell / JR Bee

Comfort Items to Pack

Labor, delivery, and recovery can be a long process. Both you and your partner may need items like these to help make your time in the hospital more comfortable.


You need to maintain your strength throughout the birthing process. So consider what healthy snacks you might want to include. Trail mix is a good choice, as are granola bars or whole-grain crackers.

Try to stay away from snacks with onion or garlic—your partner will appreciate that—and include items that are not perishable. You can always grab a few pieces of fruit as you head out the door. But in case you forget, include some dry snacks in your bag.


Pack a toothbrush, floss, mouthwash, mints, and breath-freshening gum. Keeping your teeth clean and breath fresh will make a big difference and make you feel better overall.

You also should consider packing deodorant, facial cleansing wipes, hand sanitizer, and spare contacts or contact lens solution—anything you think you might need when you are unable to shower but want to freshen up.


You will want to pack antacids and your own pain relievers just in case you end up with a headache, a sore back, or an upset stomach. The hospital staff might provide pain relievers for you but at $4 a pill, that could get a little costly.

Create a checklist of last-minute items and include any medications that you take daily that cannot be packed in advance. Once you're done packing, attach this list to the bag so that you don't walk out of the house without things that you need.

Small Bills and Change

It's always a good idea to have some cash on hand, but in this case you may appreciate it more than you might realize. Having access to small denominations and a few coins could prove helpful if you want something from the vending machine or if you need to feed a parking meter that doesn't accept cards.


Although you cannot pack your phone ahead of time, you can pack extra charging cables and power banks you can plug your phone into. You also may want to bring a list of phone numbers as a back-up to your contact list on your smartphone. There will be grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends waiting for news of the baby's arrival and Mom's status.

Add your phone to the checklist of last-minute items to bring when you're finished packing. Remember, you might be a little frazzled once those contractions start and your partner goes into labor. So having a list to reference will help ensure you don't forget anything, especially something as important as your phone.

Other Electronics

Consider what additional electronics you might need, like ear buds, headphones, tablets, e-readers, and so on. You also may want to include a camera or video camera if you prefer not to use your phone to document those first few moments and hours. And don't forget the chargers!

Chat in advance with your partner to determine what they prefer. Remember, during the heat of labor and transition, you will be helping your partner through the labor process, so you won't need a lot of electronics. But, they are nice to have for capturing special moments or to use during quiet periods.


Fresh underwear, a clean shirt, and a pair of socks should be sufficient to keep you feeling clean and ready for anything. It also might be wise to include a warm sweatshirt in case the room is a little cool.

Parents in labor often feel warm and may turn the thermostat down in order to keep cool. If this is the case, you will be thankful that you have something extra to put on. Some partners also find that having comfortable shoes and pajamas on hand are helpful as well.

You also may want to pack a special shirt for pictures. Remember that there will be lots of pictures of you, your partner, and the baby. Consider how you want to be represented in the photos and bring that shirt along.

Reusable Bottle and Beverages

Both you and your partner will need to stay hydrated throughout the labor and delivery process. So bring some reusable water bottles along. You also may want to include any other refreshing bottled drinks you might want, such as Gatorade, Crystal Light, or Powerade. Although your partner may have limits on what they can drink, you may appreciate having some variety.

Pillow and Blanket

It's helpful to pack a travel pillow or neck pillow and an extra blanket. Although the hospital sometimes supplies partners with a blanket and pillow, it is good to be prepared. If would prefer a larger, more comfortable pillow, add it to the checklist of last-minute items that is attached to your bag. That way, you can always grab it on your way out the door.

Many partners report that a good, comfortable pillow makes all the difference when spending the night on a cot or just dozing in a rocker or recliner in the room. Some partners even put a lightweight sleeping bag in the car just in case the room is really cold and they need something warmer.

Supplies to Help Support Your Partner

Labor can be long and draining. As your partner's support person, you can help by bringing along items that will help them manage pain (and even boredom).


Together with your partner, create a labor and delivery playlist full of music that will help inspire and comfort them. Bring along a bluetooth speaker (with charging cord) so that you can play the music in the hospital room.

Massage Oil

There can be times during the labor and delivery process when the laboring parent will appreciate a soothing massage. Bringing a bit of your partner's favorite massage oil can really make a big difference in the experience. Diffusing their favorite essential oils is another way to help them relax. Pack them in a sealed bag to prevent them from leaking.

Push Present

A more recent trend, the push present, is a gift that a partner gives right after the baby is born. Push presents can include jewelry, an art object, a gift certificate, an electronic reader, or anything your partner would appreciate to mark the occasion. You know your partner best, so pick something that will communicate your love and appreciation.

A Word From Verywell

Every support partner heading to the hospital needs to come prepared and ready. The contents of your hospital bag will help you stay comfortable and ready for anything to come. Be sure your bag is ready to go and easily accessible by the 36-week mark.

And, don't forget your checklist of last-minute items. This list will keep you from walking out the door without your devices, medications, and anything else that you cannot pack in advance.

By Wayne Parker
Wayne's background in life coaching along with his work helping organizations to build family-friendly policies, gives him a unique perspective on fathering.