Hospital Bag Checklist for Expectant Fathers

When it comes to packing for the hospital, there are lots of lists for Mom's hospital bag when she goes into labor. But what about her partner? 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 Mom and baby. Being prepared will help make this experience even more enjoyable and make sure you have exactly what you need.

What Expectant Dads Should Pack

When selecting a bag, pick 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.

To save money, you can use a bag you already own. Good options include a laptop bag, duffle bag, backpack, overnight suitcase, or even a diaper bag that 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

Snacks

First and foremost, you need to maintain your strength throughout the birthing process. So consider what snacks you might want to include. Trail mix is a good choice, as are granola bars, or 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.

Toiletries

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.

Medications

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

You also should create a list 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 as well as a few coins could prove helpful if you want something from the vending machine or if you need to feed a parking meter.

Phone and Music

Although you cannot pack your phone ahead of time, you can pack extra charging cables as well as power banks that you can plug your phone into. You also may want to bring a list of phone numbers to call as a back-up to your contacts 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.

And, if you or your partner have some music that may help her through the process, make sure to create a special playlist.

Some couples prefer smooth jazz while others want classical music. Some may even want rock and roll, R&B, or rap. Whatever works for you, bring it along.

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

Other Electronics

You also should consider what additional electronics you might need such as bluetooth speakers, 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.

Just make sure that you chat in advance with your partner to determine what she prefers. 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.

Massage Oil

There are often times during the labor and delivery process when the expectant mom will appreciate a quality massage. Bringing a bit of your partner's favorite massage oil can really make a big difference in the experience.

You also might want to consider including her favorite essential oils and a diffuser if this is something that she finds calming. Ask if she has included it in her bag before packing it in yours though.

Clothing

If you are a light packer or a minimalist, fresh underwear, a clean shirt, and a pair of socks should be sufficient to keep you feeling clean and ready for anything. If your partner is having a C-section, though, pack several changes of clothes as well.

It also might be wise to include a warm sweatshirt, especially if the room is a little cool. Moms 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. You don't want photos posted of you online in a ratty old shirt.

Get creative with your clothing choices if you want and pack a shirt that reflects your favorite sports team or a favorite place. Ponder 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 bring any other bottled drinks that you might want such as Gatorade, Crystal Light, or Powerade.

Although your partner may have limits on what she can drink, you may appreciate having some variety. Just make sure you don't try to sneak any alcohol into your bag. The hospital might frown on that decision.

Pillow and Blanket

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

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

Push Present

A more recent trend, the push present, is a gift that a partner gives to Mom 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 that is just a bit on the extravagant side.

A Word From Verywell

Every partner heading to the hospital with their baby's mom needs to come prepared and ready. The contents of your hospital bag will help you be ready for anything to come and make the labor and delivery process better. Just be sure your bag is ready to go and easily accessible by the 36-week mark.

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

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