Get the scoop on what to pack in the hospital bag for dad, from the hospital bag must haves to extra items that will make your hospital stay go easier.
Most expecting dads, especially first-time parents, tend to overlook packing a bag for themselves. Chances are that the mom’s hospital bag has been well researched and packed many months in advance. However, the dad bag is an often-overlooked necessity that can reduce a lot of stress.
As a dad, you’re an essential support person during the wife’s pregnancy. A little planning goes a long way when the actual due date arrives, especially for the dad who will have to juggle a lot of activities after arriving at the hospital.
When To Start Packing the Hospital Bag
The best time to start packing your hospital bag is midway into the third trimester, usually about a month or two before the baby’s due date. This might seem really early for most first-time parents but it keeps you prepared for any unexpected surprises with the pregnancy.
When it comes to the actual contents, try to plan for about a two to three day stay. As the due date nears, trim the contents down to the bare necessities. The goal is to have a lightweight bag that won’t slow you down on the actual due date.
It is also a good idea to keep extras in your car to pick up later, including the baby bag and car seat. The last thing you want to do is make multiple trips to the pregnancy wing while your wife is in active labor.
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Must Haves for Hospital Bag
A stay at the hospital isn’t exactly the same as your average vacation or weekend trip. Nothing prepares you for having a baby and it’ll be months of little sleep, stress and worrying that you aren’t doing anything right.
Here’s a list of must haves for your hospital bag, designed to make your baby’s arrival a stress-free experience.
Most hospitals tend to have outlets in hard to access locations. The outlets usually are situated closer to the hospital bed which can be tough to reach especially if you have the standard 3 feet charging cable.
A long charging cable, preferably something that is 6 feet or longer, is crucial if you want to keep your phone charged during those long labor hours. The sleeper couch also tends to be a little further away from the hospital bed. With a long charging cable, you can actually watch some movies on the tablet while resting.
Try packing a variety of snacks that both you and your wife enjoy. Hospital food leaves a lot to be desired and having her favorite snacks will definitely make her happy.
It can be a couple of hours just waiting on the actual delivery once your partner goes into active labor. Having snacks readily available saves you some time from visiting the cafeteria.
In addition, hospital kitchens close at a certain time and you may have very few options with what’s left in the cafeteria afterwards. You don’t want to miss your baby’s arrival because you were eating stale cafeteria food, do you?
PRO TIP: Keep an open bag of candy, the real good stuff with chocolate, in your room and tell the nurses it’s for them. You’ll be immediately popular and maybe they’ll smuggle some extra jello for you.
Cash and Credit Cards
Make sure you have your credit cards and a few dollars’ worth of quarters in a small pouch. Most vending machines accept credit cards but in the off chance it doesn’t, then the loose change will come in handy.
Some employers actually reimburse cafeteria charges as part of their employee benefits program. Using credit cards during these transactions will help when you want to tally the total count to provide in the expense report.
The hospital will give you over the counter medication like Aspirin, Ibuprofen or Tylenol if you need it. However, they’ll probably charge you a hefty premium which you won’t realize until you receive the final bill.
Pack about two to three days’ worth of clothes for yourself. Focus on comfort because the pull-out couch you’ll be sleeping in is far from comfortable. Also, pack a hoodie or packable jacket because the rooms tend to be colder than what they’re set at.
If you’re in the US, and you’re near a Walmart, pick up a few pairs of Hanes joggers. The impossibly thin cotton ones. They are the most comfortable pants on earth, and you will want as much comfort in the hospital as you can get.
Slip On Shoes
As the chief errand runner during your wife’s pregnancy, you’re going to need some comfortable shoes. Try to pack or wear slip on shoes that are comfortable and have a firm grip.
You will also be standing for hours while your wife’s pushing the baby. Slip on shoes which have ample support will help you focus on supporting your wife instead of your feet killing you.
The hospital will provide travel sized toiletries. However, hospital toothbrushes tend to suck. I recommend bringing some travel sized toiletries of your own and plan on leaving them at the hospital.
There’s no need to bring back extra vectors for viruses into a home with a new baby.
Most hospitals will have cable TV for your entertainment while you wait on your wife’s cervix to be fully dilated. This is also a crucial time for your wife to catch some rest because the delivery process can be quite exhausting.
Packing a tablet with some pre-downloaded movies and a set of headphones will ensure you’re not disturbing her while she’s resting. If watching movies isn’t your thing, then a small paperback book will also suffice.
Your wife will have plenty of fluids provided to her. However, the amount they provide doesn’t include you in the calculation. Bring a water bottle that you can use to stay hydrated.
PRO TIP: Add water flavoring to your water so that you now have a juice like drink without breaking the budget. Avoid soda or carbonated drinks so that you don’t have to hold your farts especially when the room is full of medical staff tending to your wife.
Don’t forget your ID cards and essential insurance information. This will help you when you need to get the baby registered. It is a lot easier getting it done at the hospital especially when you have all documentation ready.
Pack all the above hospital bag must haves in a wheeled bag because you will be walking a lot from the parking lot to the actual labor ward. You may even have to transfer floors if there’s an unplanned C-Section procedure.
Extras to Keep in the Car
Now that you know what to pack in the hospital bag for dad, let’s look at what extras to keep in your car. The most important item is the car seat and, more importantly, the car seat manual. There’s nothing worse than trying to adjust it with a screaming kid in it and not knowing what to do.
The second hospital bag must have is a spare bag to bring back anything the hospital will let you take. Draw string backpacks make great spare bags because you can roll them to fit into your main bag until it’s time to fill them up. If you don’t have one you can also use empty garbage bags for dirty laundry and taking the stuff from the hospital.