Becoming a new Dad is both exciting and scary. While your partner may well have a hospital bag that seems to contain everything you could possibly need, there are some things you’ll need to see you through labour and delivery. Below we’ll describe everything you’ll need for your new Dad hospital bag.
New Dad Hospital Bag Essential Number One – Snacks!
Labour can go on for days, and while we hope it won’t, you need to be prepared for the possibility. I’m sure you’ve seen on films and TV that the minute the Dad leaves the delivery room, the baby comes. While that isn’t a real life “thing” your partner probably still won’t be keen on you wondering off to find food. By packing some healthy snacks, you can stay with your partner, without starving.
Good Hospital Snacks for Dad
This is a list of fairly healthy snacks to help you keep your energy up during labour. Avoid high sugar foods as your partner needs you focussed, not dealing with a sugar crash!
- Trail Mix
- Granola bars
- Dry cereal
- Protein bars
- Nuts (as long as there are no allergies)
- Baked crisps
Drink Options for Dad’s Hospital Bag
Staying hydrated is really important so a reusable water bottle is going to be an essential part of any new Dad’s hospital bag. You might also consider packing some of the following for an emergency energy hit.
- Energy Drink
- Iced Coffee
- Coca Cola
- Hot coffee in a flask if you have time to make it
Things to Pass the Time
You might be surprised to hear this but the early stages of labour are boring, really boring. While I don’t advocate ignoring your partner if they feel up to engaging with you, it’s good to take a few distractions in your hospital bag. These can be things you can do alone, and things you can do with your partner if they are bored too. If they have an epidural so aren’t feeling much pain they might want some entertainment. My poor husband wished he’d taken more things to entertain himself as I went totally into myself during labour and barely spoke for hours!
Dad’s Hospital Bag Entertainment Suggestions
- A Book – Ask your partner if they’ve packed one too, something light you can dip in and out of is best
- An Audiobook – You’ll want to discuss this one with your partner but listening to an audiobook together can pass the time for both of you in a way that doesn’t require much effort
- Magazines – Magazines are great because you can skim read them and just read a short article while your partner is resting
- Kindle – If you have a Kindle you can download a salection of both books and magazines
- A pack of cards – If you and your partner enjoy card games then pop a pack of playing cards in your hospital bag
- Puzzles – A puzzle book with something like sudoku that you can do alone or crosswords that you can do together is useful
- Trivia Questions – Challenge each other to answer general knowledge questions to pass the time
- Handheld Games Console – You’ll definitely want to discuss this with your partner first as they might feel this is a distraction too far but its worth considering
- A Speaker – If you and your partner want to listen to music during labour then a standalone speaker will give you better quality sound than playing music through your phone speaker
Bits and Pieces to Include in a New Dad Hospital Bag
These are things that will likely come in handy during the long hours at the hospital.
Things to Pack to Keep you Comfortable
- Inflatable neck pillow – This will help to make you more comfortable if you nap in a chair
- Lip balm – The heat in hospital rooms make this very useful
- Tissues – I’m not saying you’ll cry when you become a new Dad, but I’m not saying you won’t!
- Things to keep your breath fresh – As you might be at the hospital for a long time, a travel size toothpaste and toothbrush is useful, or at least some breath mints
- Deodorant – for the comfort of those around you more than your own!
Practical Items to Pack in Your Hospital
- Change for the car park – or if payment is via an app, make sure you have the right app downloaded and your card details saved on it
- Change for the vending machine – While you will hopefully avoid this by taking snacks, it’s best to have a pack up plan
- Contact numbers – Make sure you have contact numbers for all the people you’ll want to tell when the baby is born, either in your phone or on paper
- A phone charger – As you never know when you’ll have to go to the hospital and if your phone will be charged at that moment, make sure you pack a phone charger and ideally an emergency power pack so that you can charge it even if there are no sockets available in the hospital room
- Medication – Pack any medication you take regularly along with some basics like painkillers, don’t forget contact lenses if you wear them
Other useful Items
- If your partner has a birth plan, ask for a copy of it, while she’s in pain she will need you to advocate for her so make sure you’re familiar with the birth plan and have a copy to refer to
- If you haven’t chosen a name, take your lists of possible names with you, when the baby is born you can refer to it
- Cameras – If you have a digital camera or a video camera and would like better quality results than your phone will give you then you’ll want to pack these
Don’t forget your baby’s Car Seat as you won’t be allowed to leave the hospital without it (I say this from experience!)
Clothes for Comfort
When planning your new dad Hospital bag, you should also think about what you want to wear during labour and delivery. While you might be taken by surprise and have to go to the hospital in whatever you’re wearing at the time, labour is often a slow process and there’s a good chance you’ll have time to change.
Here’s what you should consider:
- Shoes – My number one piece of advice is to wear comfy shoes. You will likely be on your feet a lot, rubbing your partners back and generally encouraging them and if your shoes aren’t comfortable it will be harder to stay positive.
- Trousers or Shorts – Hospitals tend to be hot places so if you are the type of person who gets hot easily then I recommend you consider shorts. Even if you decide not to wear them, you can pack a pair in your hospital bag that you can change into.
- Top – While you might be keen to look your best when you become a new Dad, comfort is more important. You’re also likely to be holding a newborn baby and they are pretty icky when they first come out! Avoid your Sunday best and choose a simple T-shirt for the labour and delivery. You can always pack a nicer top for the photos.
- Take a hoody – While it’s more likely you’ll be hot, in the early stages you might be sat still for a long time so a hoody to keep you warm is useful.
- Take a change of clothes – Birth involves a lot of bodily fluids and babies also have plenty of their own so pack a change of clothes in your hospital bag just in case.
- Swimwear – If your partner hoping for a water birth, so that you can go in and support her
Free Printable New Dad Hospital Bag Checklist PDF
To make your life easier we’ve created a free new Dads hospital bag checklist that you can print out and tick off all of the items as you pack them. To download the hospital bag checklist, just click on the image of it below.
New Dad Hospital Bags and COVID-19
It’s a good idea to check in advance if there are any items that you aren’t allowed to take into hospital because if COVID-19 or items they insist you have. Things to consider include:
- Masks – make sure you have more than one in case you lose it and make sure it’s comfortable, you may be wearing it a long time
- Hand Sanitiser – I’m really picky about hand sanitiser and always take my own everywhere, that way you can choose one that doesn’t irritate your skins and also drys quickly
The push present is a recent fashion where you give your partner a gift to thank them for pushing your baby out. It is a nice way to show your appreciation for what they have a been through and having it in your hospital bag means you can give it to your partner in the moment when you’re feeling most in awe of what they’ve just done.
What Sort of bag Should You Use
The only real requirements for a hospital bag is that it’s big enough, sturdy and closes so that nothing falls out. A plastic carrier bag or shopping bag are not good options!
Find out what type of bag your partner is using as you’ll probably be carrying both. If she has a holdall, consider a rucksack so you can out it on your back and carry hers in your hand. If she has a rucksack, you can go for a holdall or shoulder bag like a satchel. If you’re planning to have your own changing bag once baby is born you could buy one now and use that.
When Should you Pack your Dads Hospital Bag?
At the latest, you’ll want your new dads hospital bag packed by 36 weeks but as babies sometimes come sooner than we expect, there’s no harm in having it packed earlier. My husband left his to the last minute and ended up rushing to the shops when my contractions started to pick up snacks!
Other Preparation New Dads Should Do for Labour and Delivery
As well as making sure you have a hospital go back ready, there are some other things that Dads to be can do to prepare for the big day.
- Plan your route to the hospital – Make sure you know the best way to get to the hospital as well as some alternatives routes you can use if traffic bad or roads are closed. Check the route on a navigation system at different times of the day so you know how long it will take with different traffic levels.
- Know where to park and where the entrance is – Hospital car parks can be confusing things, make sure you visit beforehand to work out where you’ll need to park and where the entrance to the labour ward is. You can also find out how you pay for parking while you’re there.
- Make sure your car has fuel – Once your partner is pregnant, try to make sure there is always enough fuel in the car to get to the hospital
- Plan for last minute items – Speak to your partner and make a list of the items that can’t be added to the hospital bag until the last minute, like phones and keys. When it’s go time, grab the list and get everything ticked off.
- Create a list of everyone who needs to know that your partner is in labour so you can contact then once you’re settled at hospital
- Familiarise yourself with your partner’s birth plan – You’ll be her advocate so you need to make sure you’re clear on her wishes
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