I sat across from Kristen as she prepared her hospital bag for when labor begins. She carefully folded up outfits and gently placed them in her bag. I looked around, grabbed some t-shirts and jeans and threw them into a duffle. I pondered a bit, then emptied the rest of a box of protein bars to complete my packing list. But, I wondered, “What kinds of things should be in a new dad hospital bag?”
I couldn’t find great content online, but I threw the question out to my Facebook friends and I was overwhelmed by the response. I got so many good ideas that I had to share just a few.
New Dad Hospital Bag: 17 Things to Prepare and Bring
Labor can be quick or it can be a long process (I’ve heard up to 52 hours!). Prepare for the latter. As I said earlier, I packed protein bars, but those can get old real quick. So I also packed beef jerky and trail mix. You may want to also find out what restaurants are near the hospital as well.
Unless you’ve hired a professional to document the labor process, you’ll want to bring your own camera. I’m bringing a couple of options with my Canon and GoPro.
3. Push Present
I’ll be expanding on this in a future post, but bring a token of gratitude. She’ll appreciate the gesture considering she carried a baby for most of the year. Push gifts are becoming common practice. Some ideas: photo books, jewelry, a balloon bouquet, or flowers. Have a phone number for a florist on hand to order the flowers.
Pack the basics (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant) in your new dad hospital bag. Since you might be in the hospital for an extended period, consider bringing shampoo, soap, face wash, a comb, and styling product.
Bring some reading. Whether it’s for pure entertainment or practical purpose, reading material can fill some time during the waiting period. One of our friends, Kathy (who also wrote a great article on being a mother), sent me The New Dad’s Playbook and one of my gym buddies recommended The Baby Sleep Solution.
6. Labor Ball/Fitness Equipment
When Kristen’s not using the labor ball, I’ll be doing crunches. In case that gets old, I packed some ab rollers too.
7. Battery Lit Candles/Diffusers
Most hospitals don’t allow candles in the delivery room. However, Kristen wanted mood lighting and essential oils, so I packed some battery operated candles into my new dad hospital bag. She also has an Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser she wants me to bring to use with the essential oils.
8. Chargers/Charging Strip
Since we are bringing our phones, cameras, and the Aromatherapy Diffuser, we may encounter limited outlets. So, I packed a charging strip just to be prepared.
9. Swim Trunks and Flip Flops
One of our friends noted some hospitals allow laboring in tubs or pools. Or, if she opts not to do an epidural, laboring in a hot shower is an option. In this case, you might want to bring some trunks and flip flops to join her.
10. Blanket and Pillows
Many of our friends noted we should bring our own pillows and blankets since the hospital ones can be uncomfortable.
Pictures, even videos, can only capture so much. Journaling the experience, or even blogging (like I will be doing), can provide another medium to document and share your emotions and thoughts.
The nutritious snacks you packed might fall outside of her laboring taste buds. Even you might crave a bag of Doritos or Grandma’s Cookies from the vending machine. Bring some cash and coinage in your new dad hospital bag just in case.
13. Headache/Sleep Aids
Your pillows and blankets might not cut it. My wife’s been taking Unisom for most of her pregnancy. Trying to sleep on a hospital couch half the size of her bed is a great opportunity to try a sleeping pill put yourself. Limited sleep may also bring on a headache, so pack some ibuprofen too.
14. Refillable Water Bottles
Being a semi meathead, carrying gallon jugs around the gym is just part of my routine. Since I’ll most likely be running sprints down the hallways, the hospital is a great spot for gallons too. But if your a bit more conscientious of your reputation than me, portable water bottles will be your solution.
15. Portable Speakers/Headphones
I’d say my wife and I are pretty much aligned on almost everything…except music. As a kind gesture, I’ll pack portable speakers into my new dad hospital bag so she can blast her early 2000s pop mix. But I’ll also be packing noise cancelling headphones simultaneously for myself.
According to some of my friends, the hospital rooms reach arctic temperatures. That may be because delivering a baby is say, quite strenuous. Nevertheless, sweats are comfy, and may prove useful for sleeping as well.
We’ve always been about upholding good traditions on this site. I want to be a part of the time-honored tradition of smoking a cigar even if it’s to smoke a couple of puffs and rocket launch it afterwards.
Not all of these may be applicable to you. After posing the question to my Facebook friends, I felt overwhelmed. I thought I was going to have to order a moving truck just to bring half of the items. When it comes down to it, you can make it without all of these items, except the mom-to-be.