It might seem over the top to have a hospital bag for dad.
After all, what does he really need a hospital bag for?
That, my friend is where you err.
You see, dads play a mighty important role in the birth of their babies. Read this Cochrane research on the important role of birth partners to women in labour.
One major thing they do is supporting you- the wife. But how can expectant fathers support their partners during labour when the dads are tired, frazzled and spent?
This is a major reason why dads need to have a hospital bag. To ensure that they are in optimal shape to help you during labour.
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When I had my first baby, back in 2018, I ended up having to stay back in hospital for 5 extra days
I HATED every minute of it! (Well, maybe apart from the food. Unlike everybody else, I love hospital food, yeah, I know, I’m the exception!).
Anyways, my husband couldn’t stay with me on the ward except on the last day.
When he did stay back though, he needed a couple of things to make his stay as comfortable as it could possibly get.
Hence, his hospital bag.
READERS ALSO LOVE: How To Support Your Wife In Labour.
Even though it’s unlikely many dads will be sleeping in the labour wards with everything going on in 2021. You still want to be prepared.
What if your baby comes in the wee hours of the morning? Or you have been laboring all night etc?
That’s a night stay for you and dad. And a lot can be needed in ONE night.
One more thing, if you’ve been putting off taking a birthing class, it’s not too late to take this fantastic prenatal class by Liesel at Mommy Labor Nurse and get super ready to meet your little one.
A Few Things for Dads to Note Before Baby’s Birth
1. The shortest route to hospital
Knowing in advance the shortest distance to the hospital and how long it will take is a smart thing.
As the dad, you want to be confident in your choices when your wife is in labour, and not second guessing yourself.
2. Practice how to strap in the car seat
Remember, when Kate Middleton gave birth to Prince George and Prince William had to strap in young George in the car?
Yup, that’s the work of daddy! Learning how to do this beforehand will be very handy.
If you don’t have a car, try to practise with a friend’s or family’s car. That’s what we did with our first son. My hubby practiced strapping in the car seat with my brother-in-law’s car!
3. Antenatal or Birthing Classes
Antenatal classes help to give you confidence about what to expect before, during and after labour.
I highly recommend that dads attend one. Here’s the birthing class I recommend for couples.
There are some free antenatal classes run by the NHS. Some are private and paid. You can watch some free antenatal classes on YouTube.
4. Get familiar with changing nappies
Without question, you will be doing loads of this when your baby is born.
To make this easier, you could try practicing on a baby dummy now. Or get ready to start doing lots of nappy changes when your baby is born.
5. Discuss wife’s birth plan beforehand
Knowing your wife’s birth plan before D-Day is a great thing to do! This is one of the best ways to support your wife during labour.
6. Learn basic photography tips to take the first pictures
You might find yourself acting as an amateur photographer during labour and birth.
Especially now in a pandemic, it might not be possible to get a professional photographer into the labour room.
So, go online and learn a few tricks or two about taking newborn photography to capture those precious, precious moments.
Hospital Bag List for Dad: Everything He Needs
Change of clothes
Pack a change of clothes or two.
Birth can be unpredictable. You never know how long you’ll be in for. Having a change of clothes on you can help you freshen up and feel more awake when you need to be.
Also, pack a shirt for skin to skin with baby, these type are really popular and super cool too!
Next to clothes is shoes. Comfy shoes are essential. You’ll likely be standing or moving around a lot. Wear something you’ll be comfortable in like these.
If your partner is planning for a water birth and wants you in there, you should pack some trunks or swim shorts along.
If you stay the night, then you need clean underwear. Yes, you can shower in the hospital.
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Well, I guess this doesn’t need any explanation!
To keep you smelling clean, good and nice.
If you wear them, pack ’em.
Put in your hospital bag any medications you use regularly because like I’ve said, you never know how long you’ll be at the hospital or birthing centre.
Sometimes, the lights are left on the labour ward. Having eye masks on will help you have a good sleep even if it’s just a 15 minutes nap.
Just like with the eye masks, pack earplugs in your dad’s hospital bag so that you can sleep better whenever that is.
Neck pillow & Pillow
With long labours, inductions, and epidurals, there will be lots of moments to sleep.
Times, when all everyone is doing, is waiting for darling baby. This is when a good pillow and neck pillow come in.
Most times, dads will be sat in a chair. Trust me that’s not the most comfortable position. So, a neck pillow will help make dad feel much more comfortable, while he rests.
Another tool for a good rest for dad in the hospital.
FOOD AND DRINKS
Lots of Snacks
It’s easy to focus on mum and forget dad during labour.
The reality though is dad can get very hungry and need to plan ahead and pack snacks in his hospital bag.
Hospital restaurants close and you need to be fortified to help your wife in labour.
Refillable water bottle for convenience
Bring along a refillable water bottle.
There’s usually always water and a midwife will bring some if you ask. But having a refillable water bottle on you makes this so much easier.
You just fill up the bottle and you’re good.
Energy drinks like Lucozade Boost, are great to give you that extra bit of energy.
Especially when you are so tired and need to keep going for your wife and baby. Buy these ahead and add it to your hospital bag.
Favourite takeout details
A great idea is to note your favourite takeout hours, delivery and so on. This way, you can order in before they close (if they do close) when you are famished or after birth for your wife.
Phones and phone charger
You will need to put at least one phone charger into your hospital bag.
Don’t count on the health officials to have a charger to match your phone. Just bring yours to avoid stories that touch and an upset wife!
Many times, the sockets are in awkward corners. An extension cord will help you avoid bending your neck in strange angles just to use your phone as you charge it.
Laptop/tablet + Charger
A good source of entertainment is a fantastic idea. Long labours, epidurals and inductions can leave you with plenty time on hand to get bored.
Camera + batteries
To capture all those first memorable moments.
Movies and games to kill the boredom and take your mind off what’s happening.
Get Bluetooth speakers to play affirmations, hypnobirthing music, labour playlists and so on.
Because at some point, you may want to be wrapped up in your own world and attain inner peace.
For hands-free filming during a pandemic, if your hospital allows filming.
Your hospital may not allow a professional photographer in, so having a tripod stand will ensure you capture the moments and at the same time be able to hold your wife’s hand through it and be present with her.
Just make sure that you have everything set properly and you press PLAY.
Cash for parking
Many parking machines now accept cards but as with all things tech, sometimes they may not work. Better to have some cash in hand, just in case.
It’s great to have your credit card on hand. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or whatever for balloons, flowers, souvenirs. Also to buy food from the hospital’s restaurant etc.
I think it’s a nice and very thoughtful thing to get a present for your wife after all she’s gone through to carry and birth your baby.
List of who to notify
Having a call list is a clever thing to do. Write down the names of all the important people you would love to notify after your baby is born.
It’s amazing how much details we can forget about birth.
Get a journal to write down your thoughts, reflections, and other important moments because it’s easy to forget how you felt in the moment and the little bits that happened.
In conclusion, start packing your hospital bag for dad now!
Having a dad bag for hospital is super important.
Better, to start gathering everything you need now. You can use this free hospital bag for dad checklist to ensure you have everything you will need.
What’s more important though, is bringing your best self to the labouring room ready to help and support your wife in labour.
Remember, if you’re STILL yet to take a birthing class, you’ve still got time to take this fantastic prenatal class by Liesel at Mommy Labor Nurse and get better prepared to meet your little one.
- WHAT NOT TO FORGET IN YOUR HOSPITAL BAG
- HOW TO HELP YOUR WIFE IN LABOUR
- 17 Last-minute items to include in your hospital bag
- What to wear for a water birth (10 different options)
- How big should your hospital bag be?
I wish you all the best and pray for a smooth delivery and a healthy baby for you both!