Pack your bag ahead of your hospital stay
Planning for a hospital stay could be daunting, especially with all of the other things on your mind. For a first time dad, there is lots of panic and excitement but when you have your second (or third or fourth) kids there is still the panic and excitement but with the additional need of someone having to watch the kid(s)
The biggest thing you could do is to be supportive of your partner and have the bag packed ahead of time, ideally no later than the 36 week mark. You do not want to be scrambling last minute to get your belongings together while she is having contractions.
If you have kids already, make sure that someone is ready to watch them and they have their phones on at all times. Maybe even have a second backup plan if something were to happen to the first choice e.g. they have an emergency or have to leave abruptly.
For the hospital stay, keep in mind that most of the attention will be on her. She is the one delivering the baby so the best thing you can do is be supportive. If you have concerns on what you are bringing, check with the hospital first. They might not allow you to bring certain snacks such as peanuts or pecans as other patients may be allergic.
What should be in the hospital bag for dads to be?
Single dollars or loose change – some of the vending machines at the hospital may not take credit cards. You’ll be frustrated if you want a RC Cola in the middle of the night and the vending machine won’t take your credit card.
Digital camera – We bought a Fuji X-10 before the birth of our firstborn. The camera was great, easy to use, and easy to get the pictures off after we got home from the hospital. Make sure the camera that you bring is fully charged and you brought extra batteries.
Smartphone – Make sure to clear out room on your phone for videos and pictures. You will be taking a lot of pictures.
Snacks and beverages – Check with the hospital first. Again, they might not allow food with peanuts as that is a pretty common allergy. The hospital usually has refreshments but it is a good idea to bring some for both you and her.
Something to read – Sometimes your mind just needs a bit of a break from everything going on around you at the hospital.
Glasses – Your contacts may dry up if you are up for hours on end.
Comfortable shoes – You may end up doing a lot of walking. Comfortable shoes help.
Toothbrush and Toothpaste – BYOT. Bring your own toothpaste. The hospital may not always have toothpaste. One of the little mini toothpastes can get you through the duration of your stay.
Changes of clothes – Sweatpants or shorts may be much more comfortable than your jeans. Also, you never know what bodily fluids may end up on your during / after childbirth.
A blanket- Sometimes the hospital blankets are pretty thin. A good solid blanket will help you get some sleep.
Your pillow – Again, the hospital pillow might not be the greatest in the world and it helps to have a little comfort from home when you are trying to sleep.
A sweatshirt – Even if it is the middle of summer, the hospital room may be freezing. Be sure to pack a sweatshirt so you are comfortable.
Gum and mouthwash – You’ll be up close and personal with your partner during this time. Clean breath makes a huge difference.
Shower shoes – While the hospital may do a great job cleaning and sanitizing the shower, you just never know.
Phone charger – You’ll need your phone charged if you plan on taking a lot of pictures.
Underwear – This goes without saying but comfortable underwear makes a big difference. Pack a few pairs just in case you are going to be there a while.
Nice shirt for pictures – There will be lots of pictures of you, your partner, and baby. You don’t want to have a shirt with a bacon neck or a company logo plastered all over it. Be sure to pick out a nice shirt ahead of time and pack this in a way so it doesn’t get creases or line marks in it.