One of your first duties as a new dad will be to ensure you bring everything you need with you to the hospital for the delivery of your little one!
Ultimately you never truly know how long you will be there- it could be an overnight trip, or you could end up spending a few nights or more. You will want to ensure you not only have everything for mom to be comfortable but also for yourself. This guide will help you pack the necessities as well as some extra things that will be nice to have so you can focus on the little bundle of joy that is about arrive.
This is also your first and only opportunity to not become the my husband forgot the “insert anything” story for the rest of your life.
What clothing to bring:
You never know how long labor will be and how long you will be in the hospital, so stick to something that is loose and comfortable. I would advise bringing a sweatshirt or hoodie as it can be quite cold sometimes and the blankets they offer may not always be the best. Most hospitals don’t do much as far as somewhere for dad to sleep so be prepared to sleep in a chair of some sorts that may or may not recline. It’s a great idea to throw one of those airline neck pillows in your car or bag if you get a chair that doesn’t quite go down all the way.
When it comes to clothing for mom, comfort is key. If she plans on breastfeeding then ensure she has a comfortable nursing bra well ahead of time. She will definitely be in some pain and sore so making it easy to breastfeed without much movement will benefit both mother and baby. To stay warm I would recommend our super soft Cozy Nursing Hoodie that addresses both of these needs. If she doesn’t plan on breastfeeding the same type of clothing is recommend, as being comfortable and cozy will make everything better.
While the hospital will provide many of these things you and your wife may be particular to a certain few items. Buy these in advance and toss them in the bag- don’t think you can wait till it happens and you will remember to grab them... trust me you won’t. This also applies to makeup, it will probably be the last thing your wife will remember to ask you to get but if it’s something she has said she cares about having at the hospital then you'll want to make sure she has it (lots of moms could care less though, in which case that means one less thing to bring). Score some points and throw it in the bag ahead of time.
For labor I would recommend putting a small spray bottle in your bag as well for when she starts sweating during delivery you can either mist some on her forehead or wet a towel. This will save you from having to leave her side to wet a towel at the hospital and you can be there every second of the way.
Other things to survive the adventure of a lifetime:
The above list is what is the most important and now that mom is comfortable here are some more items that will only help round out your bag.
Snacks/Energy Drinks- You could be up early one day and right before you are about to hit the bed, the moment strikes. This could turn into 2 or 3 days before you really have a chance to sleep. Make sure you have some snacks and energy drinks stashed away to ensure you are on top of your game.
Coins/Cash- Already forgot to pack the above? Have coins/cash ($1 bills) in your bag for that trip to the vending machine that you are going to make at some point.
Full tank of gas- When you are around the due date, do not roam around town with the gas light on. You will not want to have to stop for gas on the way to the hospital, and I am sure your wife will let you know the same thing.
Electronics and Chargers- You will most likely be getting a ton of messages and calls from people that will drain your battery. In addition to this, you also could be in for a long labor. Bring your chargers so you can keep your loved ones updated as well as capture all the photos of your little marvel.
Medications- You may be going to the hospital but it doesn’t mean everything is readily available for you- their focus is on the new mom! Have some Tylenol or whatever other meds you take. Having a splitting headache is not something anyone wants to deal with on such an important day!
Spare Clothes: I mentioned it previously but have a backup set for both you and mom. You never know what will happen from delivery to just random food spillage. Have a spare of everything for you both. I would also recommend at least two nursing hoodies or shirts for mom especially if she is going to be there over 24 hours after delivery because one will get dirty I promise.
Push Present- I had never heard of this before but it is a real thing and my wife truly deserved one after going through a very rough pregnancy filled with all sorts of complications. I had gotten her something before I knew it existed but it will show her how much you appreciate all the back pain, feeling uncomfortable, peeing all the time and carrying your new baby.
Car Seat- Have it installed before you go, please! Don’t be the guy who is installing it in the parking lot while mom and baby are waiting on the curb. Certainly don’t be that same guy and slam your car door into mine (leaving a nice dent) as me and my wife are leaving the hospital after a week in the NICU. Fun times...
Know your wife’s birth plan- Last, but certainly not least, is something I cannot stress enough. This is the moment she has been waiting for, possibly for years. Know what your wife wants throughout her delivery to keep the doctors informed so she doesn’t have to try to explain it during contractions or delivery. Does she want an epidural? What vaccinations does she want the baby to get upon birth? Are you cutting the cord, doing delayed cord cutting? If you wife has a preference and the doctors are trying to steer her in a certain direction, push back (unless it is a risk to mother or baby’s health) don’t let them dictate how the delivery or post-delivery will go.
Last but certainly not least ENJOY EVERY MOMENT! This might be baby number 1 or number 5 but every delivery will be different so ensure you live in the moment and cherish every second.