Mom has her cozy new robe and slippers, speaker with thoughtfully chosen playlist, and her expertly crafted birth plan. Baby is set with their special coming home outfit, the family heirloom knit blanket and bonnet, and a boppy breastfeeding pillow to make sure everyone gets a good start.
But what about Dad? Chances are you may not have entirely absorbed the reality that’s about to be dropped into his world, let alone thought about a hospital bag for dad (but apologies to any dads that have already done this!). So if you’ve attended the birth classes and read the books but are still wondering what needs to be on the “dad hospital bag list”, read on and share with your friends.
Supporting your partner in the hospital is obviously your number one priority. But as they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup. While keeping yourself comfortable may not feel like a priority, in order to support your partner in the hospital, you need to make sure your own needs are covered too.
The Comforts of Home
Every hospital is going to have a different sleeping setup for Dad. Some will have a full pull-out sofa, others will only have a chair or recliner and if you’re really lucky, there will be an extra bed in your private room. At any rate, packing your own pillow is imperative. Even if you only have a chair, at the very least, you’ll have your pillow to snuggle with. If you have the space in your dad hospital bag, bringing a lightweight fleece blanket is a great idea as well.
Two Changes of Comfy Clothes
Grab a couple of outfits that you can comfortably wear all day, and even sleep in at night. Think lounge pants and t-shirts. But remember, you might be asked to run out to grab mom her favorite comfort food after birth (sushi takeout perhaps?), so be prepared to set foot in public.
Hospitals tend to be kept on the cooler side, so make sure you bring a warm sweatshirt or hoodie with you.
Crocs might not be your cup of tea, but they surely make the perfect hospital shoe. But if the thought of crocs is a deal-breaker, grab another pair of shoes that are comfortable and easy to get on and off. Natives, Olukais, or Sanuks are a few of our favorites.
Socks and Undies
Don’t forget the essentials! Two pairs of each should do it, just make sure they’re your favorite ones - the ones that you can happily wear all day.
A Full Set of Travel Toiletries
The hospital will provide a very basic all-in-one soap but if you’d rather not wash your face with the same soap as your hair, grab a set of your own. Make sure to pack a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, and perhaps some mouthwash (the last thing you want is bad breath as you’re supporting your partner during birth).
Glasses or Contacts + Solution
It’s often the most vital things that we forget to pack. Seeing your baby for the first time in the hospital might just be the most moving moment of your entire life, so make sure you bring your spectacles.
If you take any medications daily, remember to add them to your dad hospital bag checklist. Even better, buy a small daily pill container and pre-sort and pack exactly what you’re going to need for 2-4 days in your hospital bag as one of the first items you pack.
Phone, Phone Charger, and Headphones
Your phone might be hard to forget, but your phone charger is most definitely easy to leave behind. To be on the safe side, pack one in your dad hospital bag as you prep. While you’re at it, pack your headphones. Yes, you’ll want to be available for your partner whenever she needs you, but there will likely be downtime, and drowning out the noises of the hospital might just be the calm you need to carry on.
Camera with Extra Batteries
While it may be true that the vast majority of us are using our phone cameras these days, if you’re wanting to document the magical moments with high-quality photos, pack up your camera, and don’t forget an extra battery or two!
Small Portable Speaker
This is likely going to be on mom’s hospital packing list as well, but you might be best suited to play music commando. In fact, we’d recommend you just taking this task on - your partner will be so grateful when you set up the speaker and her favorite song starts to play.
Make sure you’ve curated a playlist with your partner well in advance - she’s probably not going to appreciate the heavy metal you enjoy listening to in your car.
Snacks & Hydration
Healthy, Protein-Packed Snacks
Pick a pocket in your hospital bag and fill it up with snacks that are going to keep you going physically and also comfort you emotionally (i.e. bring things you enjoy eating). We recently discovered Bada Bean Bada Boom baked fava beans and YUM - guilt-free snackin’! Just in case you run out, make sure you have some dollar bills or quarters with you to use in the hospital vending machines.
Gum or Mints
You might be feeling a bit nervous as you wait for your baby to arrive and gum is great for distracting and calming your brain. One note of warning: just don’t chew hard when near your partner, the sound of your chewing might just be enough to get you kicked out of the hospital room :)
Reusable Water Bottle
Staying hydrated should be one of your top dad hospital bag checklist items when it comes to self-care - bring a reusable water bottle! You’ll be able to fill your bottle up in the hospital. So rather than counting on disposable bottles, pack your own, and fill it up as often as you need (while also doing your part to reduce plastic waste).
Hospital Bag Checklist for Dad at Glance
- Two changes of comfy clothes
- Comfortable, slip-on type shoes
- Socks and underwear
- Full set of travel toiletries - body wash, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash
- Glasses or contacts + solution
- Personal medications
- Phone, phone charger, and headphones
- Camera with extra batteries
- Portable speaker
- Healthy, protein-packed snacks
- Loose change for vending machines
- Gum or mints
- Reusable water bottle