Is your baby’s due date fast approaching? Firstly, congratulations on being a new dad-to-be! Secondly, you need to pack your dad hospital survival kit.
When is the right time to pack this kit you might ask? Take your cue from mom! Most moms pack their hospital bags between week 32 and 35 of being pregnant. You might as well follow suit. That way you’re also prepared well before the due date.
Because trust me when the time comes, there’ll be no time to get any stuff ready. You’ll be juggling multiple roles including being the driver, support system, “breathing exercises partner”, and photographer! I remember vividly those moments when my daughter was born.
Welcome to the exciting world of fatherhood!
Checklist for Your Hospital Survival as a Dad
I know how dads love to pack light. But I want to help you pack right. I’m here to give you a checklist of 21 practical things you need to include in your kit. I’ll expand on them a little later.
So here’s the checklist:
- Necessary paperwork
- Phone/ Laptop
- Money (as in loose coins)
- Energy drinks
- Reusable water bottle
- Change of clothes
- Comfortable shoes
- Own pillow/ blanket
- Massage oil
- Push present
- Celebratory gift
- Car seat
What to Pack in Dad’s Hospital Survival Kit
Now let’s get down to the actual packing! I’m going to discuss exactly what you should pack and why. To be on the safe side, I’ve included items you can pack for a 1-4 day stay at the hospital.
1. A Bag
Of course, the first thing you need is a bag to pack your contents. Pick a spacious bag for the occasion. But nothing too fancy. You certainly don’t need to purchase a brand new fancy suitcase online for this. Your favorite duffel bag or backpack will do.
The latter is more ideal if you want a bag with plenty of pockets to keep your items organized. And if you plan on packing a laptop, a bag such as this laptop backpack which has a separate compartment for your laptop and integrated charging port is ideal.
With all the excitement of welcoming a new baby, it’s easy to rush through the door, forgetting all the necessary paperwork.
Does your partner have a birth plan in place? Pack it beforehand and show it to the midwife. Also, don’t forget to pack the relevant paperwork such as insurance information.
3. Phone/ Laptop
You’ll be receiving a lot of phone calls from anxious family members wanting an update on how it’s going at the hospital. So don’t forget to pack your phone (or even two) if possible in case the battery drains.
If your partner will be in the hospital for a bit longer, you can use the time to also catch up on some work. Make sure you pack your laptop.
Speaking of a drained battery, it’s wise to pack a charger so it doesn’t come to that. You’ll admit a charger is one of those items easily forgotten during rushed moments.
A wise move is to buy a separate charger from the one you use daily and keep it in the bag.
Instead of relying on hospital power sockets, I’d advise you to pack your own power bank just in case. Power banks are much more convenient and will ensure your electronic devices are always charged up.
Make sure you pack one with high-speed charging so your devices are powered up in no time. And if it can charge more than one device at a time like the Anker Powerbank that’s even better.
You may have to live on fast food or hospital cafe food for a while. But it’s also wise to include a few snacks in case the hospital vending machine isn’t working. Include protein bars, nuts, or any of your other favorite snacks you love to chew on while waiting for your bundle of joy to arrive.
Don’t forget to pack extra cash for any emergencies. While you’re at it, ensure you have enough small change.
Chances are you’ll be visiting the vending machine more often than not. Be sure to pack small change so you don’t get stuck and have to start asking the hospital staff for change.
8. Energy Drinks
You’ll need to keep that energy up for your wife and baby’s sake. Not to mention visitors who’ll be streaming in to meet the new baby. If you’re a fan of energy drinks, include a few cans of your favorite energy drink.
Or, you can buy coffee from the hospital cafe instead.
9. Reusable Water Bottle
Aside from energy drinks and coffee, it’s recommended to stay hydrated with good old water. The last thing you need is to suffer from dehydration or exhaustion. Keep your water levels up by drinking lots of water.
Packing bottled water is convenient. But they’re also bulky and will take up a lot of space in your bag. Rather pack a reusable water bottle such as this Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle. It’s designed to keep your water cold for up to 24 hours!
It’s always a joy to look back at such precious moments. Make sure you pack a quality HD camera to capture every special moment of this joyous occasion. If you don’t have one, you can always use your phone to take pictures. It’s still fine.
If you’re going to stay at the hospital for a few more days, you’ll need to keep yourself entertained to relieve any anxiety. Pack your favorite book or sports magazine. Read my article about Christian parenting books you may find useful.
Alternatively, you can use this time to educate yourself about the upcoming chapter in your life by reading The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-be. The book carries a wealth of information on how to navigate your new role as a father.
If you don’t feel like reading, you can’t go wrong listening to your favorite playlist. Make sure you download your playlist before time. Don’t completely rely on the hospital Wi-Fi in case it’s down.
Don’t forget to pack your toiletries such as shaving cream, shaving stick, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, and deodorant. You need to look presentable, clean, and fresh for your little one and of course incoming guests.
14. Own Pillow/ Blanket
When night falls, chances are your car or the hospital bench will be your bed for the next few days. Unless of course, the hospital is kind enough to give you a place to sleep. You can decide to rely on the hospital’s bedding or bring your own.
If you’re going to be sleeping in the car or a chair next to your partner’s bed, pack a pillow such as the Twist Memory Travel Pillow to make you more comfortable. You can also give it to mom to keep herself comfortable while breastfeeding.
Still, on the subject of sleeping comfortably, trying to sleep in your jeans is a bit of a tall order especially if you’ll be sleeping on a hospital bed. It’s totally fine to pack your own set of PJs and get comfortable.
16. Change of Clothes
Packing a change of clothes depending on how long you’ll stay at the hospital. Two sets of comfortable t-shirts and jeans or tracksuit pants will suffice. Don’t forget to also include clean socks and underwear.
Stick to dark-colored t-shirts and avoid whites or neutrals in case you have to stay for longer than anticipated.
17. Comfortable Shoes
Pack your most comfortable pair of shoes. You might be pacing up and down the hospital corridors for a bit. Either out of anxiety or to and from the coffee machine. If you can add slippers or shower sandals they’ll come in handy when it’s time to hit the shower.
18. Massage Oil
If labor is going to take longer than usual, your partner will appreciate a gentle massage. Pack some massage oils in case you need them. This way you don’t have to take a trip to the store. You can be by your partner’s side every step of the way.
19. Push Present
From what I’ve gathered, labor isn’t child’s play. Be the first to congratulate your lady for handling the experience incredibly and bringing your child safely into the world.
Jewelry or a nice perfume can do the trick. Or, you can purchase Pink Stork Postpartum Recovery Tea to calm your partner’s nerves after such an emotional experience. Dr Scholl’s Women Soothing Spa Socks are another thoughtful gift you can give mom to help keep her feet warm while she recovers in labor.
20. Celebratory Gift
It’s noble to pack celebratory gifts for people who’ve given up their time to come and see your new baby. Thank you cards for their support and love will greatly be appreciated.
21. Car Seat
Now comes the time when you have to drive your wife and new child home. Your first call of duty as a responsible father is to make sure you place your child in an infant car seat before driving your family home.
But Why Do I Need a Hospital Survival Kit as a Dad?
Welcoming a new baby into the world can be both exciting but equally terrifying. You’re in for an experience of a lifetime which includes a whirlwind of emotions. Joy, gratitude, anxiety, awe, excitement, and maybe a bit of fear and are all part of the journey.
If it’s your first gig, you’ll definitely need a hospital survival kit. Why? You simply don’t know how long you’re going to be there. Yes, you can always go back home to grab a few things as and when you need them. But remember your partner probably needs you by her side before, during, and after the delivery process.
You’re calmer and in a better position to offer the necessary support when you have everything you need with you. Plus, you get to save on fuel.
By packing this kit, you make sure nothing important is left out. Ultimately you want the experience to be as stress-free and comfortable as possible.
What Every Dad Needs to Know About Hospital Stays (when your baby is born)
When your child is born, your duties as a father begin! How long you stay in hospital after your little one is born really depends on the delivery method.
Is your partner scheduled for natural birth delivery or a C-section? A normal delivery doesn’t require you to stay very long. If all goes well, you should be on your way back home with your family within 24 hours, or even earlier.
If it’s a C-section delivery on the other hand, then be prepared to stay for longer. It could take as long as four days. The timeframe is further extended if there are complications with the delivery. Whatever the case you need to be prepared.
After your baby is born, the staff will be kind enough to bathe your baby for you and show you and your partner the ropes. Pay attention or else you’ll have to watch a bunch of YouTube videos when you get home on how to correctly bathe your newborn. Here’s a great video on this.
While mom is recovering you have to step in and change your baby’s diaper, bottle feed if necessary, swaddle, soothe your crying baby and and and…
You’ll find out soon enough that babies have a mind of their own. And coming into the world before the stipulated due date attests to that fact! To ensure you’re not caught unawares and leave anything important behind, make sure you’re prepared. Have your dad hospital survival kit ready.
It’s going to be an exhilarating experience. Embrace it. And most importantly, be prepared for it with the right essentials. Happy packing!