A lot of effort and information is put out there about what to pack in an expectant mom’s hospital bag (check our out here) but ideally the expectant father will also have a bag ready to go when labor starts.
Your partners labor could be long, or even boring, and you need to be prepared for what may be.
Please read: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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You should have your hospital bag packed from when your partner is 36 weeks pregnant, or 4 weeks before her due date.
If there are things that you need in your bag, but also need day to day, place a BIG note on your bag listing what isn’t in there and where you can quickly find it.
Chances are when it is go time you won’t have time to hunt around for spare camera batteries!
It is worth checking with the hospital what you can and cannot bring. Often they do not allow you to plug in anything unless it has been checked by the hospital electricians.
What to Pack in Dad’s Hospital Back for Labor
1. Plenty of spare change
You will need coins to pay for parking, pay phones, newspapers and vending machines. Labor might be much longer than you expect, so bring plenty!
Whether you bring your fancy digital camera, camcorder, or just your smartphone, make sure you have it packed! If you want to record anything, check with the hospital beforehand, because not all of them allow them in delivery rooms. Make sure batteries are fully charged, and bring spares, you will want to take SO MANY photos!
3. Cell Phone, Charger, and Phone List
This is your job! Make sure you have a wall charger as well as your phone will go flat with all the well wishes you will receive. You may want to bring a list of phone numbers to call as a back-up to your contacts list on the cell phone.
4. Your own toothbrush and toothpaste, gum or mouthwash
No woman wants to be breathed on with stinky breath while in labor (or ever). When labor is long and arduous, cleaning your teeth is a quick and easy way to freshen up.
5. Sweatshirt or Jersey
A warm sweatshirt will be a good thing for Dad to have along just in case, often moms in labor get SUPER hot and ask for the heat to be turned way down. Also, you may have to do a midnight dash out to the car, so be prepared.
6. Change of Underwear
If you are just in for a normal long labor and delivery, a change of underwear should be sufficient to keep you feeling clean and ready for anything.
7. Clean Shirt for Pictures
There will be lots of pictures of you, mom and the baby. You don’t want to have photos of you in a ratty old birth covered shirt.
If your partner is planning a water birth you may not get in the pool with her, but it’s good to have the option.
If you usually wear contact lenses you may find that your lenses may dry out over time, irritating your eyes. Glasses may be more comfortable, especially for the drive home.
10. Comfortable shoes
You may find yourself doing lots of walking with your partner in early labor, pacing up and down corridors and climbing stairs, not to mention the runs to the parking meter.
11. Comfortable Pillow
You may be able to get some sleep in a chair, and having your own pillow will make you feel more comfortable. If you are able to stay overnight, you will find your own pillow a lot more comfortable than the hospital ones.
Try to pack higher protein snacks that will keep you going longer. Trail mix is a good choice, as are granola bars or crackers. Choose foods that don’t need kept cold. You can grab a couple of shelf stable meals and ask to reheat them on the ward.
13. Water Bottle
Fill up on water and keep it in your bag so you aren’t having to keep pop away for a drink.
14. Something to read
It’s good to have a distraction during a long labor. You could be waiting some time before your baby puts in an appearance.
15. Labor aides
Are there any printouts from your antenatal classes to help with breathing, or positions to help ease labor and birth? Do you want to print out some birthing affirmations to repeat? Did you do Hypnobabies?
16. Painkillers, for you (just in case)
As you are not the patient, it’s unlikely that anyone will pay much attention to your aches and pains, so it’s best to pack any medication you think you may need. You may find yourself with a headache or backache, so just pack what you might need.
17. Contraction timer
Download a free contraction timer app on your phone, this will be useful information for your midwife as well as gives you something to be doing.
18. Massage aids and oils
You can help provide some natural pain relief for your partner with a good strong massage. Your hands may get tired though so having a massage tool also can be very helpful.
19. Hand-held fan
A hand held fan or a water spray bottle will help cool down the mom-to-be while she’s in labor.
20. Hospital Paperwork
As your partner will be otherwise occupied, it’s a good idea for you to be in charge of paperwork you’ll need for the hospital like insurance information and registration papers.
Some couples prefer soothing smooth jazz, others country or others rock and roll or R&B or rap. Whatever works for you, bring it along plus something to play it on.
22. Push Present
A push present is a more recent trend, the push present is a gift that dad gives to mom right after the baby is born.
Push presents can include jewelry, a piece of art, a gift certificate, some flowers, fancy chocolate, an electronic reader, snuggly new slippers/robe or anything your partner would appreciate that is just a bit on the extravagant side.
If you aren’t so good at buying gifts, ask your partners best friend for some ideas.
Every expectant dad heading to the hospital for his partners labor needs to come prepared and ready for anything. Pack a good, well stocked labor bag and make the the labor and delivery process better.