What to Pack in a Hospital Bag for Dad. A Hospital Bag Checklist for a Dad to Be, including all the Dad go bag essentials!
Once the third trimester arrives, everything starts to feel a little more ‘real,’ and the excitement of baby’s impending arrival intensifies.
During this time, most parents get the nursery ready, setting up a non toxic crib and organic crib mattress, getting some clothes, toys and books ready for baby, putting together birthing gear and birth recovery kit (hello postpartum underwear), and preparing for mom’s transition into postpartum stage (which is filled with comfy postpartum PJs, leggings, nursing tanks, and general delirium).
As baby’s due date approaches, packing mom’s ‘go bag’ for the hospital and making other arrangements for the birth of your new baby is standard practice.
But while it’s normal for mom, and even the baby, to have a hospital bag packed and ready to run with, many couples forget to consider things that dad might need at the hospital, too.
Labor and delivery can take many hours (or even days!) and partners will want to be together at the hospital throughout it all to support mom and baby, as this magical new life joins the world.
In order to keep fresh and be able to support moms the best they can, Dads need some creature comforts of home, too!
Enter: a hospital bag for dad!
Hospital Bag Checklist for the Expectant Father
In this list, we’ve compiled the top things a first-time expectant father might want to pack in a hospital bag for dad.
Along with a main bag of essentials that can be packed in advance, we’ve also added a last minute packing checklist for things that can’t necessarily be stored away a few weeks in preparation.
Here’s a quick overview of our hospital bag suggestions, with more details on each further down the article.
- Change of Clothes, including sweats, t-shirt, comfy shoes, and a Dad Hoodie.
- Snacks for Dad to keep his energy up
- Reusable Water Bottle and Bendy Straws
- Massage Oil and Comforts for Mom
- Small Bills and Loose Change
- Pillow and Blanket
- Music Speaker
- Tablet/E-reader and Headphones
- Birth Plan
- Insurance Paperwork
- Push Present
- Camera and Camera Charger
- Car Seat
- Cell phone
- Phone charger
What to Pack in Dad’s Hospital Bag (Things You Can Pack in Advance)
A Change of Clothes
During labor, dads will experience the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to bring a new life into the world. And it can take a long time… so he will want to be comfortable. Recommended clothes include sweatpants and a t-shirt, which allow flexible movement, so he can bounce on a birthing ball with you, and be there to hold your hand.
I recommend bringing a sweatshirt, too. Generally, labor wards are kept quite warm, but there’s a chance he’ll need to go to another area of the hospital to pick something up, or run out to get something you both forgot (or you decided you needed mid labor).
The Dad Hoodie is a great option at this stage, and will be a daddy staple once baby arrives too, in lieu of (and in addition to) a daddy diaper bag. It’s got plenty of pockets for stealthily storing extra diapers, bottles, pacifiers and more, and is my go to gift for a soon to be dad!
Additionally, he’ll want to pack a change of socks and underwear, for obvious reasons. Plus pajamas for the possibility of an overnight stay. He might want a second change of clothes, too in case things get really long or messy!
If you’re planning on having a water birth, the dad to be may also want to include swim shorts for too. If the hospital allows, he can get into the pool with you. And if it’s not allowed, he’ll be ready to get splashed at any moment.
Dads should wear comfortable shoes with a good grippy sole, such as sneakers, but be aware he may need to put sterile booties over top of his shoes.
…and lots of them!
Being in a hospital means food isn’t readily available. So snacks really are essentials.
Even if there is a cafeteria or fast food facility nearby, chances are that dad isn’t going to want to wander too far away from the delivery room and an in-labor-mom to find snacks and sustenance.
Bring a range of bites, that don’t need refrigeration, and can be eaten easily on the go. Things like crackers, cereal bars, and nuts are good snacks that will give bursts of much-needed energy.
Some hospitals will have vending machines too, for extra treats, but having them on hand is always a good idea.
When we were in the hospital following the birth of our daughter, they allowed us to order in using app-based delivery services (i.e. UberEats, Skip the Dishes, etc). Check in advance if your hospital allows the same for post-delivery celebration dinner (or, more likely, meal the next day).
Reusable Water Bottle and Straws
Along with snacks, take drinks too. A reusable water bottle (as well as being eco-friendly) will allow you to fill it regularly from a water fountain to stay hydrated. Dad may also want to pack an isotonic sports drink too for a further boost.
As well as drinks, pack flexible straws too. When mom is pushing and using her energy to deliver baby safely, being able to pass her a sip of water through a bendy straw will be really beneficial.
Think of all of the usuals: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel. Plus spare contact lenses and solution, if needed.
Take a towel too, as although they may have them in the hospital, it might not be convenient for you to get one when you actually need it.
If you’re a dad helping a mommy-to-be through an intensive labor and delivery over a few days, you may want to feel fresh at times yourself. Lots of hospitals have facilities for partners to shower and change, and having a quick toiletry kit will help you feel more alert, and ready to support your partner during birth again!
It may also be a good idea to include a packet of tissues in this list, to wipe away those happy tears when your newborn arrives.
Massage Oil and Comforts for Mom
It may sound a little strange to include in your packing list, but dads might want to include a small bottle of massage oil in their hospital bag, and some comforts for mom, like a pair of cozy non-slip labor socks.
While mom is in labor, giving her a lower back rub to ease the pain of contractions is a big help, or shoulder massage to relax her and make her feel more comfortable. And keeping her feet warm is never a bad idea!
Hot tip: don’t try a new product during labor! If the mom-to-be has a belly oil she likes (Hatch Collection’s Bump Oil is wildly popular), use that!
If dad regularly takes prescription medication himself, be sure to pack a supply of this is in his hospital bag, so that he won’t miss any doses from being in the hospital for a prolonged period of time.
Small Bills and Loose Change
Even though you’ll have packed a ton of snacks, a lot of hospitals have vending machines, and cafeterias to visit to buy extra bits. It may seem like a luxury to grab a hot coffee from a machine, and having the change to pay with will make it faster and easier to purchase, meaning less time away from a mom in labor.
Things like the hospital parking lot might need loose change to pay, too.
Pillow and Blanket
During long labor, there may be a time when you’ll both need a little power nap. It takes a lot of energy to give birth and a snooze will do both of you good. While mom will have a hospital bed, an expectant father usually has to make do with a nearby chair, so bringing a pillow and blanket from home can help him, at least, try to get as comfortable as he possibly can in the circumstances.
A travel pillow is a small option, if you don’t have much packing room in your hospital bag. Ever since we saw Moira’s Ostrich Pillow on Schitt’s Creek, my husband is kind of obsessed with it.
If you do bring a regular pillow, a top tip is to bring it inside a brightly colored pillowcase, as a plain white one can easily get confused and lost within the hospital’s pillows.
During your time in the hospital, it can help to boost the atmosphere or make memories by playing music.
Hearing a favorite song can be a real pick-me-up when it’s all getting a bit fraught! Take a small speaker, and if you’re really organized, prepare a special playlist for the occasion!
We use a UE Boom with Spotify and it worked great when I was in labor!
There will be down times during some labor experiences, and after baby is safely delivered and mom and bébé are sleeping.
Pack a tablet (and charger) or laptop loaded with your favorite movies or TV series to watch during moments of calm.
You may prefer an e-reader (or a good old-fashioned book). But having something to pass an hour or two will help both you and your partner to take your mind off contractions for a little while.
Most midwives will support a family in making a birth plan before the day, and it’s vital as her partner that you talk through all possible situations ahead of time, for the chance of any emergency.
Even though a copy of this is usually in mom’s hospital bag, dads can be prepared and keep their own for easy communication with the doctors of how you would both like the birthing experience to be.
While mom is busy doing the hard part (you know, pushing a tiny human out of her body!), it’s good idea for dad to have all of the insurance paperwork ready in a folder.
Having copies of all necessary IDs, insurance card and policies mean less stress when the moment comes. This may also include taking a bank card or checkbook, as a hospital may require you to finalize any payments before leaving.
After mom has gone through the wonderful ordeal of giving birth, it’s become quite a trend to share with her a gift (known as a push present) to show love and appreciation.
Whether this is some beautiful jewelry to treasure as a keepsake forever, a special handmade gift, or an instant camera to snap cute photos of your new baby, have it wrapped and inside your hospital bag ahead of time so that it is ready for the right moment.
If possible, it might also be a great idea to pack a favorite food that your partner might have missed during pregnancy. Maybe some nice cheese and crackers, or her favorite chocolate! This could be a great treat for after birth for a new mom. (Just check that it can be safely stored without turning bad)
Camera and Camera Charger
Although not one of the absolute essentials, you may want to have a camera and charger to capture the memories of this wonderful time. Worst case scenario, most people have a camera built into their cell phone to take some snaps.
But if photography means a lot to you, you’ll want to bring a camera for this moment. We use a Sony mirrorless and absolutely love it!
Most hospitals have a rule that you cannot leave without a car seat, so it’s a good idea to put this on the hospital bag checklist for mom, dad, and baby!
(The UPPABaby Mesa Wool is my top pick for a car seat these days)
Hospital Bag for Dad: Last Minute Items for Dad’s Hospital Bag Checklist
These are things that you can’t pack away for weeks in advance, but you’ll still need to take to the hospital.
If the essential items listed above are packed and ready in your dad bag, it will be easy just to collect these few items when ‘go-time’ finally arrives.
- Cell phone
- Phone charger
A good “dad job” is to keep the car with enough gas in it close to the baby’s due date. There’s nothing that would be more inconvenient than having to stop at a gas station on the way to the hospital while mom is in the throes of labor!
If your due date is in winter, or you live in a place with a particularly cold climate, you may want to have an emergency bottle of car de-icer saved in case the baby decides to arrive while the car is frozen over!
This said, always keep the car and house keys in an accessible place so you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. And have the hospital bag for mom, dad, and baby by the door ready to go.
Final Thoughts on Hospital Bag Checklist for Dad
Thank you for reading our article on what to include in a dad ‘go bag’ for hospital. We hope it’s useful and allows dads-to-be the opportunity to feel as prepared for the hospital stay as possible.
If you know any expectant fathers who may find our new father hospital bag packing list useful, feel free to share it with them!