Inside: The definitive list of what to pack in dad’s hospital bag. Get the scoop on all 25 essentials you don’t want to forget, especially if you live far from the hospital!
When it comes to the pregnancy experience and all things baby, there’s little argument that Mom is the star of the show.
However, Dad is a pretty important supporting actor, and we certainly don’t want to underestimate how vital he and his role are in the birthing process.
You’ll find loads of articles on what Mom needs to pack in her hospital bag, but let’s not forget that Dad is going to be by her side the entire time!
What about him? Doesn’t he need to pack a hospital bag and be prepared to ride out the duration?
That’s why we decided a hospital bag checklist for dad was definitely in order!
What Happens When Dad Doesn’t Pack His Hospital Bag (A Cautionary Tale)
Yes. Dad absolutely does need to pack a hospital bag, and he definitely needs this list.
Let my story be a cautionary tale to convince you. When I had my twin boys, “dad’s hospital bag” was totally off the radar.
In just the first few hours that we were at the hospital, my husband lost his wallet (left it in the bathroom) and got food poisoning from the hospital cafeteria!
Friend, I wasn’t even very far into labor and disaster struck – TWICE. Talk about unnecessary stress added to an already stressful event!
You can’t be too prepared for heading to the hospital. Take my word for it.
A man’s brain can be all over the place while awaiting the arrival of his son or daughter. Doing some planning ahead of time can thin out some of that fog.
Now I realize that when you’re eagerly awaiting the birth of your child, there are SO many things to plan and prepare for. Something like dad’s hospital bag probably falls much further down on the list and might not seem like a priority.
However, as you can learn from my story, if we had packed a hospital bag for dad, we probably could have eliminated both of those debacles.
Once you reach packing dad’s hospital bag on your to-do list, we’re here to help make that line item as easy as possible. Just check off the items on the list below, and you’re good to go!
Here are 25 must-haves that should be in Dad’s bag before heading to the hospital – a hospital bag checklist for dad, if you will.
Dad’s Hospital Bag List: 25 Essentials
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1. Phone, Phone Charger, Headphones
The phone is super-important not just for calling family members and texting updates, but more than likely, it’s also going to be the main piece of equipment for pictures and videos.
How devastating would it be if the phone was forgotten (not too likely) and it died during the most important moment of your lives with no charger (much more likely)?
Do NOT forget that charger!
If you don’t have an extra, buying an extra charger to pack in your hospital bag ahead of time isn’t a bad idea.
2. List of Who to Notify
Speaking of phones, be sure to have a list of those you need to notify when your sweet baby makes his or her appearance. Close family members may want intermittent updates.
Bring that list or even better, have a group text started ahead of time.
3. Insurance Information and Other Important Papers
Make sure you have all your insurance papers with you as well as other important information that the hospital will need.
If you have a written birth plan or any other wishes for the baby post-birth, make sure you bring those notes with you as well.
Mom can pack these, too, but having a copy in dad’s hospital bag is a good idea, since mom will be, well, a little preoccupied.
4. Snacks and Drinks
Mom won’t be able to eat much during labor, but Dad’s body isn’t going to be experiencing that same trauma; therefore, his appetite will probably be unaffected (as usual?).
Pack some favorite snacks and drinks – but don’t bring anything with an overpowering scent, for mom’s sake, but also for the rest of the hospital’s sake, too.
Remember the person at work who packed fish to microwave in the office kitchen? Yeah…don’t be that person.
Foods without strong scents are best!
5. Loose Change
You’ll want some loose change handy for vending machines – for a late-night cup of coffee or a candy bar to give you a little sugar rush.
While many hospitals have switched vending machines over to credit card friendly versions, those little machines sometimes fail. And remember trying to put crumpled dollar bills in vending machines?
Loose change will be your friend.
6. Refillable Water Bottle
You may not be able to leave the room at a time you’d like to grab a cold drink from the vending machine or cafeteria. Bring a refillable water bottle so you can fill up in the room.
This is an intense experience for Dad, too, so staying well-hydrated is super important.
7. Food Delivery Numbers
Create a list of all your favorite take-out places, especially those that deliver to your hospital.
You may want a real meal, and once your wife gives birth, she will definitely appreciate some food she loves.
Hospital food might be great…or it might not be so great. Food delivery may save your life (that and hospital bag snacks).
8. Cash and Credit Cards
You’ll want to make sure you have both cash on hand (not too much) and some credit cards as well. You never know if you need to grab something from the cafeteria or gift shop at the hospital – or pay for that take-out and give a tip.
9. Extra Face Masks
If Mom is giving birth in 2020 or 2021, there’s a good chance that face masks will still be protocol.
It’s a smart idea to throw a few extras in your bag, just in case you leave one somewhere in the hospital.
You know, that head fog.
10. Tablet with Movies or Shows Downloaded
You could be there a while so you’ll want to have a queue of shows and movies lined up for you or even both of you.
Grab a pair of headphones as it’s likely that just about everything you do while she’s in labor will annoy her.
11. Soothing Music
Music can be a great way to create a peaceful atmosphere in the labor room.
Have a playlist of her favorites chosen in advance to help calm her.
12. Speaker (for the music)
A portable speaker may be a nice idea if you think your phone or tablet volume might not be enough.
Make sure to charge it before hand! Or throw the charger in the hospital bag, too.
Editor’s Note: We have THIS portable speaker. It’s inexpensive, holds a good amount of charge and has been perfect for our needs.
13. Change of Clothes
You could be there for a while and not get a chance to go home to clean up.
Bring some fresh clothes, along with a nice shirt for those first family pictures.
It’s also a good idea to have a button-down shirt so you can give your newborn some skin-to-skin time. Nope, it’s not just for moms!
Included in your change of clothes, throw in a sweatshirt. The room will be set to a temperature that’s suitable for a woman in intense labor (i.e. below zero).
However, that’s probably going to be a bit chilly for you, so have a sweatshirt on hand.
15. Travel Pillow and Blanket
You may have a chance to catch a little bit of sleep while you’re there. A travel pillow and blanket can make it a little more comfortable for a snooze.
Your own pillow and throw blanket are fine, too.
16. Glasses and Contacts
If you wear glasses, don’t forget to pack them.
If you wear contacts, don’t forget a contact case, saline solution, and your spare glasses.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant…all those goodies to keep you feeling fresh.
If you take medication yourself, be sure to have that packed along with your toiletries.
19. Shower Sandals
There’s a good chance you’ll be taking a shower at the hospital at some point.
Shower sandals are a good, good idea. Trust me!
20. Appropriate Shoes
You’re going to be on your feet quite a bit, and chances are, you will need to offer your man strength while she’s pushing.
Wear comfortable shoes with a lot of support, ones that have a firm grip on the floor.
21. Microfiber Cloths
These are perfect if your wife needs a hot compress or a cool towel on her head to refresh her.
22. Massage Oil
As your wife is going through labor, a massage may be just what her aching and throbbing muscles need.
Having some massage oil handy can really give her some relief.
23. A Watch for Timing Contractions
I know, we all use our phones to check the time, but that’s going to be a little clumsy while your wife is squeezing your hand and clutching on to you for dear life.
Having a watch on your wrist, leaving your hands free, can be super-helpful when timing contractions.
It doesn’t need to be fancy or even have a stopwatch (this one would be fine). As long as it has a seconds-hand, and you can easily time contractions.
(Now’s the time when you convince your wife you really do need that Apple watch…just kidding. Or not.)
24. Her Favorite Snacks
Once that baby comes, your wife is going to be exhausted – and famished.
Having some of her favorite snacks will make you her most favorite person in the world (after that sweet baby).
25. A Push Present
Many husbands give their wives a little gift, now called a “push present”, after the birthing process.
If there’s something special you can give to acknowledge her hard work and show her how proud you are of her, you can stick that in your bag, too.
Don’t give it to her right after birth though – wait until she’s had a little rest.
Don’t have a push present yet? Get push present ideas HERE.
Pack a Hospital Bag for Dad – He Has a Vital Role to Play
It can feel like the show is all about mom and baby, but Dad, you have such an important part to play in this experience.
Your grounding, your levelheadedness, your sense of peace and strength bring so much to the table, just when your wife needs it the most.
Taking the initiative to be on your game about what you need to bring to the hospital will lessen your wife’s nerves and anxiety.
It will give her so much peace to know that you’ve taken care of even the tiniest details to make this experience as seamless as possible.
Having these essentials packed in your hospital bag will make your time at the hospital more comfortable.
It will also signal to the mom-to-be that you’ve got this – starting from the very first moments of your child’s life.
Did you pack a hospital bag for dad? What was on your “hospital bag for dad checklist”? Share in the comments!
Read Next: Hospital Bag Essentials for Mom, Dad & Baby
Kate is a former high school English teacher and current SAHM to her 5-year-old twin boys. A lifetime New Yorker recently transplanted in Tennessee, she keeps busy by learning her new way of life in the South, doing home decor and DIY projects, blogging at A Hundred Affections, substitute teaching, and figuring out how to survive in a house outnumbered by boys. And she loves Jesus very much.