Mom might be the center of the labor and delivery experience but that doesn’t mean dad shouldn’t be prepared! Here’s what dads should pack in their hospital bag!
There are tons of posts out there about what to pack in your labor and delivery bag – I’ve written one myself! I think most women want to be as prepared as possible for their time at the hospital, which is why these posts are so popular.
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Well, I’m not going to write another post on what the mother-to-be should be packing…today, I’m going to be focusing on dad! Most dads-to-be will be spending at least some portion of their time in the hospital during and after the birthing process, so it’s important that they have a bag prepared for themselves as well!
While mom is pretty well taken care of when it comes to food, most hospitals don’t really have a lot of food for the dad. When I was in labor with Jack, I couldn’t eat, so they gave Forrest the meal that I would have gotten (which was fine.) Beyond that, he was left to fend for himself…which was fine, because it’s not like we wouldn’t have paid for it otherwise through the hospital bill. We made sure to pack lots of snacks for him. The hospital I delivered at was actually pretty well stocked with crackers, cookies, puddings and jello, and fruit, but he was happy to have a few more substantial things as well. The hospital I am delivering at this time really just has saltines and apple juice…so we’ve been coming up with a few different ideas:
- Hillshire Snacking Small Plates: These are awesome! They are little packages of food packed with gourmet meats, cheeses, and crackers. In my experience, you can put your food in a refrigerator at the hospital (just be sure to label it), and this is a great option for something a bit more substantial. They have several different flavors, and they taste great.
- Hillshire Chicken Bites: I really enjoy these myself – they are just little packages of diced chicken with a flavorful dipping sauce. I’ve tried the chipotle BBQ and the teriyaki flavor, and they are really pretty filling and the flavor is great.
- Trail Mix
- Granola/Energy Bars
- Fruit that doesn’t need to be refrigerated
Just make sure not to be too gleeful about eating your food while mom is in labor – she might not be able to eat!
Labor and delivery can get a bit long and boring at times. With me, I had an epidural, so I wasn’t really in pain, and we were left with a decent amount of time just doing nothing. Most hospitals have a bunch of TV channels – some even on demand movies – but it’s good to have some kind of other backup entertainment.
- Handheld games
- Games to play with mom (Scrabble is a great choice, as are card games!)
Change of clothes
You’ll probably be at the hospital for at least a day (often more!), and while you could probably get by with wearing the same outfit every day…why would you want to?! Throw in a change of clothing, as well as some pajamas or comfy clothes.
Something else to note (this was the case at the hospital I delivered Jack at, at lesat) – family members aren’t really supposed to use the bathroom in the recovery rooms, including the shower. This may be different at the hospital your spouse delivers at, but it’s something to be aware of in case you are hoping to take a shower. Some hospitals will have bathrooms/showers for you, but I wouldn’t count on it. Plan ahead!
Change or Dollar Bills
A lot of vending machines, and probably most hospital cafeterias, will accept debit/credit cards nowadays. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, so I would make sure to bring some quarters and some dollar bills in case you want to buy snacks. Many hospitals offer a valet service – some hospitals will say not to tip, but others don’t, and if they don’t…it’s probably expected that you do! So if you plan to use that service, have a couple of dollars to tip with.
You should be able to get water easily enough, but the complimentary cups that are available aren’t typically very big. Bringing your own water bottle will make it so you don’t have to keep running back and forth to get water or ice. At the hospital I delivered Jack at, as well as the place where I will likely have this baby, anyone can go to the “replenishment” room to get water or snacks. However, when we were in the hospital with Jack when he was sick, the nurses wouldn’t let us, and they had to get us water every time. So bring your own water bottle so you don’t have to bother the nurses (or at least not as much, since you’ll probably want to refill it!)
Camera or Video Camera
You don’t want to miss any of those special first moments of your baby – triple check that you have all the recording devices that you want. You also want to make sure they are fully charged, and you might even want to bring charging cables or an extra battery, just in case. Electronics are not always fool-proof!
The hospital isn’t going to provide you with anything like shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. (and they probably won’t for mom either!) So, bring your own or hope there’s a store close by you can run to!
I think most hospitals nowadays have sleeping accomodations for dads, but I would bring an extra pillow or two…since hospital pillows aren’t really known for their comfort factor.
Coat or Blanket
This is something Forrest specifically said I should mention. He always thinks hospitals are SO cold, even if it’s 90 degrees outside. We’ve had to spend several hours in the hospital over the past few months, and he always regrets not bringing something to keep himself warm.
Copies of Important Documents
Obviously, mom should have her driver’s license, insurance cards, etc. in her bag as well, but I think it’s smart to make copies and put them in your bag as well. It would really stink to get to the hospital and not have the correct documents!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hillshire Snacking. The opinions and text are all mine.