Part of getting ready to deliver your child is packing your bag for your stay in the hospital. Frantic trips to the hospital when labor starts are the exception to the rule—but wouldn’t you prefer to be able to just get up and go, fully prepared to go to the hospital?
The thing to remember about going to the hospital to deliver your baby is that you need to pack for three, mom, dad, and baby.
Packing for dad is the easy part, and it’s also the most likely to be overlooked. We will start with a checklist for expectant dads accompanying their partners to the hospital for delivery.
What to Pack for the Expectant Dad
Labor can be long. There can be times that dads and partners don’t have a lot to do. Here are some items that are sure to come in handy.
Personal items. Be sure to bring your phone and charger. If you aren’t planning to capture memorable moments on your phone, bring your video camera and charger. Gum, breath mints, and lip balm can save a trip to the gift shop, as do deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, spare contacts, and spare glasses. A travel pillow or a bedroom pillow can make catnaps more comfortable.
Clothing. In the summer, don’t forget your hat and sunglasses for quick trips outside. In the winter, you will need a sweatshirt or a jacket. If labor goes on, and on, and on, you will be glad you had a fresh shirt and a second pair of underwear. If you expect to be sitting up all night with the expectant mom, bring comfortable clothes or even pajamas.
Snacks. Small bags of non-perishable snacks, like chips and pretzels, can save you a trip to the vending machine. A reusable water bottle comes in handy. It also helps to have small bills and change just in case you need to use the vending machines, especially when friends and family come to visit.
What to Pack for the Expectant Mom
Packing for the mom-to-be is a little more complicated. Some of the most useful items to take with you are easy to forget.
Personal items. High on the list of useful personal items are hair clips, hair ties, or a headband to keep your hair out of your face as you go through labor. You will need your hairbrush and your comb, along with lotion, lip balm, toothpaste, toothbrush, and deodorant. If you wear contacts, don’t forget your saline solution and a spare pair.
The hospital can provide extra-absorbent maxi pads, but you should bring your own from home if you have a strong preference. Take lotions and massage oils for labor, as well as anything that can help you feel refreshed after you deliver your child: Your favorite soap, shower gel, shampoo, face wash, and makeup can make a big difference in how you feel.
Clothing. Be sure to pack your nightgown or pajamas. Have a lightweight bathrobe or housecoat to put on in case visitors arrive. It’s fine to wear your own favorite cozy socks, but they need to have grip soles if you walk around in them. Or just bring house shoes. A zip-up fleece cardigan, sweatpants, or a cardigan can be useful if you get cold.
Bring multiple pairs of underwear suitable for wearing with maxi pads. If you plan on nursing, don’t forget your nursing bra and breast pads for any leakage.
Snacks and diversions. Babies don’t always decide to come when the hospital cafeteria is open. Your snacks will be limited and must be approved by your care team while you are in labor, but it is OK to pack sandwiches, juice cups, carrot sticks, apple slices, chips, pretzels, small, wrapped sweets, and other light food items for you, with medical approval, and your partner.
And because babies don’t always come into the world when the hospital cafeteria is open, it is a good idea to have snacks on hand for after delivery.
Sometimes labor can go for a very long time. It helps to have a playlist on your phone, with headphones that plug into your phone. There are mothers who experience several hours when they enjoy crossword puzzles, Sudoku, juicy novels, playing cards, or watching a video on their laptop, phone, or Kindle.
Another great idea: Have a keepsake book so you can write down your first memories of your new child.
Miscellaneous items to consider. Sometimes the people you love can’t be with you when you are giving birth. Photos can remind you of their love.
You may want to carry a “who to call list” for when your baby is born. Your favorite pillow or blanket can be great for snuggling.
If you are planning to bank your cord blood, don’t forget your cord blood banking kit. And a small basket of goodies to thank the staff when you go is always appreciated.
What to Pack for Your Baby
Your baby won’t need a lot for the trip home other than her car seat and something to wear, but here are some suggestions if you have enough space in your bag.
- The hospital will be sending you home with lots of diapers, but one or two more never hurts. Don’t forget diapers and lotion.
- You will need an outfit for your baby including socks or booties, and a little hat if the sun is blazing.
- Have a receiving blanket and a couple of burp cloths.
- If it’s cold out, make sure you have layers of clothing or a warm blanket for the trip to your car.
We think it is worth repeating, a car seat is essential for your baby’s safety on the way home. Be sure to have a car seat before you make the trip.
Contact NTMC Today
North Texas Medical Center has two OB-GYNs on call, and all the staff you need for your safety and comfort 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are a level 4 trauma center, and we are fully equipped for general surgery and weight loss surgery. Call the friendly staff at North Texas Medical Center at (940) 665-1751 or contact us online if you have any questions. North Texas Medical Center is located at 1900 Hospital Blvd, Gainesville, TX 76240.