Preparing for baby? Make sure you don’t forget to pack a hospital bag for dad too!

My husband didn’t eat for 26 hours when our first kiddo was born, and he was stuck in the same underwear and socks for three days. Not to mention he slept in a chair without a pillow for three nights. We had (sort of) packed a hospital bag for me and for babe… but had totally over looked packing anything in the hospital bag for DADDY.

It’s easy to forget that a) you could end up being at the hospital longer than the standard 24 hours, and b) dad is gonna be there too… even if his role is a little more passive.

There’s still some basic things he should have! This is a super important event for him too, and he shouldn’t have to introduce his new baby to his parents in three day old socks.

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What to pack in the labor bag for dad:

  • SNACKS – seriously, this is number ONE! Daddy probably doesn’t want to leave your side (or YOU don’t want him to leave) and labor can be long. Pack snacks.
  • Change of clothes – eventually, my mom did bring my husband a clean shirt and underwear, but it would have been really nice for him to have had them sooner.
  • A button-down shirt – dad can start bonding with baby right away in the hospital by doing some skin to skin time while mom sleeps. A button-down shirt just makes that way easier.
  • Toiletries – toothbrush + deodorant at the very least.
  • Pillow + blanket – no matter what, dad probably won’t sleep comfortably, but these things WILL make a big difference.
  • Cash + insurance information – this stuff can be dad’s job, mom doesn’t need to be trying to fill in paperwork. (And cash is just always a good idea.)
  • Phone + charger – obviously.
  • Something pretty to surprise mom – is it just me, or does anyone else think a gift for mom is a good idea? Having a baby is hard! I think it warrants a gift like this.

A few other things for daddy to think of:

It’s a good idea for daddy to know what’s going on in labor, and to be able to take over communicating with the doctors in case you can’t (or in case you’re just too overwhelmed). There’s no way my husband had time to do a pre-natal class and there is ABSOLUTELY no way he had time to read a bunch of books.

This online pre-natal class for couples is PERFECT because mommy can go through the written “course” part, and just invite dad to watch the quick videos with her afterwards. That way, he hasn’t had to find a ton of time, but he’ll still know what’s going on.

(And he will seriously appreciate being able to just listen to the key points and get on with his life, if he is anything like my husband. Save 10% on the course here with the code MOP10.)

It’s also a good idea if dad knows where the LABOR essentials are in moms bag, and can find them easily. (Chapstick, hair-ties, and water bottle etc). He shouldn’t have to pull every thing out to find these things, so pack them at the TOP of your bag or in the side pocket of his bag.

Finally, speaking from experience:

If the drive to the hospital is more than a few minutes long, it’s wise if dad can remember to grab a bucket or big bowl on the way out the door. I remembered this myself for my first, but for my second I threw up in a paper bag we found in the back seat. Bit of a disaster, but I just didn’t think of it with everything else I had going on. If you make that dad’s job, it’s much more likely to be remembered.

Lastly, having to stop and gas up the car on the way to the hospital is less than a party… Ask dad if he can try to keep the gas tank full for the few weeks leading up to your due-date.

Related: The Best Labor Advice You’ll Ever Get

what to pack in the hospital bag for dad