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Packing the Hospital Bag for Dad: 20 Essentials for Dad’s Hospital Bag

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Wondering when to start packing the hospital bag for dad? Not sure of which items are a MUST for dad’s hospital bag? This article goes over 20 essential items you’ll want to be sure make it into dad’s hospital bag long before baby makes his or her debut.

When it comes to packing the hospital bag for labor, oftentimes everyone’s list includes a hospital bag checklist for mom or a hospital bag packing list for baby, but where does dad fit into all of this? Don’t worry dads, today is your lucky day!

Just like mom-to-be, dad will likely spend the same amount of time in the hospital will her. So, he’ll need all the basics and possibly a little more depending on how labor and delivery goes. With this list, dads can rest assured there will be NOTHING left behind.

When to Start Packing The Hospital Bag for Dad

Dad’s hospital bag should be packed and ready to go at the same time as mom’s — around the 35 to 36-week of pregnancy. However, knowing that most babies show up on their own time, you can never have dad’s hospital bag packed early enough.

Feeling a little unprepared for baby’s arrival? Download my Baby Preparation Guide for New Parents — it’ll walk you through what to do throughout each trimester and how to prepare your life AND home for the newest addition. Get it >> HERE <<

Dad’s Hospital Bag (the actual bag)

The good news, the majority of dads will not need to pack a massive suitcase for labor and delivery, unless, you know you will have an extended stay or have a high risk of facing complications during labor (this article by Healthline discusses pregnancy complications in great detail).

So, what kind of bag should dads be packing? These hospital bags are completely dad-approved (by my own husband and father of two of course).

1) Wohlbege Canvas Weekend Bag

What my husband loves: “This bag is sturdy and just the right size. Not too big making it seem like you’re moving into the hospital; just enough room to pack all you need in one convenient bag. I also found the strap to be very comfortable without digging into your skin like other bags. It’s definitely my favorite budget-friendly travel bag that I own.”

2) Canway 65L Duffel Bag

What my husband loves: “I hate things that take up lots of space and this duffel back is neat in that it folds up into itself saving lots of space when not in use. I found it to be very sturdy and I liked the shoe compartment.”

3) Canvas Leather Weekend Bag

What my husband loves: “This is pretty much your basic weekend duffel bag, but it’s made with nice fabric and overall pretty sturdy. If you don’t need all of the pockets and extra padded shoulder straps, you’ll be quite pleased with this bag.”

Between the three travel bags listed above, you’re bound to find a hospital bag for dad. Now, all that’s left to do is load it up with all of his hospital bag essentials, so let’s dig in!

20 Essentials for Dad’s Hospital Bag Checklist

Whether it’s mom’s hospital bag or dad’s hospital bag — you don’t need to get carried away packing every single thing around the house. Remember, you’re not going to live at the hospital.

Review the birth plan, talk with your medical care team or midwife team to get their idea of how long they anticipate the hospital stay to be — this information can help you decide how many of certain items you need to pack.

Pssssst….don’t have a birth plan yet? Don’t worry, grab >> this birth plan template << that was made by a labor and delivery nurse!

Cellphone and Phone Charger

Bringing a cellphone and a charger is important for obvious reasons. For one, you’ll want a way to keep in contact with friends and family, especially if you have another child being cared for back at home.

Another reason a cellphone is great to bring is for entertainment and photos! Being at a hospital stuck inside of a room can get pretty boring, but a cellphone can change that. You can also use your phone to take photos to document all of the special moments of labor and delivery.

Lastly, cellphones can be used to access helpful apps such as prenatal apps or breathing apps to help mom cope with labor pains while she’s progressing through labor.

As you likely guessed, the charger (or a portable charging pack like this) will keep your phone alive to do all of the above!

Headphones

Headphones can come in handy if dad needs to take a phone call or if he wants to watch some of his favorite shows on his phone. There’s nothing worst for a mom in labor than finally falling asleep to rest before the baby arrives and being woken up by some loud sounds from dad’s phone.

Just be sure if dad plans to use some headphones that he leaves one ear open in the event baby decides to kick things up a notch!

Camera

These days, a cell phone can take some pretty sweet high-quality photos, however, in the event your memory gets full or your battery dies it’s a good idea to have a digital camera on standby.

Plus, you can always set one up on a tripod to record (for video) and then use the other one to capture photos of the birth of your child.

Change of Clothes

On average, most healthy labor and deliveries will only require hospitalization for 1 to 2 days. However, things could always change.

Knowing that birth can go either way, it’s best to pack some fresh clothes for 2 days. Keep in mind you’ll be doing lots of skin to skin with your newborn baby so wearing a button-down or even bringing a robe could make those newborn snuggles much easier to do.

And don’t forget a nice pair of comfortable shoes. Hospital floors aren’t really known for being soft and comfortable if you know what I mean.

Toiletries

Like any time away from home, you’ll want to make sure you pack all your necessities like toothpaste, any shampoos or body wash, deodorant, and whatever else you use on a day-to-day basis. The hospital room I was in was stocked with some hotel-style shampoo/conditioner but didn’t have any toothpaste or regular soap for showering, so always play it safe and bring your own toiletries.

Bonus point for bringing extra for the special mom to be because there is a good chance she forgot something back at home.

Prescription Medication(s)

If you take any kind of prescription medication, it’s a good idea to pack it in the hospital bag for dad. You do not need to be stuck without your daily meds for a long time (because labor can definitely be a long process — learn about the stages of labor here).

Glasses or Contacts

The same goes for your glasses or contact lens (especially if you need them for driving). Make sure to have a backup pair packed including any contact solution and cloth wipes if needed.

Cash

Who carries around cash these days? Uhm all the dads at the hospital that’s for sure. That’s because they may find themselves in a position where they need to stop by the hospital vending machine for some snacks. Speaking of snacks, here’s a list of some of the best hospital bag snacks to bring (and they’re non-perishable too).

Insurance Card

You’ll need your insurance card & insurance information in order to get admitted and double-check your coverage during your hospitalized stay. If mom has it packed, great. However, in the event, dad needs to step out of the room or run back to the car, it’s important to make sure he has his with him.

Hospital Registration Paperwork

In preparation for the big day, most hospitals will host a small group hospital tour. This is where you can tour the entire hospital to learn where to park or drop off upon arrival, where the labor and delivery unit is, where the NICU is located (in the event baby needs support after birth), where mom’s recovery room will be and sometimes they’ll send home hospital registration paperwork (or process it that day).

If the hospital sends you home with the registration paperwork, be sure to fill it all out and stick it right in the hospital bag to ensure it’s not forgotten. It’s important paperwork that you definitely don’t want to lose.

Slippers or Sandals

Hospital floors are cold and uncomfortable to walk around on. Be sure to pack some cozy slippers (that have grips for the slippery sleek floor) or some comfortable flip flops to easily put on and off. My husband absolutely loves these men’s slippers.

Non-perishable Snacks

Speaking of snacks, you’ll want to pack some non-perishable hospital snacks because trust me, hospital foods won’t cut it after a day.

When I was hospitalized during the pandemic my poor husband had to eat these tiny little packed lunches that included a small sandwich, an apple, and a kid’s size apple juice box. Thankfully, we had packed him LOTS of yummy snacks in his hospital bag like protein bars, crackers, nuts, trail mix, and more.

Water Bottle

Be sure to pack a large enough water bottle (like this one) in the hospital bag for dad that you can refill in your hospital room in the event you’re not able to leave. Often times the hospital team will bring in large pitchers of ice water which you can also use as an easy way to refill your bottle with.

Mom’s Postpartum Meal Wishlist

A fun way to surprise mom after she just did the hardest thing of her life (aka delivering a baby) is to order her favorite meal and have it waiting for her after delivery!

A week or two before her due date, ask her what her top meal choice would be for an after-birth meal. Then, once she’s given birth, place a phone order via GrubHub or a meal delivery service that will deliver to the hospital and surprise her with her yummy meal! I mean, she straight up deserves it!

Face Masks

If you’re going to be at a hospital that adheres to pandemic rules, make sure to pack a few extra masks just in case. Most hospitals will give you a mask if needed, but having your own is even better.

Laptop or Tablet

As a birth partner, dad’s job shouldn’t be boring. However, if labor isn’t really progressing and both parents are waiting for things to kick up, that’s when it could be pretty boring.

Make sure to pack a laptop or tablet to get some work done or stream your favorite shows. This can come in helpful for mom as well if she’s struggling with contractions and needs something to help take her mind off of the pain.

Also, if you bring one of these devices, be sure to pack the charger too! Nothing is worst than getting ready to watch your favorite show and the device doesn’t turn on.

Portable Speaker

A portable speaker comes in helpful to listen to your Spotify playlist, plug into the laptop while streaming shows/movies, and help mom cope through labor with soothing sounds or breathing prompts.

Blanket and Pillows

Our hospital had a small sofa for birth partners to sleep on. They also had those paper-thin sheets and pillows to use. As you can imagine, it was NOT comfortable for my husband.

Thankfully, we had packed him his own pillow and a few blankets to have some comfort during the hospital stay.

Massage Oil

No, no, the massage oil isn’t for dad. It’s for mom. She will be pleasantly surprised when she learns she’ll be getting some soothing massages while in labor. She will be exhausted, tired. and her body will likely be very achy. Massaging and counter-pressure techniques are great ways to help her cope!

Push Present

Lastly, this one isn’t a must, but it’s a sweet gesture. It’s a push present! Push presents are becoming more and more popular these days — they’re a present given to mom after she gives birth.

Some dads go all out and gift jewelry, others keep it simple with a little card with a special message. Either way, the thought is really what counts here.


Packing a hospital bag for dad is pretty important. Though he won’t be the one actively giving birth, he still plays an important role as the birth partner and support partner for mom. He’ll also be the one in charge of notifying family members and communicating to the hospital staff for mom if she’s in too much pain. Packing dad’s hospital bag takes a little planning, but it’s worth it in the long haul.

What was on your hospital packing list for dad? Drop your suggestions in the comments below!

Read more pregnancy articles here:

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20 Essentials to Pack in Dad's Hospital Bag

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