Birth Plan ✅
Car seat ✅
Hospital Bags ❌
Time and time again, I hear from clients who are prepared and ready to meet their little one, but they have one daunting task left... Packing for the hospital. When Josh Moore and his wife were preparing for the birth of their first child, all of their focus was on baby. But what about them? What were they going to need during labor & delivery and the duration of their hospital stay? This week I am happy to have father and guest blogger Josh Moore of DiaperDads share his tips on packing for the big day.
Packing for the hospital is not the same as packing for an overnight trip: while it may seem like all you need is a change of clothes, think again. Not only will your partner need hospital-friendly clothes, but there are other essentials that need to be ready for the trip to the hospital.
For the birthing partner, comfortable clothes such as pajamas and a delivery gown are great. Be sure to pack warm sleeping clothes such as pajama pants and a sweater or hoodie so your partner can stay cozy at night. For the dad or partner, a change of clothes and comfortable overnight attire is also beneficial. Don’t forget to pack clean underwear—for both of you.
Beyond clothes, other essentials include a car seat, mobile phones and chargers, and important documents such as driver’s licenses, insurance cards, and a pen. There will undoubtedly be plenty of forms for you to fill out, so coming prepared will help take the burden off your partner while they’re in labor.
Remember your toiletries, such as toothbrush and toothpaste, contact lens solution, and any medications. While the hospital may provide some basics, you’ll likely appreciate having your own toothbrush to freshen up.
One helpful item that your partner will appreciate is a few breast pads to help soak up breast milk when it comes in. Be sure to pack a nursing bra to make feeding time easier for your partner, and don’t forget about warm, cozy socks.
It’s a great idea to also pack a breast pump in your hospital bag. You’ll likely get some guidance from a lactation consultant in the hospital, and a breast pump will help your partner manage her milk flow in the hours after the birth.
Additional Helpful Items
While the above items are downright essential, there are a few things that will make the big day a little easier and more comfortable for everyone.
If you can fit it, an extra pillow (or two) could make your overnight stay much more comfortable. Hospital pillows almost always leave something to be desired, and it will be comforting for your partner to have something from home to sleep soundly. Remember that dads and partners of birthing people also go through an intense transformation, so you’ll benefit from having a comfortable item from home to relax after the baby is born.
For dads and partners, snacks and a water bottle will be nice to have on hand. Another item that the birthing person will enjoy is massage oil: offering to massage their shoulders or feet will help soothe her during and after labor.
When the big day comes, you’ll be much more at ease if you have the essentials packed and ready to go. Keep your hospital bag in easy reach so you can grab and go in a hurry—you may even want to leave a few things in the car. Your partner will appreciate your preparedness, and you’ll feel much more comfortable with a few things from home.
For a full checklist of everything you may need for your stay at the hospital or birthing center, see Best of Both Worlds Doula Services hospital must-haves here.