After waiting 9 months the time is finally here! Birth. Some fear it. Some are excited for it. Or, maybe you’re feeling a little of both? Totally normal. Birth is incredible. What the human body is capable of doing is amazing. And you’re about to meet your child for the very first time. Your first baby will be a complete life changer. Going from being entirely selfish to having a helpless, screaming creature in your house that needs all your love, attention, and patience will be a huge change to your reality. Take it from other dads…it is the best change ever (though it may take you awhile to get to that realization…or it may not).
I’ve compiled some advice from several veteran dads and their wives about things soon to be dads need to know about birth…
What to pack in the hospital bag when having a baby…For mom, baby, dad, and older siblings
A friend of mine asked what I packed in my hospital bags when it came close to time to deliver my babies. Hopefully this helps someone else out too 🙂
1. Car seat. Obviously you can’t leave the hospital without it. Yet, it’s amazing how many people forget to install that sucker before they head to the hospital.
2. Going home outfit. Yes, cutsie them up…we want to see pictures!
3. Binky (if you plan to use one). The hospital around here no longer provides them.
4. A cute hat. The one the hospital provided was, well, not cute.
5. Cozy receiving/swaddling blanket. The one the hospital provided was not soft.
–What the hospital did provide: diapers, cloths you wet to use as wipes, a nose/throat sucker thingy (I have no idea what those are called), alcohol wipes for umbilical cord, pretty much anything else you can think of for baby–
For Mommy’s Labor Bag (I would highly suggest a labor bag and a post-baby bag)
1. Birth plan. Are you wanting a water birth? Drug free? Epidural? Who do you want in the room for delivery? Are you going to listen to music? Do you want it completely silent? Etc. Write it down, give it to the nurse when you get to the hospital.
2. An open mind. Huh? See #1? Yea, that goes out the window if there is anything wrong with you or baby. Planned on doing it drug free but your child was 9 1/2 lbs and you ended up getting an epidural after 16 hours of pitocin induced labor? Yea, me too. Or how about your child was 9 1/2 lbs and you ended up having to have a c-section. Yup, plans change.
4. Camera!!! Assign someone duty beforehand of taking pictures if you are going to have the birth documented. You’ll still want your camera though for all the middle of the night pictures 🙂
5. Bathrobe. You’ll want something to cover your fanny if you end up walking the halls. Plus, your body temperature will rise and fall throughout labor…you’ll want something easy to take on/off.
6. Slippers (or socks). See #5.
7. Books, magazines, movies, playing cards, Laptop, iPad, etc. Something to pass time if you get an epidural or even just to take your mind off the contractions if you don’t.
8. Something to hold your hair back.
9. Lotion or massage oil. Just make sure you can stand the smell of it.
10. Glasses. If you end up having a c-section (and some hospitals require it regardless) you’ll need to take your contacts out.
11. Anything else to set the mood. Music? Flame-less candles? Mirror? Birth ball?
For Mommy’s Post-Baby Bag (leave post-baby bag in the car until…you guessed it…post baby)
1. Toiletries. Most important is toothbrush and contact stuff. I think our hospital supplies travel sized shampoos and soap.
2. Makeup. You may decide you don’t want to bother. However, with my 2nd I just felt so much better about the huge belly I was still sporting after I put some mascara on.
3. Maternity clothes to wear home from the hospital…if you’re like me. And if you’re like my friend that didn’t even look like she had a baby, well, please excuse me while I briefly hate you.
4. Nursing bra and/or nursing tank. Your nursing bra may not fit until your milk comes in so consider a nursing tank instead.
5. Jammies. If you don’t want to wear the hospital gown you’ll want to bring jammies that have easy access down below as well as open in the front on the top if you’re planning to breastfeed. Don’t bring your favorite jammies because they may get ruined.
6. Chargers. Cell phone, camera, laptop, etc. Make sure you have them because it’s when you don’t that your camera doesn’t work. 😉
–What the hospital did provide: mesh undies (so you may want to bring your own loose cotton undies that you don’t care about throwing away), a water bottle (but if you’re partial to your own bring it), pads galore, ice packs, ours even provided some shampoo, meals were all included for mommy at our hospital except from 12 am to 6 am–
For Daddy’s Bag (don’t forget to pack for Daddy too!)
2. Money to buy food. At least at our hospital the food for Daddy costs extra. Bring some change too in case you need a late-night-cafeteria-is-closed vending machine run.
3. Pillow. Even dad’s need their rest. Make sure hospital provides a blanket!
4. Something to wear to bed. You’ll be up and down a lot in the middle of the night so you don’t necessarily want to just wear your boxer briefs. Or maybe you do. Heck, your wife just showed the world her goods.
5. Make sure your wife grabbed the camera!
6. All the phone numbers for people you’ll want to notify.
7. Snacks. See #2
8. Button up shirt. I didn’t have this on my original list but it was suggested by a friend and I love the idea! For dads that want to participate in skin on skin contact with baby it’s a great way to stay warm and modest.
For Older Siblings
1. Gift from baby. Older siblings can easily get overshadowed when a new baby arrives. It’s a great way to get baby on their good side from the get go 🙂 Better yet, wrap this gift! (Doesn’t need to be expensive…even a sucker is great) Tuck it in either mom’s or dad’s hospital bag.
2. Something special to wear. This would actually be great left wrapped at home for them to open while you are away at the hospital. They can wear their special Big Brother or Big Sister shirt/outfit when they come to the hospital to meet baby.
3. Clothes, toothbrush, jammies, diapers, wipes. This is only necessary if you’ll be dropping the older kids off somewhere other than your house on your way to the hospital. You can pack up this bag ahead of time too.
4. Lovey. Again, if they will be staying somewhere other than home make sure you grab the lovey (or whatever it is they won’t be able to live without).
Pack light. Try to keep everything in one backpack for labor and one backpack for post-labor. After all, the only thing you really need to have there is YOU and a car seat.