Saddleback Bag - Packing

Baby On the Way – Important Items For the Hospital Stay

In Fatherhood by The Unexpected Dad2 Comments

You’ve been to all the doctor appointments, the ultrasounds, read all the books and taken the classes, but now the time is here: Your wife is in labor. Hopefully both you and your wife have packed bags well in advance, if you haven’t, and you are close to week 37, PACK YOUR BAGS NOW! You may think you have plenty of time (hey at week 37 you still have 3 more weeks, right?), but as my wife and I found out, baby can come at any time. Luckily, we packed our bags the night before our fateful ultrasound appointment (read about it here).

So you are packing your bag. What do you, the dad, pack? Well, here is a list of items I found helpful, items I wished I would have had, and items that I didn’t need or didn’t care about.

Helpful and Required Items

Really you won’t need much. The Chromebook was good for sending out email updates to family and friends. Make sure you have some way of communicating; people will want to know what is going on. Also make sure you have a camera and/or video camera packed; you will want to make sure that your first moments as a father are captured.

  1. Change of clothes.
  2. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
  3. Phone and charger.
  4. Camera and video camera.
  5. Chromebook (tablet, laptop, etc.)
  6. Car seat and carrier (you can’t take your baby home without these).
  7. Watch.

Items I Didn’t Need

I was mostly thinking about my wife and daughter during the hospital stay and didn’t need any distractions, such as books and other reading material.

  1. Books/Reading material.
  2. Pajamas

Items I Wish I Had

  1. Piece of comfy clothing, such as a pair of sweats.
  2. Shaving implements (had to end up buying these at the gift shop).
  3. Log or journal.
  4. My Bible.

Other Comments of Note

Although your focus will be on your wife and child, you still need to take care of yourself during the hospital stay. I ended up staying in the same clothes for 3 days because it didn’t really occur to me that I needed to change. The days and nights seemed to blend together and showering, changing clothes, blushing my teeth, etc. didn’t seem all that important.

Also eating poorly, or forgetting to eat was a problem.. There was a Starbucks coffee cart in the hospital and my first few meals consisted of pastry and a large latte. Make it a point to take a 15-20 minute break and head down to the hospital’s cafeteria to get some “real” food. It won’t do you or your wife any good if you pass out on the floor of the delivery or operating room due to low blood sugar.

Sleep will be almost impossible both before your baby is born, and after (including after you get home from the hospital, but that’s a different post). Notice I didn’t need pajamas. This is mostly because I didn’t really get a chance to “go to bed”; sleeping in my street clothes was the norm.

Lastly, pray a lot. Pray with your wife. Pray with your family members. Pray by yourself.

3 Weeks

The Unexpected Dad

The Unexpected Dad

My name is Paul and I am The Unexpected Dad.My wife and I married late in life and we didn’t really expect to have children (thus the title of my blog). We weren’t opposed to the idea of having children, but just assumed that it was not in the cards for us.

I write about the rather unexpected journey of fatherhood, please join me!

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  1. Phil Rothwell

    This is great advice. Having just gone through it all I can attest that these are important things. And of course there are some things not needed. Most important for me was wearing something comfortable. I was taken by surprise with the birth and didn’t come prepared. I ended up wearing the same clothes for a couple of days as I couldn’t leave the hospital, even though I thought it would be easy to pop back home briefly. We live near the hospital but on reflection it was never going to happen that I would be leaving my wife’s side!

    1. The Unexpected Dad Author
      The Unexpected Dad

      Hi Phil. Same here, I thought I would be able to take a quick trip home, but I stayed there for 3 days, in the same clothes.

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