Expectant dads may feel overwhelmed and unsure how best to support their partner in the weeks before labor and delivery. One way to assist her while keeping occupied and steadying your nerves is to help pack a bag with all the necessities she’ll require — and a few luxuries, too. If you are planning a hospital birth, which typically requires a longer stay than an out-of-hospital delivery, you’ll need to remember a few extra essentials for the trip.
First, there are a few documents you can’t do without.
A driver’s license or equivalent identification is absolutely required. You should also bring your health insurance information. It’s not a bad idea to check your hospital’s regulations to see whether you need to pre-register before showing up. If you and your partner have made a birth plan, remember to pack a copy. Don’t forget to bring cash as well as cards, in case you need to use hospital vending machines—though bringing your own snacks can be more affordable.
Be prepared to stay plugged in.
You’re not likely to forget your phone or tablet when heading out, but post a reminder to make sure she has hers as well when you head out. Also, make sure to keep a couple of extra chargers packed in your bag. Having your devices functional is important not only to stay in touch with loved ones but also if you plan to use them for entertainment or birth-related apps.
Pack clothing essentials.
She will need several pairs of comfortable underwear, a comfortable nursing bra, some comfortable lounge pants and cozy no-slip socks or slippers for her stay. While the hospital you choose may provide a robe, she may want to bring one of her own, for comfort as well as style. After labor and delivery, she will want comfortable loose-fitting clothing. Even if the budget is tight, it’s worth investing in a few attractive pieces that will help her feel confident and beautiful, especially in photos of those first moments with her baby.
Don’t forget the toiletries.
Though the hospital may provide you with the basics, she will probably prefer her own brands and the items she’s used to at home. For example, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, and moisturizer can all be purchased in travel sizes and stashed in advance, along with a toothbrush and hairbrush. And although the hospital will provide sanitary pads, she may also wish to bring a brand of her choosing. Other personal care items you might not think of until you want them: facial cleansing wipes, lip balm, and hair ties.
Consider extras she might want to be more comfortable.
If she has a preferred pillow or wrap, you may want to pack that. Aromatherapy massage oils can help her stay relaxed and calm. You needn’t invest in high-end products – but, whatever products you buy, make sure the ingredients in them are safe for new moms and babies. If the labor progresses slowly, she may want some form of entertainment to distract her, so she should save some shows or movies on her device or create a labor and delivery playlist or pack books she might enjoy. And remember to encourage her to rest while she can, since sleep patterns might be very different after the baby comes home!
Pack some items for yourself.
The hospital may not provide dads who stay overnight with a pillow or blankets, so pack some of your own, just to be sure. You will also want a comfortable change of clothes, including fresh socks and underwear, in case you stay longer than a day. Since there may be long periods of waiting as labor progresses, make sure you’ve prepped some entertainment material for yourself as well – only to be used if your partner doesn’t need your attention, of course!
Having a bag packed in advance is important since even with the best preparation, pregnancy can be full of surprises. While you can’t control everything, prepping for the hospital trip can ease anxiety and free you up to support your partner.
The Nest offers a variety of classes and resources to help new and expecting parents. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help!
Guest post by: Josh Moore of DiaperDads.org
Photo via Pexels