holdall full of essentials for hospital bag

What Should Dad Pack in his Hospital Bag? | Labour Essentials

Congratulations! You’re expecting a baby!

Or at least your girlfriend/wife is. During the latter stages of your partner’s pregnancy, it can be easy to think you’re not doing enough to help. While she’s waddling about and having a tough time carrying around another human, it can seem as if the workload has shifted unevenly, and she’s doing all the heavy lifting (only metaphorically, pregnant women shouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting – pull your finger out, man!). At home you can help with the cleaning, making meals, and keeping her topped up with tea, but how can you help when the action moves to the delivery room?

Be prepared.

That’s right. That old Scouts advice was on the money: make sure you’re prepared and the delivery of your child will be just that tiny bit smoother. Your missus is going to be doing all the hard work, so the least you can do is take care of some of the little jobs. You need a delivery room bag full of essentials ready at hand for when baby starts a-knocking! All sounds sensible enough, but what should you actually be bringing?


What should Dad pack in his hospital bag?


Baby Clothes

I bet you’ve probably already bought some! After we had the scans to tell us we were having a girl, we were so excited that we went straight to the shops to buy some clobber for her. Even if you don’t know what you’re going to be having though, you’ll need something for your baby to come home in. Seems blindingly obvious, but when you’re leaving for the maternity ward as just a twosome, it can be easy to forget! Keep in mind the time of year your baby is due, and if there’ll be a long walk to the car. Babies don’t regulate their body heat as well as adults, so you’re best to err on the side of caution with layers. From thick blankets and long-sleeve onesies to comfortable baby socks, be sure to have the essentials to keep your baby warm. As long as you bring enough clothing, you can always ask the midwife for advice if you’re unsure.

pink baby clothes folded with booties


SNACKS! SNACKS! SNACKS! I can’t over-emphasise how important it is to bring some snacks. SNACKS! Okay, maybe I over-emphasised it slightly just there, but it certainly is important.

You could be in there a while. My first was a one-night job, but my second saw us going in one morning, and coming out two days later. You are going to be hungry, my friend. Your partner will be getting hospital grub, but she’ll still be hungry. Ensure you stock up on a selection of faves, but be aware that you might well get bored of crisps. Some maternity wards have kettles in the room, if yours does, pack a Pot Noodle or two. Oh, and your other half? She’s definitely going to be wanting some chocolate.

Hey, we all love some spicy food too, but don’t bother packing the ghost pepper peanuts: you’ll be handling a newborn!

shop shelves full of crisps


As I said above, you can be in there for quite some time. Stave off boredom by bringing along a good book for each of you. Not a book-lover? No problem! Just print off each Paternal Damnation post ever written and bring in a stack of A4-sized sage-like parenting wisdom, or not.

book being read


It can get messy. The second birth wasn’t so bad, but the first one made the room look like a Tarantino set. Your partner will probably want to have a wash at some point.

While you’ll probably have access to a sink, you can never guarantee that the soap dispensers will be full. Be sure to pack a bar of soap just in case. Keep in mind too that your partner might not be able to get out of bed each time she needs to clean her hands. If you pack some hand sanitiser, you can sidestep this problem easily. Palm+ is a great vegan hand sanitiser that also helps to keep Mum’s hands moisturised (a welcome bonus for any partners who suffer from dry skin).

After you’ve eaten all of the snacks you’ve hopefully packed, you might be thankful for a toothbrush too! Make sure that your newborn’s first impression of you isn’t the intense funk of pickled onion Monster Munch on your breath, and pack yourself a serious brush like a Phillips Sonicare electric model. They’re great value for money across the whole range, with most boasting a battery life that should last through even the longest labours.



Phone Charger

Careful with this one, as I’m not sure it’s strictly allowed to charge your phone in a hospital with a charger that hasn’t been PAT tested. That said, I think most midwives will turn a blind eye (I certainly got away with it). You’ll not only need your phone to excitedly ring friends and family, but to also take those all-important snaps off your new child. If your phone has all the photographic finesse of a jacket spud, then now’s the time to upgrade to one with a decent camera. You’ll be taking PLENTY of baby pics, trust me.

pic of charger in phone

Car Seat

The most easily forgotten item that dads should pack for labour. You need this to get your little bundle of joy home safely! Don’t forget the car seat! That drive home is nerve-wracking enough with a newborn in the car. I swear I drove 15mph all the way back from the hospital.

baby in car seat


As mentioned earlier, you might be in there a while. The staff at the hospital aren’t there to make sure the dad-to-be is comfortable: they’re busy enough. I spent the night at the maternity ward for both my kids, and was lucky to have been given a pillow and a mattress to lay out on the floor. You may not be so lucky though. If you want to be sure that you’re definitely not going to miss anything, you’d better bring a pillow for the long haul.



Namely a change of clothes and some pyjamas.

No, I don’t usually wear pyjamas either. When you’ve got midwives coming in every two minutes though, you don’t want to get caught in just your day-of-the-week boxers.

The change of clothes is useful for feeling a bit fresher the next day, and doubles up as insurance for if your newborn poos/vomits/wees all over you.

someone folding clothes


There you have it. Take this little job off of your partner’s mind, and ensure that everything’s taken care of ready for the big arrival. Good luck!


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