There is lots of literature out there about what moms should be thinking about, planning and preparing for when they go into labor, but there isn’t much out there for dads. If you’re planning on having your baby in a hospital, here are 10 things that an expectant dad should plan on having in the labor bag.
1. Toothpaste, Gum, and Mouthwash
When that baby is born there’s going to be lots of hugs and kisses at the hospital. With all the emotion we often forget about hygiene. But mom’s sense of smell is ridiculously heightened during pregnancy and she won’t react well to your dragon breath. For the sake of mom, make sure your kissy breath is minty fresh.
2. Camera, Video Camera (and chargers)
You might regret not documenting as much as you can..as much as you feel comfortable with. Some guys will want the entire labor captured on film. Some will be to busy coaching on breathing or just trying to stay conscious. Whatever your comfort level, you’ll appreciate having those early moments of your child’s life documented.
3. Cell Phone (and charger)
You’ll want to obviously call the out of towners to let them know the new bundle has arrived. Your cell can also double as a gaming device for those sleepless overnights at the hospital.
Mom is the prize fighter in the ring, but you’re the emotional support and that work and experience can be draining. You’ll need to stay hydrated. Plus, Gatorade pairs nicely with the perfectly crushed ice chips offered in most labor wings of the hospital.
5. Your favorite t-shirt
Having a healthy baby is such a fantastic experience and so many pictures get snapped. Make sure you are representing yourself well in those pictures. If your a Chicago Bears fan, wear your favorite Bears shirt. Live for the moment!
Hospitals have come a long way but, chances are, that hospital bed/couch isn’t going to be comfortable. You’re only going to get a few minutes of sleep those first couple nights anyway. Make them count.
7. Change of underwear
Similar to number 1. Don’t let your hygiene get lost in the emotion. You don’t want your baby coming into this world thinking Daddy stinks. Mom will appreciate it.
8. Your Resolve
During the experience, the hospital nurses can be your biggest allies. But sometimes, they get in their routine and that routine may not be perfectly aligned with mom’s expectations of a perfect birth experience. Part of your job is to ask a lot of questions, understand mom’s expectations and fight to make sure the hospital staff is taking mom’s experience into account.
9. A Book
Again, not much sleep happening those first couple nights in the hospital. Bring something to read. Anything.
10. A Gift for Mom
This one is often forgotten. The day a women gives birth is the biggest day. Ever. Blow it out. Make sure Mom is showered with gift when she leaves the hospital.