It has started.
Your partner’s contractions have started, her water has broken, the pregnancy is coming to an end. You are about to be a dad.
Depending on your personality you are either calmly starting to load the car while supporting your partner through her contractions or you are running around in a state of panic trying to figure out what to do now while your partner supports you.
What Dads Need to Bring to the Hospital
In either case it is helpful to have your bags packed and ready to go if your partner is delivering in a hospital or birthing centre. I am going to use the term hospital here for simplicity, even though hospitals are not the only option. There is lots of advice out there for expectant moms about what they should pack in their hospital bags, not so much for expectant dads.
So first off, plan to stay over. If you live somewhere that they don’t encourage dads to be hanging around the maternity ward, push back, tell them you are staying to support your partner and your kid. Check in with the hospital ahead of time to see what kind of accommodations are available for dads. This doesn’t mean you should expect a room of your own or anything like that. Really you just need to know if there is a chair in the room that you can sleep in – ideally it will be one that folds out. If there is no folding chair, request a second chair so you can sit in one and put your feet up in the other to reduce the chances of falling on the floor while you are sleeping.
Stuff to bring in dad’s hospital bag
A change of clothes or two, pyjamas
If the hospital doesn’t provide a sheet or blanket/pillow for dads, bring your own.
Contrary to birthing videos you won’t likely be spending all your time walking the halls with your partner or standing beside her while she curses you and attempts to crush your hand with each contraction. Depending on the time you go into the hospital and how long you remain after the birth of your child, you will have downtime when you are awake and your partner and new baby are asleep.
Take a book, journal and or video games. You can read to yourself and to your baby. Teach them the sound of your voice. Start building a habit of reading to your kid.
You’ll need a phone to spread the news that you are a dad. First tell the grandparents and aunts and uncles, then Facebook it so you can get all the congrats messages and open the floodgates to ‘helpful’ advice. Don’t forget your phone charger and headphones. You may also want to consider taking a portable radio or make sure you have a radio app on your phone.
Bring a camera, whether it is your phone or another camera. Take pictures of your partner with the baby – no matter how exhausted everyone looks, you will all enjoy those photos later. Just don’t share them online without asking her first. Make sure someone also takes some photos of your first dad moments too. You will also appreciate them later.
A blog – this is a great moment to start your very own dad blog! Actually with my first two kids we had a photo blog with restricted access and we used it to share photos of our kids with family. I just uploaded photos from the week to the site and family members could visit whenever they wanted to see pics instead of us filling their inbox or facebook feed with pictures.
Information about food
Scope out the hospital neighbourhood before labour day. Find out what restaurants are in the area. Your partner will be hungry after giving birth and the hospital kitchens/cafeteria might not be open when she is ready to eat. Also the food on offer might be crap. Know where you can go to get pizza, burgers, salad, whatever she wants. Know what is open when and buy food in advance if everything is likely to be closed when you need it.
Many hospitals won’t let you leave without showing that you have a car seat for your infant. Even if you don’t have a car, you ought to get yourself a car seat. Most strollers can hold a car seat. Infant bucket seats are magical for transporting and transferring a sleeping infant.
In your panic to get out the door and to the hospital, make sure you don’t leave your partner behind. Don’t put her in your hospital bag though.
Dads: Don't forget to take your partner when you go to the hospital for the birth of your kid...Click To Tweet