You often read about what is essential for mom and baby’s hospital bags but very rarely do you see any mention of what birthing partners may need.
I spent absolutely ages packing and unpacking my hospital bag for the arrival of my new baby, washing and ironing and making sure it was perfect. At 30 weeks the hospital bags were ready to be put in the car, now all I needed was to go into labor!
However, after I had my first baby which was a grueling 24 hours I wish I had packed a few things for my husband.
He wasn’t fed, he had a headache, looked tired, sweaty and an absolute mess. To be honest I think he looked more like he had been in labor than me!
Funnily enough none of my subsequent labors were actually long enough for my husband to use the stuff I had packed but knowing that he had a little bag of essentials put my mind at ease. I have packed a hospital bag for my husband for my following 4 births and left it in the car in case he needs it.
Here is a list of things that I packed for my husband’s hospital bag:
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You may find that you have an overnight labor and your partner needs to freshen up in the morning. It’s a good idea to have a spare toothbrush and toothpaste packed in case he needs it. It would also be helpful to pack some shower gel and deodorant in case there is a chance for a quick shower.
A change of clothes
A change of clothes is always a good thing, your partner may get caught in the crossfire when your waters break, mine broke with such force they hit the wall on the other side of the room!
Some women also vomit during labor and he wouldn’t want to pick up a newborn smelling of sick. Labor wards are also notoriously known to be very hot so its likely along with nerves he will sweat.
There is most likely not going to be anywhere for him to shower so having a spare set of clothes and a deodorant will help him feel clean.
If you are hoping for a water birth then it’s a good idea to pack your partners swimming gear, even if you don’t think he will be joining you in the pool on the day, I would still recommend having it just in case you change your mind at the last minute.
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I wouldhighly recommend packing some painkillers, headaches and migraines are commonamongst partners that aren’t used to being up all day and night.
Labor wards tend to be very warm so it may be an idea to pack a small handheld fan so that you can cool down without having to leave the labor ward.
Snacks and drinks
This is the most important thing to pack in my opinion. Partners usually don’t get fed on the ward so it’s a good idea to pack some glucose energy drinks and some breakfast bars. Remember that hospital restaurants close in the evening so more than likely there will not be anywhere to eat if you go into labor late at night. I always packed a sandwich or 2 in case this happened.
If your labor is anything like my first one then your partner will need lots of magazines or a tablet to keep him from dying of boredom. Also, if you have gone in early, need to be induced or waiting for an elective C section you can be waiting around for a very long time so it’s a good idea to have an assortment of entertainment to make the time go quicker.
I remember asking my husband to download a series for me before I was due to go in for induction just to make the time go quicker.
Your own pillow or a foam neck cushion
Your partner will be lucky to get a chair in the hospital so its worth helping your partner be as comfortable as possible, taking your own pillow or neck cushion could really help them feel much comfier and even get some sleep on that awful hospital chair.
Hospitals are known to be very warm places and you are unlikely to find a fan in the winter so it may be an idea to pack a handheld fan. The warm hospital coupled with nerves are enough to give anyone a sweaty brow.
Baby’s first outfit
I always pack the baby’s first outfit in a clear see through bag as my husband is never able to find anything in the main suitcase. This consists of a nappy, baby grow, bodysuit, cardigan and hat I also pack small booties and a blanket depending on the time of year.
Loose change for the parking lot and vending machine
Its always a good idea to have some loose change for the vending machine and for the parking lot as you don’t know how long the labor will be.
My husband has a soft spot for chips especially when he is stressed or nervous so I make sure that there is enough money for him to eat enough chips to get us through the labor!
Give your partner a copy of your birth plan
This is vital if you have any special requests such as giving the baby oral vitamin K and delayed cord clamping. It would also be a good idea to let your partner know of any allergies you may have in advance.
Giving him a copy that is easily accessible means that he will have all the information to hand if he needs it.
Smart phone or camera
Don’t forget to take your camera or smart phone to capture those first moments with your new baby, and don’t forget to pack your smartphone charger especially if you have been in the hospital a long time and using your phone to surf the web!