What do I need to survive delivery?!
Okay fella’s, the Mission Commander has done his due diligence, put in countless man-hours in research to bring you this critical information. If you’re at all like me, when the time to head to the hospital started getting close you did what most modern dads do: you hit up the googles.
If you do a search for ‘what to bring to the hospital for delivery’ you’ll find all sorts of articles telling that sweet little babymaker about everything she’ll need when the time comes. That’s great, cool, solid copy right? Don’t get me wrong, all of that stuff is super important. In fact, stop what you’re doing right now and go pack her hospital bag. It’s cool, I’ll wait. Don’t tell me you don’t know what needs to go in her bag. You don’t? Fine, let’s start with that and get it out of the way, it’ more important than your bag anyways.
Mom’s Hospital Bag:
Okay troop, go grab a big bag and start shoving this stuff in there ASAP. Think of this like your wife’s go-bag for when her internal jump master tells the little one it’s time to stand up, hook up, and shuffle to the birth canal:
- Bath supplies: Everything from her shampoo and conditioner, some of her makeup and hair ties, to some high quality toilet paper (or some tush wipes). That first post-birth shower is going to feel like she’s in one of those commercials where the bikini clad model is reveling under a waterfall and you don’t want her to have to enjoy that with crappy hospital shower supplies. The makeup? Everyone’s taking pictures, and trust me, she’ll want a little touch up before her close up. As for the TP/Wipes, she just got tore up downstairs, she’s not going to want to use the 2-ply sandpaper TP in the hospital bathroom.
- Extra Strength Pads: don’t ask, just pack some.
- Maternity stretchy-pants: I know she just got done popping that little butterball out of her, but that baby-bump doesn’t just magically deflate and go back to normal the next day. She’s gonna want a pair of comfy stretchy for when checkout time comes.
- Non Skid/Slip Socks: No, she’s not going to be doing her best impression of Risky Business while she’s waiting for game time. But she will probably want to get up and at least walk to the bathroom, or maybe even be adventurous and walk the halls a little bit since walking can help speed up labor. The last thing you want is her slipping on those nice polished hospital floors, so pack some socks with some traction.
- Sugar-free hard candy: You might get lucky and labor comes and goes faster than your payday check does, but in the event you aren’t that lucky pack some sugar free candies. Once labor starts she can’t eat or drink anything and you’ll get some major kudos for having something on hand to keep her mouth from becoming a barren wasteland.
- Belly Band: This is more for those moms planning for a c-section delivery, but won’t hurt to have one handy in the event your normal delivery changes to a c-section at the last minute. This will give that sore stomach a little support after it’s all over.
- Breast Pads: You should be stocked up on these for post-birth anyways, but you’ll also want to bring some with you to the hospital so she’s ready post-birth. The last thing she wants is those leaky nips making a nice big wet spot through her shirt until you get home.
What, wait a minute, we haven’t gotten to my bag yet?! Slow your roll there hero, there’s a couple things your both going to need. Once you’ve got mom’s bag ready, get the team gear ready to go. Don’t worry, we’ll get to your bag soon enough.
- Munchies/Pogie Bait: If you’ve never had to deal with hospital food before, then there’s no reason to start now. Trust me, I’d rather have the worst MRE than hospital food. It’s just bland and tasteless for the most part. So stock up on your favorite munchies for the both of you. If you’ve spent any time in the field then you’ll know all well about the need to stock up on Pogie Bait for the duration of your time in lockdown till you get sent home.
- Cash: Depending on how long labor/delivery takes, you could well run out of snacks. Have a decent amount of singles and quarters on hand in case you do so you can raid the vending machines. If you’re lucky the hospital will have a gift shop as well where you can stock up on snacks if need be.
- Chargers: Some folks recommend taking a camera, phone, and tablet with you to the hospital. Now a days most smartphones have high quality cameras on them, so I’d just stick with your phones and a reading device (tablet/Kindle/etc.). In any case, you’re going to be sucking down battery power like crazy updating social media every time something happens up until the baby makes its debut. Once that baby finally comes you don’t want to be sitting there with a dead brick in your hand and no way to take a bajillion pictures to spread all over facebook and instagram, so don’t forget your chargers.
- Bottled Water/Water Bottles/Camelbak: If you’ve only just made it through bootcamp you’ll be familiar with everyone constantly harping on you to hydrate. Labor and delivery is no different, so be prepared. The wife will probably get a cool trucker mug from the hospital to keep her hydrated, but you’ll be on your own Jack. If you have a Camelbak then that’s even better. Labor goes quick for some folks, but for others it could last hours or longer. You don’t want to have to keep reaching over for a water bottle while she’s trying to crush the small bones in your hand pushing, so having that Camelbak straw right there on your shoulder will come in real handy.
- Paperwork: For those of you dads-to-be on Active Duty you don’t have to worry so much about this one. But for my non-military dads-to-be, or those that’ve already ETS’d, be sure to have all your insurance info handy.
- Medication: If either or both of you are on any daily medications you’ll want to be sure and pack them as well. The last thing you want is to be be an hour or so from birth and realize you left your meds at home and have to leave or arrange for someone to bring them to you.
Okay, yeah I know we haven’t gotten to the Dad Bag yet, but trust me we’ll get there. In the scheme of importance you’re at the bottom unfortunately, so here’s some stuff you’re going to need for the baby.
- Newborn clothes: Most of the babies time spent in the hospital after it pops out you’ll probably only have them in a diaper and swaddled up in a blanket from the hospital. Once it’s time to check out though, you’re going to need to slap some clothes on them to prep for transport. Even before you leave though you’ll need some Gloves to put on their tiny little hands to ensure they don’t accidentally scratch themselves.
- Car seat: You should have one of these lined up well before it’s even close to time to head to the hospital. You want to get one at least a couple weeks out so you have enough time to know how to get in the car and secured. You’ll also want to spend some time fiddling with it so you know how to loosen and tighten the straps, as well as any other features that come with it.
- Pacifier: One or two good pacifiers are good to pack with you to have after birth. The hospital might have some basic ones they can give you, but always better to be prepared. You might not even need it, not all newborns take to a pacifier right away, but better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it right?
The Dad Bag:
Alright fella’s, you’ve made it. Time to get your stuff packed. If you waited till the last minute and only got the Mom bag, Team Bag, and Baby gear prepped then you’ll be fine. During this whole experience you’re mostly there as a supportive spectator anyways, but it still doesn’t hurt to have a few things to make sure you’re comfortable and prepared when the time comes.
- Toiletries: Just like you did for mom’s bag, be sure to pack your stuff to freshen up while you’re there. Toothbrush/toothpaste, travel size mouthwash, maybe even shaving gear if you’re so inclined. Once mom’s had a chance to freshen up after giving birth it’ll be your turn and you don’t want to miss the chance to do so now since things might get a bit hectic once you’re back home.
- Extra clothes: Every delivery is different, you could be there a few hours or a few days. As always, better to be prepared for the long haul than just hoping it’ll only be a day or less. Pack an extra set of clothes or two just in case things drag on for a couple nights until you get released.
- Pillow/blanket: Again, this goes with anticipating being there at least one night. Most delivery rooms, as well as the room they’ll stick you in after birth will have a comfy reclining chair for you to set up shop in. Okay, that’s a lie, they aren’t that comfortable. It’s more like the bargain bin special of recliners. But when you’re dead tired and need to catch a few Z’s it’ll do the trick. So bring a comfy pillow and a blanket to make the best of it while you’re there.
- Timekillers: Whether you’re a reader, a gamer, or just want to listen to some tunes while you pass the time you’ll want to bring something to get the job done. Sure, there will likely be a TV in the room, but you don’t want to have to depend on the hospital’s stellar cable lineup at 3 in the morning.
- Laptop w/HDMI cable: Okay this one’s kinda optional, but it couldn’t hurt, especially if your favorite team is going to be playing while you’re at the hospital. Most hospitals have wifi these days, and the TVs in the rooms are modern enough to have an HDMI port, so whether its NFL live streaming or just Netflix it would be good to have another option of stuff to watch while you’re there. Luckily for me my wife is just as into sports as I am so she didn’t look at me funny when I got everything hooked up in the post-birth room so we could watch a preseason NFL game.
- Keepsake supplies: These are optional as well, but trust me on this one. Before we went to the hospital my father gave me the smock he’d worn when I was born that still had my little footprints on them, and I was glad he did. Now we have it framed, not only with my footprint but also my son’s. They’ll have to ink the baby after birth for records and they usually don’t mind getting an imprint on whatever you bring at the same time. You’ll definitely want to do this now, because trying to do it later is a pain in the ass. We got some of those little ornament kits for Christmas to make for our parents and when we tried to get his little handprint on them at 1.5mo it was nigh impossible.
- Alert Roster: Once that little baby makes its debut and you’ve done all the initial stuff like cutting the cord and taking some quick pics you’ll have a slew of people you’ll want to notify. They’ll want to know the little one’s name and how big they are when they came out. So whether it’s a scrap of paper with everyone’s number on it or a prearranged group text you’ll want to have it ready when the time comes. There will be a lot of chaos even after the baby comes there in the delivery room and you don’t want to get lost in all of it trying to do it at the last minute.
That wraps up everything you’ll need for your trip to the hospital for the big show. Be smart and have everything packed and ready in the car well before the time comes because you do not want to be scrambling for all of this stuff if it comes unexpected and your wife is hollering at you to get the car started.
Is there anything else we missed on the list you packed with you or wish you would have for the trip to the hospital? If so, leave a comment below so we can update the list!