One of our very close friends recently let us know that he and his girlfriend were expecting their first baby. He reached out for advice, and the first thing I could think to tell him was “start working on your core strength now.” The second piece of advice, and probably the more practical, was to start thinking critically about what needs to go to the hospital with you. You never know when it will be game day.
When the Wee Baby T decided to get the party started we had accumulated quite a collection of goodies in our hospital bag – 2 newborn onesies, a couple of diapers, slippers for K, the camera (but not the battery), a deck of cards, pen and paper, 2 books (the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the Princess Bride), a random dog toy that found its way into the mix, a water bottle, yoga ball, tennis ball for massages, protein bars (the ones with mint are the best)… The list goes on, and he was a full month early. I can only imagine how heavy the bag would be if he waited until August.
K’s favourite bit of hospital gear: the Epidural button. The most crucial items are provided by the hospital.
Now, what did we actually use from that list in the 18 hours of labour? Not a lot. Here’s a bullet point list of things you should bring with you for the big day:
- Water bottle
- 2 shirts (maternity/nursing)
- Underwear (these will probably be thrown out, so nothing fancy. Also, this is not a date night.)
- Warm socks
- Phone charger
- toiletries (there may be a shower in the hospital. If so, use it. My wife said it was the best shower of her life)
- Sweatshirt – I don’t care if it is the middle of the summer, it’ll be freezing in the hospital. Bring a hoodie. Maybe 2.
- 1 outfit change
- Phone charger
- Camera (and battery…)
It was so damn cold. They finally brought me a sheet.
- Diapers & wipes (plan on about 8, they may keep you for a couple days)
- 1 outfit
- swaddle blanket
- pre-made formula (I know I’ll get grief for this, and if you don’t believe in formula then I’d never try to persuade you, but I’m a proponent of ‘fed is best’. Let the little guy eat his fill!)
Of course the most important things to bring are your questions. You will be surrounded by professionals who have one job – take care of you and your family. Ask away!
That’s it! The fact is by the time they let you in the hospital you won’t have much time to sit around and play cards or read, plus you’ll be too excited. Chat with your partner, rub her feet, and encourage her to get a nap in before the intense stuff starts. While she’s out, try to catch a couple winks yourself, you’ll need it.
Good luck dad, and congrats.