My wife and I wear talking a couple of days ago as she was getting her hospital bag ready and she mentioned something that appalled me for a second. "Are you getting a hospital bag ready too?" It completely caught me by surprise. I had not thought about this but knew this was something I was missing. Our first pregnancy was intense, to say the least, and at that time I was working at a fabrication plant and only had 2 unpaid days off. With a newborn in the NICU and a hurting wife, I had no choice at the time but to go back to work. This time around, it's different and I'll be able to be next to my wife and baby for as long as I need to be. We've worked for this flexibility in our lives but I also wanted to point out that this is highly unlikely for the majority of parents our there, especially dads.

With little to no time off and probably zero paid time off, many dads out there don't see the need for a hospital bag. The average number of days in the hospital after delivery being 2, there are a couple of things you may want to pack in your hospital bag, backpack, duffel bag, carrier, etc. Here is a list of essential items you should consider taking. After all, a hospital couch is not that comfortable to sleep on.

Blanket and Pillow

As stated above, the couches at the hospital are nowhere near comfortable. With the climate control of the hospitals being on the chilly side, it can get pretty cold so be sure to take a blanket that is warm but not too bulky. One of the nights I stayed at the hospital I had to sleep without a pillow and I wouldn't want that happening to you. Either take a normal pillow or go with a travel pillow. Go prepared, and ready to get a little comfortable.

Hygiene Products

Most, if not all, recovery hospital rooms have a restroom with a shower. You'll more than likely be there for a couple of days so be sure to take some hygiene products. Take the basics like shampoo and conditioner, body wash, a razor or trimmer, deodorant, and lotion. Consider taking travel size containers to avoid taking a heavy and bulky bag.

Change of Clothes

Warm and comfortable clothes are key. You want to be ready for the unexpected. I would say it is safe to take 2-3 outfits. Interchangeable outfits are even better. Take a pair of jeans or pants and simply change your interior wear and a top. Go with a long sleeve, sweater, or jacket unless you enjoy colder climates. Oh! don't forget some warm socks!

Portable Chargers

Out of reach outlet plugs are inconvenient and the many messages and calls from friends and family will surely drain your mobile device. Go ready and take a portable charger. You won't have to worry about plugging your phone behind the hospital bed or your phone dying mid-call. It also allows you to walk around while you stretch your legs, get some fresh air outside all while you charge your phone. It's a life saver.

Comfortable Shoes / Slippers

This is a special time in your life! So be sure you are comfortable as you will probably be walking  or standing around often. Cafeteria runs are quite common too even though most hospitals have room service. Slippers are great to also pack for the evening or when you know you are staying in the room for a long period of time. Again, comfort is key.


This can be a lifesaver for some. The cafeteria at your hospital more than likely closes for the night and if you did not eat, you'll be hungry throughout the night unless you have a relative or friend that can stop by and deliver some food. Visiting time usually end between 9:00PM- 10:00PM so be sure to start settling in for the night before then. However, if you have some snacks, you don't have to worry about going hungry. I would go for crackers, granola bars, fruit bars, even oatmeal.

I hope you found this helpful and that you have a better idea or reason to start packing your hospital bag. This is a special time in a parents life so don't let the inconveniences get in the way of life's precious moments.