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What to pack in your hospital bag for Labour

Don't miss a thing

By Al Ferguson

Al Ferguson is the CEO and founder of The Dadsnet.

Published on 09/06/2014

 Hospital Bag

Are you totally lost about what to pack in your hospital bag for labour? I was too!

I’ll start with a tip. A piece of golden advice. Wise words from those who have gone before us. Ready? Here it is:  

Dads, you MUST pack the bag. Otherwise the wife will ask you for the flannel and you’ll be hunting through the bag frantically, rummaging through the abundance of inanimate objects. The image of a man routing through a bag, tipping the contents out onto the floor is not what anyone would want to see in a labour ward. So, dads pack the bag so you have a fighting chance of being able to locate the necessary items. 
I’m at the stage now where we’re starting to find a bag big enough. We need to think about packing our pack in the next week or so. 
This is a minefield though. Making sure the birth bag is fully equipped could be what makes or breaks the labour experience. Cover all bases; take more than you think you need and then take some more. You need to prepare for every eventuality. You never know, a storm might come in and you’ll be stuck I the room for weeks on end.
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You might get taken hostage by crazed hospital porters. A swarm of angry invading locusts might flood the air conditioning units. Th point is, be prepared. 
I have compiled a Dad Network hospital bag checklist of essential items for the hospital pregnancy bag. Feel free to leave bits out, but if you do…don’t come crawling back. Here you go: 
#1 A cold flannel
#2 Massive knickers (paper ones are terrible apparently) 
#3 Your own towel or 2 
#4 Dressing gown and pyjamas
#5 A change of clothes for yourself as well as the wife
#6 Camera
#7 A fan or water spray, especially for the summer months
#8 Ipad – not for you to play on necessarily, but to play music from or use to help with distraction techniques
#9 Any paraphernalia you might need for your relaxation techniques. Oils, aromatherapy stuff, candles, massage things
#10 Money – for the shop and car park
#11 Snacks – energising snacks
#12 Baby clothes including hat and mittens
#13 Nappies
#14 Paracetomol for you because hospitals will only give it out to the mums and let’s be honest, you might end up with a headache too! 
#15 Slippers
#16 Your own pillow
#17 Roll mat to have a kip on for those longer labours (you never know!) 
#18 Car seat (well, not actually in the bag, but don’t forget it!)
#19 Toothbrush
#20 Lip balm
#21 Frozen / cold drinks
#22 Toiletries – shower gel, soap etc
#23 Hair scrunchy
#24 Cotton wool
#25 Socks
#26 Hairbrush
#27 Nursing bra (I think that is a bra with detachable straps…) 
#28 Tens machine
#29 Birthing ball (some hospitals can provide these)
#30 Penknife (Because men should always have a pen knife) 
#31 Tennis ball (you’ve seen The Great Escape right?) 
#32 Books, magazines etc
#33 Maternity pads
#34 Nipple cream – Lansinoh is by far the best
#35 Breast pads
#36 Swimming trunks for water birth
#37 Comfy shoes
See, it’s a lot hey? The picture at the top is pretty accurate! Now, the best way to organise all this is to split into 3 sections. 3 slightly smaller bags really.
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You can tell this is a dads plan. Far too logical for an emotional, pregnant women. Anyway, the 3 sections are: 
#1 What the mum will want and need
#2 What the dad will want and need
#3 What the baby will want and need
That way you’re not fishing through a roll mat and 3 baby grows and the camera to find the wife some clean knickers. Sensible eh! 
And there you have it; a complete guide to packing the hospital / birth / maternity / pregnancy bag.

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  1. neilkwalker

    I read so much beforehand on what I needed to take, that in the end I think I entered the ward like a pack pony. In hindsight it would’ve been better to split the immediately required labour ward items from the stuff that would be needed once we reached the general ward. There’s not much room in the labour ward usually, so if you’re able to leave a lot of this in a secondary bag in your car nearby seems to make more sense IMHO. You’ll also welcome the chance to pop out for five minutes later for fresh air!

    • Al TheDadNetwork

      Thanks for your comment.

      Pack pony is about right. We have loads and loads and loads of stuff…

  2. Tom IdeasforDads

    Pair of shorts for dad to be. Hossies are like tropical hot houses and the last thing you want to be doing is passing out as Mums to be take real exception to this!

    • Al TheDadNetwork

      That’s a great tip! I’ll add in a pair of shorts… but it’s going to be a very tight squeeze to get the zip shut!

      Thanks for the comment

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