The New Dad Hospital Survival Kit

As further proof that this topic doesn't get enough coverage, I offer the fact that this image came up when I Googled "hospital survival kit for dads."

Before we had Rosalie, I saw several lists of what we needed to pack for the hospital. The problem is, these lists only told me what Becky needed, not what I would need. So, I figure we need a Hospital Survival Kit list for dads. Here goes:

1. Uninstalled Car Seat. Whatever you do, don’t put the car seat in before you go to the hospital. Driving around with a car seat in the back of your car before you have a baby not only makes you look like an idiot, but it’s bad luck. Just throw the car seat in the trunk. You’ll have plenty of time during your hospital stay to go outside and install it.

2. Breath Mints. There’s a lot of foreheads-pressed-together action throughout the birth process and you don’t want to give the mom-to-be any more reasons to get upset than the obvious one she already has. Pulling out a tin of Altoids every hour or so might save your relationship.

3. Delivery Clothes. Through 18 hours of labor I was still wearing a sportcoat. Nobody ever told me to change.  As you can imagine, the birth process can be a little unsanitary,  so make sure you take some clothes that you don’t mind if they get ruined, but will also keep you from looking like a derelict in those “I just had a baby!” photos. Heck, make it easy on yourself and just get a pair of Daddy Scrubs.

4. Water Bottle. New moms need to drink a lot of water and those tiny hospital cups are miserable to keep filling up every time she finishes a thimble full of water.

5. Smartphone. If you don’t have a smartphone by now, it’s time for you to get one. I know, you’re really taking a stand against the status quo by hanging onto that relic of a mobile phone, but you’re a dad now, you don’t have time for pointless causes. Plus, you’ll be texting a lot, sending emails and shooting photos and video, so if you didn’t need a smartphone before, you do now. Also, it’s probably time you stop french rolling your jeans.

6. A Time Passer. You can’t really watch TV in the hospital because the sound only comes out of the remote control (which is attached by the world’s shortest cord to the bed). This means you can’t really watch TV when mom’s sleeping, and can’t hear it when she’s not. So, make sure you bring a time passer. Whether you’re into crosswords, video games or Choose Your Own Adventure books, make sure you bring something to keep you from dying from boredom.

7. Bavia Gift Card. Bavia provides healing massage for new moms while they are still in the hospital. Book her Bavia service in advance and surprise her with it after your baby is born. She’ll feel better and you’ll feel like a hero.

8. iHome/Speakers. Most Labor & Delivery rooms have speakers to plug your iPod into, but the Maternity rooms do not. Bring a little speaker system so you don’t have to listen to the all-Michael Bolton and/or Michael Buble’ music stations on the TV.

9. Plenty of Cash. At some point, you’re going to want someone who is coming to visit you to stop at the store and grab you something (food, toiletries, a box of cigars, etc.). You can’t pay a middleman for a Chipotle burrito without cash.

10. Blanket. The pillows at the hospital are fine, you don’t need to bring a pillow. What you do need is a decent blanket. Hospital blankets are either too short or too thin or both. Bring your own and that stupid foldout chair you have to sleep on will be a little bit more tolerable.

11. A Notebook. Whether paper or a computer, you really should write down your perspective of your baby’s birth. Use the voice memo function on your phone to record your thoughts in real time, then pull them together later in a couple of journal entries. I know, it sounds kind of sappy, but this isn’t for you, it’s for your baby. How cool would it be to have a written record of what your dad was thinking when you were born? This is your first chance to be the kind of dad that does cool things like this for his kid. Be that kind of dad.

12. A Positive Attitude. You are the rock that an ocean’s worth of waves will crash into over the next few days. Stay focused, stay strong and above all, stay optimistic.


  1. Anonymous
    November 7, 2012 at 11:07 pm · Reply

    Always have the carseat installed and checked at the local police station before you come to the hospital. All the hospital staff will think your an idiot if you have it in the room and still in the box. Before you put your new little one into your car, you want someone certified to make sure it’s installed correctly. 90% of carseats are not installed properly.

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