Fathers to be: What to pack for hospital

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Man folding a shirt into a suitcase
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When expecting a baby, a father to be might be so preoccupied thinking about what his partner needs to pack for hospital that he forgets to properly think through what he’ll need to pack. But the last thing you want is to be on the bad side of a woman who is in labour- and she’ll almost certainly be annoyed if she has to wait to go to hospital so you can pack your bags. If you’re expecting your partner to go into labour any week now, it’s probably time to start packing your bags.

Whether you’re planning to stay just for the birth or will be in hospital until your newborn is ready to go home, you’ll need a few supplies. And remember you’re not just packing a bag for a short break. While it’s important to pack a change of undies and a razor, you’ll also need to think about the things you can pack to support your partner and make sure her birthing experience is as comfortable as possible.

To make the packing a bit easier and make sure you don’t forget anything, use this list of suggestions as you pack your hospital bag.


  • A change of clothes
  • Pyjamas- even if you’re not planning to stay overnight, it might be worth throwing these in your bag just in case
  • Appropriate attire if you plan to stay with mum. Even if you feel right at home in the maternity ward, other women might not feel so comfortable if you’re cruising around in your boxers because you forgot to bring a change of jeans

Toiletries and medicines

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Face washer and soap
  • Razors- if you use an electric one, bear in mind that you may need to get it tested by the hospital before using it in their power points
  • Medications that you take regularly. Even if you don’t think you’ll be at the hospital long enough to need them, it’s better to be on the safe side as it’s impossible to predict how long labour will take

Food and drinks Man leaning over a packed suitcase

  • Easy to prepare food in case childbirth goes for longer than expected. Think about throwing in packet soup or pre-packed meals that are easy to heat up. It’s important to get proper sustenance but at the same time you don’t want to be away from your partner for too long
  • Drinks like a bottle of water or fruit juice. Even though you won’t be working anywhere near as hard as your partner, it’s important to keep up your fluid intake
  • Healthy snacks such as fruit or nuts which you can munch on at any time without leaving her side. It’s important to keep up a healthy diet and you might find that salty, fatty vending machine snacks are all that’s available at the hospital

Things you’ll need for the birth

  • Something to massage your partner. If you don’t have a massager or fancy oils, a couple of tennis balls in a sock can be a great tool for massaging her back while she’s in labour
  • A camera to capture those special moments at the beginning of your baby’s life. Whether you take a video or a still camera, make sure you charge the batteries and throw a spare set in the case. Also take spare memory cards and test all your camera equipment in advance
  • A watch with a second hand so that you can time her contractions
  • If your partner is planning a water birth, don’t forget your bathers

Day to day essentials

  • A bit of money. It’s best not to take too much as you don’t want to have to keep an eye on anything but your partner, but make sure you have enough to buy a newspaper or magazine to pass the time or make a phone call
  • A list of phone numbers for all the people you’ll want to contact or your mobile phone if all the numbers are stored here. And don’t forget your mobile phone charger

What not to bring

When going to support your partner during childbirth there’s not much that you shouldn’t bring, but alcohol is a no-no. Although having a few drinks is often a good way to celebrate special occasions, childbirth is not one of those special occasions and hospital is not one of those places. Drinking is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding, so support your partner and leave alcohol at home.

Download the printable checklist


More information on packing for hospital

A doctor handing a mum her newborn baby For more information about what mums should put in their hospital bag see Packing for hospital- things mum will need during labour and after childbirth
Newborn baby in hospital For more information about what to put in the hospital bag for your newborn see Packing for hospital- what to take for your newborn
Couple driving a car For suggestions about how you can make a failsafe plan for getting to hospital when labour pains start see Getting to hospital for childbirth
Pregnant woman with bag packed, holding keys ready to go to hospital For more information about packing for hospital What to pack for hospital
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Date Created: April 12, 2013 Date Modified: July 3, 2018