So as a Dad during the entire pregnancy and birthing process you can sometimes feel like you aren’t being useful. Mom is carrying the baby, she’s giving birth…just remember you are there to support your partner and help her out in any way you can. One thing you can do is get the overnight bag packed and ready to go when the big day comes. Have it ready a month ahead of time. Why so early? Because you never know when your little one may decide it’s time to come out and meet the world early.
You’ll get a list from your wife’s obstetrician and/or the hospital of the items you should definitely have packed in your overnight bag like her insurance card, birth plan, lip balm, maternity bras, camera, etc…but here’s a list of things they seldom mention but I either found really vital or wish someone had told me about:
- Comfortable, supportive shoes – So I can’t stress this one enough. If your spouse ends up having to have a cesarean section (like my wife did), she’s not going to be getting around very well for several days. Getting a drink, 3am feeding…you’ll be doing a lot of walking around on those hard tile or carpeted concrete hospital floors. Make sure you pack comfortable shoes you’ll be able to wear for pretty much your entire stay. Sneakers, ugly orthopedic shoes, it really doesn’t matter as long as they are comfortable. Trust me; you’ll thank me for this one.
- Correctly installed car seat – Although it’s not technically something you pack in your overnight bag, it’s something you’re going to need ready to go when the time comes. Get it installed ahead of time correctly if you can rather than fumbling with it the day you are supposed to be bringing your little one home. Your local police station may have an officer trained to install infant car seats or can check to make sure you have installed it correctly.You can also check with the hospital staff as there may be nurses on staff who are certified to check and make sure your infant car seat is installed correctly.
- Smartphone – You’ll have to check with your hospital to ask if they allow cell phones but if they do, a Smartphone is a compact multipurpose machine for you. Whether you have an iPhone, Android, Blackberry or any other smart device; you can take photos of the baby to email or post online, have all the important phone numbers of people to call after birth and send your Twitter or Facebook updates letting everyone else know of your great news. Don’t forget the charger!
- Music to listen to – Again you’ll need to check with the hospital but many allow you to bring your own music in for both the birth and recovery time. Bring your iPod but also take a dock if you have one. Make sure it’s loaded with music your wife will appreciate of all types. Load music she likes to relax to but don’t forget she may want something peppier to suit her mood and how she is feeling during labor. Note for Dads: Also if she really likes Wham! and you don’t…put it on. This is for her not for you. (you can make a separate playlist of music you like to listen to while she is sleeping).
- Snacks and drinks – I wish I had packed some drinks and snacks when Lil’ E was born. Nothing against the hospital café but the food in general is pretty horrible and when your wife needs a snack at 10pm you’re pretty much stuck with vending machine junk. Pack some healthy snacks for yourself and know where some of the local restaurants are that you can either run out to or (even better) will deliver right to the maternity ward.
Again check with your hospital to find out their policies on the above items but these are just a few things I either found helpful or wish I knew about. What about you? What do you wish you had known or packed for your baby’s birth?