If you're wife or partner is expecting a baby soon then you've no doubt got her all important hospital bag packed and waiting by the door, but have you remembered to pack your own hospital bag? You're going to need supplies as well if you're going to make it through! Here's my definitive list on what your bag needs to ensure you are in tip top condition to support your partner whilst she gives birth.
If you can I'd recommend taking a tour of the hospital prior to going into labour so you have a better idea on what's required, some of the items on this list may not even be required, for example if they have reclining chairs or cot beds then you're not going to need a pillow or camping mat. Not all hospitals do tours though so if you aren't able then plan for the worst and be prepared.
- Food. Most importantly take some food, you could be there a while and some snacks or even actual meals will be very welcome to keep you going. Don't be tempted to pack your bag full of chocolate like I did, if you're starting to struggle to stay awake the sugar will wake you up for a while then you'll crash and fall asleep! Get something a bit more balanced, perhaps pasta or cereal bars, or dried fruit (Not dried apricot, it has a laxative effect). Of course a few chocolate treats are nice, but don't rely on it to keep you going. Hospitals do have cafés obviously but they may well not be open in the middle of the night when you want them.
- Drink. Take some water and similar drinks with you, avoid sugary carbonated drinks as these will just give you a sugar high and then you'll crash again afterwards, fruit juices and flavoured spring waters are your best bet. You may however want to pack and energy drink or two as a drink of last resort if you need a boost of energy for the big moment.
- A good book or a magazine. If you don't want to watch something on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or some other streaming service then take a book or magazine with you. In all probability you're going to be there a while and something to read is going to be very welcome.
- Spare change. You will likely need change for vending machines in the hospital, or wheelchairs upon arrival if your partner isn't able to walk to the labour ward. Make sure it's in coins, not notes.
- Battery pack to charge mobile devices from. A lot of hosiptals don't want you plugging a charger into the wall or cables trailing around the delivery room, so get a battery pack with a 2.1A output so you can quickly charge any mobile phone or tablet. Don't forget charging cables.
- Headphones. You might be there a while and it's likely not all going to be action, whilst you're waiting you may want to take a moment to catch up on some Netflix or watch a movie whilst you wait for things to kick off. Headphones mean you can watch a bit easier and your partner can watch her own thing, unless of course you have something you want to watch as a couple!
- Inflatable travel pillow. There is a good chance that labour might take a while, or you might even be waiting a long time for labour to start. There is no guarantee that there will be somewhere comfortable to rest your eyes, so pack a travel pillow of some kind to aid in catching a few moments of shut eye so you're rested and ready when the moment arrives where you're really needed.
- Camping mat. If you're unlucky and you've been awake a long time and unable to sleep due to a lack of reclining chairs or hospital cot bed then you may get desperate and end up eyeing up the delivery room floor as a sleeping option (I know I did!), a camping mat may well make that a far more comfortable option, perhaps keep one in the car as a backup option if things get desperate.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste. After a long time in the hospital you will likely be thankful of a chance to freshen up, and there's nothing like freshly brushed teeth to make you feel a lot cleaner in general.
- Contact lens solution and spare glasses. If you wear contact lenses you're likely going to need to take them out between going into hospital and baby being delivered, take the necessary solutions to do this, and also some spare glasses. You don't want to be blind when baby does eventually arrive!
- Spare t-shirt. When the baby does arrive it may well be sick on you, or if you're in there a long time you may well be thankful for a clean t-shirt to put on.
- Contact list. Once the baby arrives it's probably going to be down to you to announce the news, you're going to be completely frazzled by the time the baby is delivered so write down a list of who you're going to tell, in what order, and how, that way you can just work through the list and let people know the amazing news.
Helpful? Missing something essential? Get in touch!
Did you find my list helpful? Or do you think I've missed something essential? Let me know and I'll add it to the list, would love to hear from you @kieranjones