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New Baby: Packing for Dad's Hospital Stay -- A New Dad Guide for Preparing for a Child's Birth

Updated on March 28, 2013
It's easy to get caught up in the needs of a new mother and baby during their hospital stay, but don't forget considerations for new dads too.
It's easy to get caught up in the needs of a new mother and baby during their hospital stay, but don't forget considerations for new dads too. | Source

After months of waiting, your bundle of joy is almost here. You’ve been driving people crazy trying to make sure everything is perfect. The house is spotless, and everything is packed and ready for the hospital. Or is it? It’s easy to remember what to pack for mommy and baby, but what about daddy? He’s likely to be just as hospital-bound as you, especially if this is your first baby and he’s staying in the room with you until you leave. Take a moment to consider what the new dad might need during the grueling labor and delivery, and the period of confinement to ensure mom and baby are okay.

Dealing with boredom in the hospital

It’s probably safe to assume that you remembered the basics. You probably have fresh clothes, a shave kit, and maybe even a book or something else to do. Consider just how long you might be there. Labor might be over in a couple of hours, or it might stretch out for a couple of days. Everything may be perfect, allowing baby and mom to go home 24 hours later. There might be problems, in which case the hospital stay may be 72 hours or longer after delivery.

It’s important to have a variety of things you can do. Try to find things that you can do while baby and mom are sleeping, as well as things that mom can do whenever she’s awake and feeling up to it. If she plans to breastfeed, try to find some boredom-reducing options that only take one hand.

Both mother and baby have just been through quite an ordeal, and they’re likely to sleep at odd hours. A book, deck of cards or internet device with headphones can help keep you occupied without disturbing anyone. Remember, there are hundreds of varieties of Solitaire, so even cards can go a long way if you prepare accordingly.

Traditional board games are a great way to alleviate boredom for both of you. Consider something like Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit, which will provide hours of diversion together. Sure, computers and mobile devices are nice to have, but they can be tricky around a new baby. Remember, this is a tiny being that drinks milk from a breast or bottle, and is known for regurgitating fluids at any time without warning.

If possible, ask ahead of time if there is a TV available, and whether or not it has a DVD player. Many hospitals will allow you to bring your own DVD player if there’s not one there, and you may even be able to bring gaming systems or other such diversions if that’s something in which you’re interested.

Sleeping in comfort

Hospitals are often great at providing for a comfortable stay for new mothers, and providing for all of baby’s needs until he or she goes home. That doesn’t always ring true for anyone else staying overnight in the room. They might have a cot or hide-a-bed, but how comfortable can they be? If you’re overweight or arthritic or have other issues, those sleeping arrangements can be downright painful. Consider bringing a body pillow, camp mat, or a foam or inflatable mattress pad. If you’re really given to muscle and joint soreness, you might enjoy a heat pack as well.

If you’re a smoker, don’t forget about clean air laws. Nearly all hospitals don’t even allow smoking on the premises, so you can forget about just stepping outside the building or getting a quick nicotine fix in the parking garage. During labor and delivery, you’re probably going to be completely stuck away from a safe smoking zone for an unknown length of time. Consider bringing some candy, nicotine gum, or pouches of dip to help curb the cravings.

Your own comfort might not be at the top of your priority list as you prepare for a new baby, but it’s a significant part of making this as easy of a transition as possible. A baby will change your life forever, and the needs of ALL family members must be attended to as well as possible. It is a crucial part of making this a positive, low-stress experience. Don’t forget, this is probably your last chance to sleep through the night and enjoy some relaxation time for quite a while, so take the opportunity to enjoy it.

Have you already had your hospital stay? Please take a moment to post a comment below, and share what one item you wish you had or couldn't do without. I hope this hub has been helpful, and thank you for reading.


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