Dad heading out the door with hospital bag

What goes in the hospital bag for dad when it’s time for the birth of your baby?

From 40 weeks leading up to the birth of a child, most of the energy and focus is on the mom and new baby’s arrival.

Getting the nursery ready, making sure mom is comfortable, preparing a baby shower, and the list goes on, but one thing you can’t forget is dad’s hospital bag. But, of course, mom’s hospital bag is already packed, and she most likely has the baby’s first outfits ready to go.

However, it’s the dads who typically seem to be the most unprepared. And with the average hospital stay for the birth of a new child being 2-3 days, if you’re an expecting father, you don’t want to forget anything!

Here is a complete hospital bag essentials list of what to pack in the hospital bag for dad!

Dad’s Hospital Bag Packing List:

The gist of what to bring is pretty simple. Here is a quick checklist of essentials that you can print or take a picture of to make sure you get it all and avoid collecting any last-minute items:

  1. Your very own pillow & blanket (<— a must)
  2. Food & Snacks
  3. Drinks
  4. Camera
  5. Socks
  6. Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  7. Toiletries
  8. Contact lenses
  9. Cell phone, phone Charger & Airpods/headphones
  10. Book
  11. Comfortable shoes & comfy clothes
  12. Important documents (insurance card, etc.)
  13. Change of clothes & extra underwear
  14. Refillable water bottle

The simplest way to make this all happen is to go into your room, grab a carry-on-sized suitcase and toss three days’ worth of clothes in it, extra toiletries, some non-perishables, and everything else from the dad hospital bag checklist above.

While you can bring some other things like a speaker and massage oil for labor, the truth is you want first to cover your basics before you start adding extras on top!

Dad’s Hospital Bag – What to Include

Growing up, we always heard you need a few things to survive as a human – food, water, and shelter.

When it comes to welcoming a new baby to the world, you want to make sure you have those basics covered, and shelter is taken care of for you, a hospital room. That means you need to take care of food and water followed by a few others that you don’t want to forget!

Food & Drinks

You don’t want to come unprepared in the food and snack department, so don’t underestimate how much food you will eat over a few days.

It is always better to bring more and not need it than to bring not enough. But suppose you do forget to get enough food. In that case, luckily, most hospitals have some decent cafeterias with great menus that will cover lunch and dinner each day for a relatively reasonable price.

Not to mention, it sure beats ordering delivery or takeout every day.

Essential items to bring:

  • Jerky
  • Trail mix
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Loose change for vending machines
  • Gatorade or an equivalent
  • Perhaps pack a few sandwiches, salads or take out pizza too


Toiletries should be pretty self-explanatory, but don’t forget your toiletry bag. The best dad hospital bag must-have things to keep your mouth clean (toothpaste) and yourself clean (things to shower with like dry shampoo and conditioner).

Most hospitals have birthing suites that allow for dad to take a shower, and if you happen to forget some things, don’t worry. There are usually some things there just in case. Plus, during a long labor, you may want to shower to chill out at some point!

Essential items to bring:

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner,
  • Face lotion
  • Electronic shaver
  • Glasses & contact solution if needed

Own Pillow & Blanket

While the moms get treated like royalty, you might feel a little on the outside when it comes to sleeping arrangements at night. So be sure to include a pillow and blanket on your packing list for a few reasons.

For starters, sometimes, the hospitals use disposal pillows that are about as comfortable as a rolled-up sock to sleep on. Secondly, while the hospital will give you a blanket, it isn’t a bad idea to have your own just in case.

Essential items to bring:

  • A nice pillow (don’t forget this)
  • A blanket just in case you get stuck in a reclining chair
  • If you are unsure if you will need these items, pack them anyway and leave them in your car as backup!


You will need clean boxers, comfortable clothes like joggers and sweatshirts, and a few t-shirts to last you during your stay at the hospital. Be prepared to spend long periods in the same clothes hence the emphasis on comfy clothes!

If you are a new dad, you might want to dress up to welcome your first child to the world. But, unfortunately, most dads will tell you to err on the side of comfortable overlooking sharp!

Essential items to bring:

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sweatshirt & pants
  • Enough underwear to last four days just in case
  • A bathing suit or swimwear for water birth? (kidding, but serious)

Important Documents

You will need the apparent paperwork like insurance information cards and driver’s licenses, especially when they’re issuing the wristbands when you check-in at the hospital.

However, it’s essential to make sure you have a checkbook or money order to pay for the birth certificate, which has to be on your checklist since the birth certificate is a sort of a big deal.

Essential items to bring:

  • Insurance cards
  • Driver’s license
  • Money order or checkbook (for birth certificate)


While most people are typically on their phones, you don’t want to forget the accompanying charger and your laptop or tablet and laptop bag for work/entertainment purposes!

Just be sure you focus on the mamas to be not the show on your phone; trust me on this one. A portable speaker also comes in handy in the delivery room if they don’t have a speaker system already.

Essential items to bring:

  • Charger for phone
  • Portable speaker
  • Laptop or tablet
  • Kindle or reader

Extra: Labor Items

The mom-to-be will want to be comforted during the birthing process. So dad’s hospital bag can include things like an external speaker, oil for a massage, and a birth plan!

Some hospitals already have a plugin for your phone to play music (Spotify has some awesome playlists for labor, too!), but just in case you want to have a portable speaker to play some music.

Your mamma-to-be might not want a massage, but it’s better to have some massage oil handy just in case. Lastly, the birthing plan, a.ka delivery plan, is always a good idea when giving birth. Of course, knowing and having a plan for the big day won’t be fail-proof, but it will help you!

Last few tips for dad:

Pack, pack, pack ahead of time!

In all sincerity, please do not wait until the last minute to get your things together, but instead, knock out your hospital bag list sooner than later. As you approach the big day, you don’t want to stress packing a bag when the baby arrives.

Instead, have a goal to have your bag ready at least four weeks before the due date to be safe. Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of a push present, a gift for your wife!

And, although it’s already a stressful event, don’t forget the car seat either!


What should dads pack for the hospital?

Start with the basics; food, reusable water bottles, and clothes. From there, don’t forget your toiletries and electronics. Lastly, as a dad-to-be, you want to ensure your dad’s hospital bag checklist is complete before heading to the hospital!

What kind of bag should I use for my hospital stay?

A carry-on luggage bag or a gym bag work great to haul your “Hospital bag for dad” stuff around! The carry-on is excellent for a few reasons, one being the wheels and because you will also be carrying your partner’s hospital bag!