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Checklist for the Dad-to-Be

With your baby ready to arrive in a matter of time, now is the perfect opportunity to begin preparing for your own role in the labor process and the ultimate challenge after you bring your baby home for the first time. Ultimately, as there’s no telling when your wife will go into labor, these are the things that you should have ready as early as the 36th week of her pregnancy. Here is a complete checklist of the things you will need to be an active and supportive partner during childbirth.

Checklist for the Dad-to-Be

Checklist for the Dad-to-Be

"LET THE GAMES BEGIN!" by Edwin & Kelly Tofslie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Paternity leave

If your workplace provides paternity leave, you will need to apply for it in advance. Talk to your partner about the roles you will be playing once the baby arrives, and how long each of you will be staying home to take care of your newborn. Decide on how many days paternity leave you will be taking and plan accordingly.

Food at home

Keep your kitchen cabinets and freezer well-stocked with meals that can last you for at least a couple of weeks. Whether you’re buying frozen meals or cooking them in advance and storing them in the freezer, it’s best to do it now because there certainly won’t be much time for either once the baby arrives. Preparation like this will assure that the transition into having a newborn at home is easier and with less challenges.

Travel arrangements to the hospital

If you own a car, ensure that it is in good working condition for your trip to the hospital. The gas tank must be kept filled, and headlights, windshield wipers and brakes have to be working properly. You might also want to do a trial run to see how long it takes you to get to the hospital and which is the best route for you to take. You don’t want unexpected surprises when your child is on its way! If you don’t own a car, make sure you have clear travel arrangements in place so that you can have your wife out of the house and on her way in minutes when the time comes to take her to the hospital.

Car seat

Checklist for the Dad-to-Be

Checklist for the Dad-to-Be

" Raffa/car seat" by Debs (ò‿ó)♪ is licensed under CC BY 2.0

You need to have a car seat to bring your baby home from the hospital. When at the store, consider ease of putting the child into and taking the child out of the car seat as well as whether it sits securely in your car. Check out on our comprehensive car seat and stroller buying guide for more help.

Pre-registration at the hospital

You can save unnecessary waiting time in the hospital lobby by pre-registering for your wife’s delivery. This is a process that minimizes paperwork and ensures  your wife’s name, insurance information and practitioner contact info is already with the hospital when you arrive.

Hospital bag for dad

Yup, you read that right. Your wife isn’t the only one who needs her hospital bag packed and ready to go. In order to provide your complete focus and support to your partner on the big day, you’ll need to be prepared with a few items of your own. Here are some of the most important things to pack in dad’s hospital bag.

  • Phone, charger: You’ll have plenty of calls to make to friends and family once the baby arrives, and you don’t want to run out of charge half-way through.
  • Change: You will need change at the hospital parking lot, vending machines and even at the pay phone if your mobile phone is not allowed inside certain areas.
  • Food and drink: You can’t be sure how long you will be waiting at the hospital, and you don’t want to be at the cafeteria when your wife wants you by her side. Take plenty of snacks, water and non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic drinks to ensure your own comfort during the wait.
  • Games/magazines/books/tablet: Keep yourself occupied with simple things that you enjoy while your wife is getting some rest or has to be away from you.
  • Medications: Try telling the nurse that you’re having a light headache while your wife is having a contraction. Even if someone does pay attention, the tablets will cost you a lot more than the store price. Play it safe and pack some basic pain relievers along with any regular medication that you need to take with you.
  • Toiletries: A toothbrush, toothpaste, chewing gum, a few mouth fresheners and some deodorant will help you feel comfortable and refreshed during the wait and any time that you might spend in the hospital after your child’s birth.
  • Camera, camcorder, batteries: Speak to your wife beforehand about which parts of the labor process she’s okay with documenting. Make sure the camera batteries are charged and that you have extra batteries on hand so that you don’t miss out on capturing any of those life-changing moments.
  • Pillow: It’s not going to be non-stop action from the moment you arrive at the hospital. There will be long periods where nothing is happening and you should try getting some sleep so that you’re refreshed when the real action begins. A comfortable pillow will help you catch a few winks irrespective of where you’re parked.
  • Change of clothes: If your wife is having a normal delivery, a single set should do for you, but if she’s having a C-section, you may need two or three sets of clothes to see you through the hospital stay.
  • Insurance cards: Be prepared with insurance cards and any other important document that may come in handy while you’re at the hospital.

It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the things your wife has packed in her hospital bag so that you can take care of her and your baby’s needs while you’re at the hospital.

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