The New Dad Hospital Bag Checklist (Stuff to Not Forget)

Congrats! If you’re reading this, you’re going to be a dad. Practice your dad jokes. Start analyzing the lawn. And check stuff off the new dad hospital bag checklist so you’re not wildly unprepared when you get to the hospital room.

I’m a new dad myself, so here’s what I’d suggest you bring with you. And if you think of more things that should be listed here. Email me at I read emails in between my dad jokes and lawn analysis. (You will soon, too.) 

New dad hospital bag checklist:

1. Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.

Go through that bedtime routine of yours and put whatever you use before you go to sleep right into the bag. Then get that bag and put it in the car. The less you have to remember to grab when it’s time for the hospital, the better.

2. Speaker

If you want to listen to any music during labor (which can help keep mom relaxed), a speaker is a good idea. We actually forgot ours and ended up just playing music through my phone, which wasn’t ideal but it worked

I’d also recommend having a playlist so you’re not relying on Spotify or Apple Music to guess what you want to listen to during one of the most important moments of your life.

3. Changes of clothes (3 of them!)

A pretty obvious one. And a pretty obvious idea to make them comfortable clothes. You’re about to have a child come into the world, so no one will care what you look like. Pack comfortable clothes since you’ll be wearing them all day in a hospital room.

And don’t just pack one. I’d recommend packing 3 and you might be glad you did when you’re not re-wearing those now stretch-less socks and stinky shirts if you have to stay longer than expected.

4. Pillow

Either add it to your list of what to grab right before you head to the hospital or put an extra one in the car. Hospital pillows in my experience are no bueno. Sleeping on a rubber hospital couch was far easier because I had my own pillow.

5. Snacks (protein!)

Women in labor can’t really eat much besides liquids but dads waiting with them should definitely eat. I know first hand.

I get hangry when I’m tired and I had protein bars and other snacks that we’d packed ahead of time so I could grab something quick. We also had a Panera in the downstairs of our hospital but I think I could have just eaten snacks and some hospital café food if I had to. 

(Pro tip: bring snacks for mom to have after the birth. There isn’t much a woman can eat during labor but she’ll be exhausted and hungry after the baby arrives. It’s also a great way to surprise her and show you were thinking of her if you bring something you knew is her favorite.)

6. Birth plan notes

People have all sorts of different preferences on birth plans. I’ve seen some online that were crazy thorough and printed out, and some people go in without one. My wife had a handful of things she cared about for labor and delivery, and I might have been able to remember them if I was asked.

But I was glad we had written them down in a note on my phone so I didn’t forget any when we talked to the nurses about it. If you’re not sure what goes in a hospital plan, I’d check out Tommy’s birth plan article.

7. Car seat

Obvious one here. I did wonder for a moment if we were supposed to bring the car seat into the hospital right when we got there. The answer (that now feels obvious having gone through it) is no. You can go get the car seat from the car once you’re ready to go home. 

Just make sure you’ve practiced putting the car seat in the car or the car seat base beforehand. I’d strongly recommend the car seat base if you haven’t gotten one already so you don’t have to buckle the whole car seat in every time you’re going anywhere.

8. Phone chargers

I wrote about it in how dads can prepare for birth, too, but I’d bring chargers with long cords. My wife got long chargers to just keep in our hospital bag and it made it easier for her to still use her phone to stay occupied while we waited for her to dilate more.

9. Health insurance info

The hospital will ask for the health insurance info for mom and for the baby, so I’d recommend saving both ahead of time if they’re different insurance plans. (My situation was my son going on my health insurance through my work and my wife had her own work health insurance. I thankfully remembered our insurance cards.)

10. Separate bag for baby clothes

I was very glad my wife prepared us well and packed our son’s clothes separately. I had my clothes all on their own, so I didn’t need to go digging through bags and making a huge mess in a small hospital room when I needed to change clothes. Packing cubes worked well for us!

11. Gum or essential oils

I was told a few times during the pregnancy that the birth process involves a lot of smells. I have a sensitive sniffer and wasn’t wild about that idea. So I took two suggestions from the trusty old internet and chewed gum and put some minty-smelling oil under my nose toward the end of labor.

My wife did the same with the oil. We were both glad we did and didn’t notice a single smell bothering us.

12. Own blanket(s)

Our hospital provided a blanket for me, but it was basically a bed sheet and it was neither comfortable or warm. We did bring a comfortable blanket for my wife but I’d bring another for myself if I did it over again.

You can bet I’ll have a much better stocked dad hospital bag the second time around.

13. Noise machine

This is both for you during any time you get to sleep while waiting on the baby, as well as the baby once they arrive. If you sleep with a noise machine or fan on at home, you’ll definitely want a portable noise machine for the hospital. It’s already not easy to sleep and the hospital has plenty of noises with beeps and voices and other things, so anything to make it more comfortable is worth it.

14. ChapStick

I wouldn’t have thought to pack it but my wife was super glad we had it. Labor is already a stressful and uncomfortable situation for a mom when they’re trying to birth a human. It’ll make it slightly more comfortable if you’ve got ChapStick for her and her lips aren’t cracked and dry the whole time. 

15. Contact info for pediatrician’s office

After our son was born, we had to call our pediatrician and set up his first appointment. Not sure if every hospital requires this, but our hospital actually required that the appointment was set before we were allowed to leave and take our little man home. And the hospital staff also offered to contact them, but my wife thankfully already had the pediatrician’s info saved.

16. Shower shoes

If only this was part of my own new dad hospital bag checklist when I was packing. Ours room’s shower was about 5/10 in cleanliness. Who knows what the shower will look like in your hospital room. May the odds be ever in your favor.

My wife was smart enough to put flip flops in her bag but I forgot. Thankfully I was so tired and ready to shower that I didn’t care much, but I wouldn’t wish bare feet on an old hospital shower floor upon my worst enemy.


If your bags are packed and you thought of other new dad hospital bag essentials, email me at For other recommendations on how to make the experience of becoming a dad as smooth as possible, see what labor is like for dads, the things I wish I’d known before my dad-hood started, and general new dad tips.