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Hospital Survival Guide for New Dads

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a new dad holding his twin babies in the hospital

Congrats on your pending promotion to Dad! It's truly a life-changing experience; I just went through it for the second time. I started this website to share my experience and wisdom with new dads just like you.


TLDR Dad's New Dad Hospital Survival Guide has everything you need to confidently navigate your hospital stay, support your partner, and snuggle your baby.


From practical must-haves to heartfelt gestures, this guide ensures you're ready for anything this wild journey throws at you.


You'll only be a new dad once - use this guide to nail it!


New Dad Hospital Survival Guide

 New Dads Hospital Survival Guide

Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

I am an "eat the frog" type of person so I will start with the least fun, but most important tip. One aspect that is commonly overlooked is your partner's wishes if there is an emergency situation and she can't advocate for herself. Hospitals have 'default routines' that they are required to follow (if X, then Y) if a directive or birth plan is not on file, which may go against her wishes.


She can complete a birth plan or healthcare directive before she goes into labor to ensure her wishes are followed. Bring a paper copy of the signed document with you to avoid any delays.


Most hospitals have their own version of a healthcare directive that you can complete before the delivery date. Most states also have their own statutory template that you can download for free (search for "[your state] healthcare directive" and it should be one of the top results.


Set Expectations and Say No

Your families and friends will all want to meet baby, which is great.

But the moment you get in the car to drive to the hospital, your partner's needs and wishes come first. Without question.

You'll likely be the one sending updates to both families and your job is to politely manage the visitors and distractions. There will also be a wide assortment of doctors and nurses stopping in. Learning to say "no" kindly when it is not a convenient time will ensure a peaceful environment for her and the baby.


If its a bad time, simply say "Hi, Thanks for stopping by. Mom and baby are resting right now. Would you be able to come back in an hour or so?"


Stay Energized

The labor and delivery process usually takes A LOT longer than in the movies. Time crawls by when you're waiting for your baby to be born. Pack a bag of filling, protein-rich snacks like beef jerky and energy bars to keep your stamina up during labor and delivery.


The nurses typically ask first-timers if they've eaten lately because new dad's pass out during the birth more often than you'd think.

ALWAYS get your wife's blessing on your snack bag. If the smell is repulsive to her heightened sense of smell you will be in for a long hospital stay.

Self-Care

Make sure you pack comfortable shoes and some Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Even though you're not the one delivering the baby, you'll be on your feet and running around making sure your wife has everything she needs.


Unless you're 5'5", the hospital couch you sleep on will wreak havoc on your body and your wife doesn't want to hear any complaining from you. The adjustment to hearing your baby cry can also give you a wicked headache, so be prepared.


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Pack Multiple Outfits + Extra Shirts

Pack comfortable clothes for lounging, nicer outfits for visits, and a suitable outfit to head home in. Always pack more shirts than you think you'll need. Babies spit up a lot. If you'd be upset that a puke stain ruined a shirt, don't pack it.


Keep Your Phones Charged

Hospital rooms have the most inconvenient outlet locations. A long (6-10ft) charging cable is a game changer and lets you both capture every precious moment and send updates to loved ones. Plus, the long cables will come in handy when she is breastfeeding or pumping at home.


Pillows and Blankets

Hospital pillows and blankets are not comfy. Pack a pillow and blanket for each of you. You won't sleep well. But you'll sleep better, I promise.


Stay Caffeinated

You've probably never had a sleep regimen like this before and you'll be tired and likely have brain fog. Most hospital rooms have mini-fridges, so bring a stockpile of your favorite iced coffee or energy drink to stay awake and alert while supporting your partner and your new baby. You can also bring instant coffee or powder mixes if you want to pack lighter.


Keep Yourself Entertained

There can be lots of downtime (newborns sleep A LOT) during your hospital stay so don't forget to bring along entertainment options. A book, tablet, and an Amazon Firestick can help pass the time better than the hospital cable channels can. Pack a deck of playing cards on the off chance both of you have energy at the same time.


Give a Push Present

Consider giving your wife a meaningful "Push Present" to show your love and express your gratitude for her journey. If you already picked the baby's name, you can find great, customizable jewelry or art on Etsy if you have baby's name picked out.


It doesn't have to be an expensive gift, but it should be personal and thoughtful.


Capture Every Moment

In most cases, right after baby is born one of the nurses in the room will take photos of the three of you. As you have visitors, make sure they Airdrop or send you the photos they take. Creating a Shared Baby album with your partner right away will make it easier to have the photos of you and baby (and vice versa).


Toiletries

Don't ruin the moment by forgetting about your hygiene. Pack the essentials like soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothbrush for a comfortable stay. A razor is also a good idea if baby and your beard stubble aren't getting along. If you forget something, the gift shop at the hospital will usually have what you need.


Strut Your New Dad Status

Nothing says "proud new dad" like a picture of you in a Dad t-shirt holding your baby. Show your excitement with a fun new dad shirt that celebrates your role in this journey. Pick a style that suits your personality!


Make or Find a Push Playlist

Some laboring moms like quiet, others peaceful elevator music, and some a humorous playlist of songs. AAAH PUSH IT... push it real good! Talk with your partner to see what type of vibe she wants and find or make a playlist on Amazon Music or Spotify.


Have Cash on-Hand

Most parking ramps and vending machines take credit cards but keep some cash in your wallet just to be safe.


Connect with Other Dads

Part of embracing your new role as dad is to connect with other dads, either locally or online. Your relationships with other dads will help you navigate a lot of the challenges that lie ahead and they will support you on your bad days.

  • Reddit - r/NewDads

  • Search for local Facebook Dad Groups

  • Connect (or reconnect) with friends who are at the same stage of life


Thanks for Reading my Hospital Survival Guide - Now Go Be a Great New Dad!

Hopefully the New Dad Hospital Survival Kit helped you be better prepared for your baby's arrival! Approach this adventure with confidence, love, and humility, and you'll be well-prepared to embrace the joys of fatherhood.


Subscribe below to get more posts like this beyond the initial hospital stay. I also explore hobbies for dads to try and ways to save money.


If another dad-to-be would benefit from this, I'd love if you shared it with them!


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Now let's go have that baby!

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