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10 things your partner should pack for the hospital

From shirts and boxers to snacks and Gatorade—just don’t forget that cell phone charger, Dad.

10 things your partner should pack for the hospital

5. Snacks + drinks ? ?


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Now that the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has given us the okay to eat during labor, it’s important to pack some energy-boosting foods for both of you. Suggestions from the ASA include: fruit, light soups, toast, light sandwiches (no large slices of meat), juice and water.

Even though you’re provided with meals in the hospital, it’s always good to have some of your favorite snacks on hand in case you’re hungry at non-meal times. You will each need a water bottle to stay hydrated, so keep that in mind.

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2. Cash ?

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When you’re starving and the cafeteria is closed, you’ll be grateful for those small bills in your wallet so you can stock up on snacks from the vending machine.

4. Cell phone + chargers ??

This one may seem obvious, but how many times have you forgotten your charger when you needed it most? Make sure chargers are packed and ready to go so you can be fully charged to shout from the rooftops that your little one has arrived!

Pro tip: Surprise your partner by bringing an extra-long charger cord so her phone can be plugged in while she’s in bed and she doesn’t have to get up and down for every ring and ding.

9. Special gift ? ?

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The term “push present” seems to conjure images of diamond earrings and Escalades these days. While we’re not knocking either of those as gifts, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to make your partner happy. Something simple and sweet could be the perfect way to show your wife how much you love her and that you appreciate her hard work during the birth of your child.

Some of our favorites include flowers, a thoughtful note or card, a gift certificate, an e-reader, a Netflix subscription, jewelry or pretty pajamas and a robe to wear in the hospital. (See more of our favorite new-mama gifts here.)

3. Important papers + cards ?

You will need to have your insurance cards to fill out paperwork and all that jazz, so be prepared with those. It may be best for Dad to hold onto a copy of your birth plan if you’re using one, so mama doesn’t have to worry about keeping track of it.

8. Contraction timing app ⌚

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You’re going to be the contraction timing helper throughout this process. Be prepared with a great app to keep track of the timing, strength, etc. Check out Full Term (free) and Contraction Master ($1.99).

10. Encouragement + positivity ?

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The most important things you can remember to “pack” are your encouragement and positive attitude. Labor and delivery is extremely hard work.

Be sure you’re there by her side encouraging her, reading her cues and getting her anything she needs. Be her advocate—speak up for what your wife needs or if you both need to make an important decision.

You will be a wonderful teammate! You’ve got this.

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1. Clothes ???

Something to sleep in, underwear and two outfits should be good. If your hospital stay is longer than you originally thought, you could either run home and get more clothes or simply deal with what you have.

(I mean, we just gave birth... you can wear the same outfit twice in one week. P.S. Love you.)

7. Toiletries + medications ?

You’ll most likely want to shower if you’re staying over, so soap and shampoo would be a good idea to pack. Other toiletries to consider: toothpaste, toothbrush, razor, deodorant, contact lenses, solution, glasses, any prescription medicines you take... you catch our drift.

6. Pillow + blanket ?

The hospital won’t leave you hanging if you’re staying the night; however, you’re probably not going to have the most comfortable sleep setup in the world. Bringing your own pillow and blanket could be a very good idea in order for you to get some decent shut-eye.

To do: Remind husband to pack his own hospital bag. ✔️

We polled our Motherly mamas to see when and what their husbands packed for the big trip to the hospital. Some had their bags packed and ready to go at 35 weeks, while others were scrambling last minute. They had big bags, small bags, no bags.

Help your husband be the most well-prepared dad-to-be on the planet by sharing this with him.

Here’s the best advice we received, including the top 10 things Dad should pack in his bag.


When to pack

ASAP. You don’t want to be the dad packing his bag while your wife is in labor. Trust.

What to pack

The men we surveyed packed everything from shirts and boxers to Cheez-Its and Gatorade to phone chargers and cameras. So far, so good, dads!

10 items to consider:

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    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

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    Detective set

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    Sand play set

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    Water play set

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    Mini golf set

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    Vintage scooter balance bike

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    Croquet set

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    Wooden digital camera

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    Wooden bulldozer toy

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    Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

    There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

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    Minimize smoke exposure.

    Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

    Do your best to filter the air.

    According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

    Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

    Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

    Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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