1. A hospital bag, because Mom’s not the only one that needs one!
Be prepared to go to the hospital at any time of the day. When your partner goes into labor, you’ll probably be spending a long night at the hospital.
Be sure to pack a change of clothes, toiletries, a charger for your phone, and earplugs — because you’ll need ‘em.
2. Lots of takeout menus, recipes for meal-prep made in advance, or frozen foods for your first week home with the baby.
You and your partner will be exhausted the first week you’re home. No one will be in the mood for cooking, so stock your freezer up with foods made in advance or be prepared to eat takeout all week. Here are some suggestions for “make-ahead” meals.
3. A diaper bag, because you gotta lug a lot of stuff around to change diapers.
Whether you want an understated messenger bag or a bag that can strap onto a stroller, diaper bags are necessary because they are designed to have many compartments to hold diapers, wipes, towels, and whatnot.
4. A good, wireless baby monitor with video and night vision.
Your new baby is definitely not going to go to sleep at normal hours. A good baby monitor will keep you in the loop for when your bundle of joy starts crying in the middle of the night. You’ll want to do some research for what’s best in your budget, but here’s a good place to start. (And always remember to keep your receipts.)
5. Books that you loved a child, because it’s never too early to start reading to your baby.
There is evidence that reading to your children at a young age helps with brain development and strengthens the bond between parent and child. Plus, you get to read something enjoyable for you! It’s a win-win.
6. Games to keep you occupied as you’re holding a baby at all hours.
You’ll be happy to have an easy game on your smartphone when you’re woken up at 4 a.m. and have to rock a crying baby back to sleep. It could take a while, so games are an easy way to pass the time.
7. Things to pamper Mom with.
She’s been through a lot! Make her breakfast in bed, shower her with baked goods, or let her take an uninterrupted bubble bath while you watch the baby. She’ll appreciate it immensely.
The mug cake pictured above only takes two minutes to make in the microwave.
8. An app to keep your organized on all the different baby milestones.
You’ll want to keep track of many things. What’s their sleep schedule like? How normal are their poops? It can seem overwhelming, but apps like MammaBaby and Baby Connect can sync to multiple phones, so you and your partner can update on all the special moments of your baby.
10. A do-not-disturb memo for everyone else.
Everyone is going to want to meet the baby once it’s born! Family, friends, and loved ones will all be texting and knocking at your door the moment your little one arrives, but it’s important to have some alone time. You and your partner will want to relax and get to know your baby before there’s any commotion, so let outsiders know that they shouldn’t disturb you until the baby’s a couple weeks old.
11. A supportive attitude and willingness to help your partner.
Mom is going to be super exhausted from being at the hospital, and she’ll need you to lean on. It may seem simple, but making sure you are available to help clean, change diapers, and run errands will make a world of difference for her. There is no such thing as doing too much.