If your wife is 36 weeks pregnant, you should be packed.
In the suitcase, three changes of clothes. Plan on staying two nights in the hospital. Have as much confidence as possible when you leave the hospital with your new kid. By staying longer, there is a chance your wife’s milk might come in, she’ll have plenty of chances to attempt to breastfeed, and there are many experts (nurses, doctors, lactation personnel). Ask a million questions. With every question asked, comes the chance of more confidence. The key piece of knowledge, it’s almost impossible to push my son’s face too deep into the nipple. The key item my wife purchased for this trip to the hospital was the nursing top that unhooks.
So, beisdes comfortable clothes, we had two computers, an iPad, two iPhones and all of the proper electronic cords. Our hospital had wifi, but it (like most) is pretty weak. So don’t plan on being able to stream movings. Bring DVDs to help fill the time. This is also a great time to watch “how to” Baby DVDs. We did “Happiest Baby on the Block.”
Guys, know your sleep situation. I’m 6’6″ and brought a sleeping bag (but forgot a pad) because I assumed I would have to be on the floor. I got lucky with our rooms, and was able to barely stretch out on a folding chair and a pad.
Bring a giant water bottle for your wife. She’ll be desperately thirsty (for cold water, so make sure ice cubes fit), and you don’t want to make constant trips to refill a cup of water.
Beyond that, bring snacks, a camera, whatever vitamins/pills you normally take, all the basic toiletries, and a few blankets and outfits for the newborn (for when you leave). The hospital gives you all the diapers, blankets and wipes you need (while there).
When our hospital stay was over, I said to my wife, “This felt like a really weird vacation to take, and it seems like we shouldn’t be taking him home with us right now. It feels like that should be it.”
We did take him home, because we remembered our car seat.