When I returned to work after maternity leave, my husband switched to working second shift so he could be at home with our 4 month old son during the day. I’m not going to lie, the idea of leaving our son at home with Anthony for 9 hours each day totally freaked me out. I knew he was totally capable of taking care of our son, but I hadn’t been gone for more than 3 hours at a time, and probably no more than 8 hours total since he was born. I knew it would be a major transition for both my husband and son, and I worried about how both of them would cope with the change.
I thought about what items really made being at home with a baby easier as a mom (especially since there were days that I could barely get off the couch, let alone brush my hair or take a shower) and modified the list to create this Daddy Survival Kit for my husband.
Some of the items in the kit were more baby-centric and some are definitely daddy-centric, but together, they form a well-rounded kit to help get my husband through the long days with our baby (and without me).
Here’s what I put in my husband’s Daddy Survival Kit:
- Drool bib
- Washcloth for little messes
- Burp cloth for bigger messes
- Teething ring I made
- Soft rattle with lots of tags
- Board books – one in English and one in Spanish, since we are raising our son to be bilingual
- Baby gas drops
- Vitamin D supplement drops
- Diaper rash cream*
*If Daddy is going to be at home with a tiny baby, I highly recommend also putting together a changing station that is close by the “home base” (which, in our case, is our living room couch). To make a changing station, I emptied out a big plastic tote from my craft show supplies, layered in a folded towel, a changing pad (with changing pad cover), and put a smaller plastic tote (or shoebox) with changing supplies, like diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, and hand sanitizer. Lastly, if you have a boy, I highly recommend having a washcloth or similar item on hand to protect yourself from unexpected showers. My mom helped me put together a changing station the day we brought the baby home from the hospital, and it was super helpful to have it in the living room, especially since I had a hard time climbing the stairs for the first few weeks postpartum.
Snacks for Daddy:
- Protein bars
- Beef jerky
- Trail mix
- Water bottle
The chocolates I bought did not come in a resealable bag, so I made sure to put them in a reusable container before adding them to the Daddy Survival Kit. My husband is not the neatest eater I’ve met, and I knew they would end up all over the kit if I didn’t repackage them.
Creature Comforts and Other Items for Daddy:
- Hand sanitizer
- Lip balm
- E-reader with books he wanted to read
- Cooking magazines
- TV, DVD and Roku remotes (my husband used some of his time at home to screen movies he could show our son when he is a little older)
- Notebook with helpful notes about baby care, feeding, daily routine, activities, and important phone numbers. There was also space to keep notes on how many ounces of milk our baby drank and when.
- A note card (addressed to Daddy) with encouraging messages
I did my best to check on the kit every day or two, restocking items that were running out, rotating out books and toys, and re-filling his water bottle. Even though I was very nervous about leaving my husband and our son at home and going back to work, I felt better knowing that he had many helpful parenting tools at his fingertips. And he certainly didn’t complain about having a constantly replenished stock of yummy snacks nearby.