Home » Dumplin' in the flesh » A Reflection on My Hospital Bag 

A Reflection on My Hospital Bag 

I realized a while back that I am not really good at writing “how to” or information-based posts, but having just gone through a stay at Labour and Delivery, I thought I’d document which hospital bag items were useful and which were not, for me in an Ontario (Canada) hospital. I know a couple of my blogger friends will be meeting their babes soon, and hope this helps. Also, this’ll be a handy post to look back on when DW is nearing Mochi’s due date.

At 37 weeks, we started packing our hospital bags. I packed for myself and Dumplin’, and DW packed her own bag. Rather than go through everything we packed, I will just include things we actually used and found helpful.

Let me start off with what we received from the hospital. We gave birth in an older Toronto hospital, which apparently was undergoing major cuts in their L&D department. Instead of receiving unlimited supportive consumable items, we had waiting for us in our private room, a bag full of supplies that were supposed to last us the duration of our stay:

– mesh undies, ginormous pads, and thick pads

– some Pampers and Huggies diapers 

– a little tube of Vaseline

– a small sample of baby wipes

– a set of sample baby wash and lotions from Shoppers Drug Mart

– a box of tissues

We were also provided with a bassinet, several cotton baby gowns, and receiving blankets- which were for hospital use only. I know people often take the receiving blankets but we didn’t want to steal from a department that was so good to us and going through financial cutbacks.

Since our stay was a bit longer than the regular vaginal births, we found that we ran out of supplies quickly. So on our second day, DW collected extras from home: baby wipes, diapers, Depends for me, and coconut oil for Dumplin’s dry skin.

Partner’s bag:

DW packed herself an extra change of undergarments and lounging clothes- t-shirts and sweatpants, cozy socks. 

My hospital bag had a lot more stuff:

– 1 change of clothes for me: loose yoga pants (depending on whether you’re having a vag or section birth, you want to b mindful of where the waist of your pants sits. For example, right now I can’t wear any pants that sit low, because of my incision), a t-shirt, underwear and bra, a cozy pair of socks (sufficient) 

– elastic non-slip headbands to keep your hair out of your face (they also helped me look less dishevelled  when we had visitors)

– Crocs were awesome for me. I could wear them even though my feet swelled up unbelievably, and could be worn in the shower if I wanted, and were slip in, so I didn’t have to bend over to do them up

– refillable water bottles and electrolyte drinks (I got really thirsty during the induction); Gatorade type bottles were perfect because I could drink from them lying down and not spill.

– toiletries for both of us (I never ended up showering at the hospital, so toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, moisturizer, and lip balm were sufficient for us)

– lip balm… I repeat… Lip balm! Pack a couple of extras too. 

– face towel (very useful- as during labour and during recovery I felt so nasty (but couldn’t wash my own face) that I asked DW to sponge wash my face for me. It was amazing.

– 2 full outfits for Dumplin’: sleeper, hat, scratch mitts- one in NB size, and the other in 0-3 months size (he ended up being too long for the NB size sleeper, so we’re glad we packed both)

– phone chargers

– battery operated tealights (these were originally packed to establish a nice ambiance for my L&D experience, but ended up being really helpful in recovery because our private room lights were so bright, so it was nice to be able to maintain a dimmer light level when checking on the baby at night and breastfeeding. 

– Fleece blanket to tuck over Dumplin’ in his car seat 


Things we had to grab from home:

– travel pillow and fleece blanket for DW (partners can sleep on a pull out chair, but they’re not provided with anything to keep warm or comfortable)

– a mini cooler with food (DW made sandwiches which were handy in the middle of the night when there was no food service. The food kept well because she was continuously replenishing the ice.) Also find out if your ward has a communal fridge. Ours did, so DW also stored meals that my mom had made for us in there and microwaved them when we wanted to eat.

The one item I wish we had packed:

– a light robe or long cardigan (I basically went naked the entire time aside from my sexy mesh underwear + monster pad and hospital gown. I wish I had packed my robe because it would’ve made transitioning to nursing easier, and would’ve protected my modesty a bit when nurses and midwives were popping in and out of my room all of the time. My incision, and catheter made it impossible for me to wear pants.)

27 thoughts on “A Reflection on My Hospital Bag 

  1. Thank you for this! I’m only now getting around to looking into a my birth plan /preferences and should also do my hospital bag very soon just in case. With my history, you’d think I’d be in the ball but I’m so not. I’m starting to feel a lot more pain & discomfort lately, and much more difficulty sleeping, so it’s making me a bit nervous that I’ll be totally unprepared yet again.

  2. Since we thought Di might end up having a C-section, we packed an extra ‘C-section bag’ with stuff we thought we’d need if we were there for a longer stay and left it in the car so that it was easily accessible (cheap, giant cotton underwear, loose clothing so that she didn’t have to wear a hospital gown, extra clothes for me, and tons of healthy-ish snack food). It seemed like overkill, but I am so glad that we did it, as it meant that I didn’t have to run home for anything (I was so tired, I would have been afraid to drive).
    Tea lights are such a good idea!

  3. Bingo was born via unplanned c-section, but a planned c-section had been a possibility when she was breech. Because of that, we also bought and packed cheap, giant granny panties: they were very helpful!

    Good suggestion about the different sizes of clothes. Sea ended up having to go home to get a bigger outfit for Bingo.

    (And I can’t believe you’re posting so soon after birth!)

  4. Sounds pretty similar to what I ended up needing except for the food. I just wasn’t hungry. I had incompetent food staff too and didn’t find out they had gf bread until we were getting ready to check out. They also barged in yelling when I was in full on pitocin labor! Coconut oil was a must, baby skin looks dry but it really is just this layer flaking off.

    • I had amazing food at the hospital. No joke. When I preregistered, I mentioned that I was on a gluten-free diet, and when the food came for each meal, every single meal was fully gluten free with an itemized list of ingredients! The food was good too. I pretty much ate everything on the tray aside from the cows milk products. Maybe I should’ve also mentioned that I am lactose intolerant? Lol. Whereabouts did you give birth?

  5. Great info. I keep packing and unpacking hospital bags 1. Because I forget what I packed and 2. Because I keep second guessing what’s in there. I was hoping someone would do a hospital bags post!! Thank you!!

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