Full disclosure here, I’ve never had a baby in the United States. Our little Liv-star was born at a German hospital, and let’s face it-things are a bit different on this side of the pond. With that being said-I’ve pinned, and read, and researched hospital bag packing lists until I was blue in the face, and after experiencing my own delivery (even abroad!) I can confidently say there isn’t too much that’s different when it comes to packing a bag with Mama + Baby essentials. Here’s my list of what I’ll be tossing in my tote here in the next few days!
For the Moms
Slippers // Hospital floors are gross, pack comfy slippers!
Comfy Outfits/PJ’s + Going Home Outfit // I basically wore the same 2 nightgowns and robes the whole time I was in the hospital with Olivia. Don’t go overboard here, it’s not a fashion show-it’s recovery! With that being said, bring at least 1 cute (and obviously, comfy) pair of PJ’s/robe for photos –something I did not do, and I’ve all but burned every photo of me from our hospital stay with Olivia–so I’ll be packing a few more photo friendly options this time around. I was NOT ready for leggings yet (even maternity leggings) as my belly was still in a fragile state (even with VBAC), so there will be no spot for leggings in this hospital bag. SHOP : These plaid jammies are super cute (and under $20!)
Nursing Pillow // I went rogue with my nursing pillow last time around, and absolutely loved it. I didn’t go with the traditional brand allllll the mamas get, but one I heard about through the grapevine and I’m still obsessed. I actually can’t wait to use this again. Also great to have to sit on during the drive home… 😬
Pillow + Blanket // Is there anything more comforting than having your own pillow? Hospitals aren’t known for being cozy, and if I’m going to be there overnight (or for 3 nights like I was with Olivia), I’m packing my own bed in a bag. I am obsessed with this blanket I bought a few weeks ago, and I’m buying another for my hospital bag (because it’s under $10!!!)
Extension Cord + Phone Charger // Outlets are few and far between, and usually not in convenient spots. My phone cord is also tiny AF, and I felt bad to keep asking my husband to come pick it up for me so I could plug in my phone. Taking new baby pictures is addicting, and you’ll want a charged battery. For that reason, I’ll probably throw in a travel charger too.
Toiletries // This is a great way to use those hotel shampoo/conditioner/soap combos everyone takes from the hotel and 2% of us actually use. Hair ties, chap-stick (I prefer Carmex), dry shampoo, light makeup (only the essentials!), and my favorite de-puffing face mask will all make the cut for my bag.
Related Post: Must Haves for a Fast Face
⤷ Frida Mom Washer (MUST HAVE), Dermoplast, Tucks Pads, Mama Bottom Spray, Nipple Cream, Gentle Laxatives
Tip: Leave the undies at home! I brought a stack of new granny panties that weren’t touched once. Leave them at home for after the mesh panty phase. Perk-more room for snacks.
Toilet Paper // Trust me. Find the softest, gentlest brand you can buy and bring a roll or two in your bag. You’ll thank me later. Angel Soft is my TP of choice.
Large Towel // This wasn’t even on my radar of things to pack, but thank God for my overpacker husband who brought towels for us both. The problem: they were basically toddler sized and during the most uncomfortable time in your life (and the smallest shower I’ve ever used) I wanted a full on beach towel. Not a mistake I’ll make again!
Snacks and a Meal Plan // In Germany you can eat pretty much up until you push. Is this something I’ll be doing again? No (and since I’m a lady, unfortunately I will not be sharing this story on the internet…sorry not sorry). However, the German hospital food was absolutely miserable, and if you’re not in the mood for boiled fish and fennel tea you’re better off with snacks and take-out menus. *Thai and Pizza Hut boneless wings will be on my wish list! It was also nice to have things around like Gatorade and cheese-its for those sudden hunger bursts.
Tumbler + Ice + Still Water // I’m actually really jealous of the huge water jugs some Moms in the US get from the hospital. Not only do the German hospitals not have said mugs, but they also don’t have still water! My wonderful husband went out and bought us two of these tumblers (and filled them with ice), along with a case of water. Must-have!
Seasonal: Fan // Fun Fact: German hospitals don’t have A/C! Giving birth to Olivia on the hottest day of the Summer (July, almost 100 degrees) wasn’t something I’ll look back on as super comfortable. We packed two fans and even though the nurses shot us major judgement looks for having them in the general direction of our new baby (who they dressed in about 10 layers), this was an absolute must-have for our summer birth.
For the Babes
In Germany it’s common for Moms with a VBAC delivery to stay 2-3 days, with C-sections up to 10 days. With Olivia I checked in to be induced Wednesday morning, started active labor Thursday early morning and delivered around 11:30PM that night, and we left the hospital Sunday afternoon (VBAC). The midwives dressed her in a 3 piece outfit as soon as I let them (keep in mind it was July…they are nothing if not overprepared for a chill!) and there was a diaper/wipe changing station in the room for our stay. That’s all to say this…
Leave the Diapers at Home // Unless you’re hardcore into your own diapers, just leave them at home and use what the hospital has. Our hospital had Pampers, and that was just fine with us. When we got home, I used these newborn bamboo diapers (which I absolutely loved!), but I could have definitely saved some space in my bag if I hadn’t brought diapers and wipes.
Hospital Stay Outfits // Now that we have the jist of how things go, I think we’ll be pretty capable to check ourselves out (as long as everything is good to go!) after 2 days. In baby clothes time, this means about 4 outfits to be on the safe side (not including the coming home outfit). Longsleeve onesies, zip-up sleep and plays, and knotted gowns are perfect here, and of course-some cute options for photo op’s (for girls, you know I mean bows)!
Swaddle or Sleep Sack // We used the Halo Sleep Sacks religiously with Olivia from Day 1 (OK, not 1-but as soon as we got home…so like Day 3). This time, I’m packing 2 sleep sacks for the hospital, since I’m absolutely hopeless at swaddling.
Coming Home Outfit // My first “Mom-Fail” was buying a knotted gown as Olivia’s coming home outfit (not realizing that it wouldn’t be possible or nearly as cute as I had pictured, buckling into a carseat). Pack an outfit with legs 😉
What items did you love having, or wished you had in your hospital bag? What did you wish you’d left at home? Let me know in the comments!